Campaign Notebook: Holland unveils policy proposals
TOPEKA — Creating jobs, and improving education, public safety, social services and government efficiency were the top goals laid out Tuesday by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Holland.
Holland, a state senator from Baldwin City, spoke at a news conference in the Statehouse. He also had events planned in Kansas City and Wichita.
“By accomplishing these goals, by following these steps, our economy will improve, our students will succeed, government will be held more accountable and all Kansans will prosper,” said Holland, a state senator from Baldwin City.
Holland faces Republican Sam Brownback, a U.S. senator, in the election.
Holland said if elected he will create jobs by continuing to invest in education and workforce training; manage the budget to ensure public safety and services for vulnerable Kansans, and make government more responsive.
To achieve these goals, Holland proposed a series of actions.
They include using a portion of Kansas Lottery sales to provide training programs for Kansans in growing industries such as renewable energy, biosciences and health care.
Holland said the state will continue to invest in education “with increased revenues that are generated by a recovering economy and repealing ineffective tax exemptions.”
He also said he would support allowing school districts to raise more money locally for education, and that he would oppose a voucher system.
Holland said he would push for creation of a “rainy day fund” to protect public safety and social service programs from revenue shortfalls that have plagued state government over the past two years. He said he supported the “rainy day” proposal pushed earlier this year by state Sens. John Vratil, R-Leawood, and Laura Kelly, D-Topeka.
And Holland proposed consolidating state computer services in a way to make it easier for Kansans to find out how the government is spending tax dollars.
In laying out his agenda, Holland criticized Brownback, saying the Republican’s policy proposals unveiled last week had “no details, no specifics no commitments.”
“Since first arriving in Washington 16 years ago, Sam Brownback has attempted to abolish the Department of Education, been a champion of private school vouchers and voted for the most significant unfunded mandate of our time -- No Child Left Behind,” Holland said.
Later Tuesday, Brownback was scheduled to announce his education plan.
Brownback’s campaign spokesperson Sherriene Jones-Sontag said, “To start, as part of our proposed Office of the Repealer, we will look at repealing a number of Kansas statutes still on the books from the 1963 unification of Kansas school districts. These statutes are the first step in streamlining our school finance system.”
Brownback has repeatedly said the current school finance system is flawed and needs to be overhauled, but he has refused to say what is wrong with it. Holland said, “That sort of ambiguity should raise some red flags.”