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Editorial Commentary: Ken Ciboski

Ciboski: Election Was a Repudiation of Fiscal Policies

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Stephen Koranda, File Photo
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Kansas Public Radio

Thirteen state house incumbents and nine state Senate incumbents of the pro-Gov. Brownback coalition were defeated by more moderate candidates in the primary election of August 2.

A major defeat was that of Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, who saw his possible challenge of Sen. Susan Wagle for president of the state Senate fizzle as he lost his election by 14 points. Former Democratic Gov. John Carlin said the election results are the first step to changing the direction of the policies of the last four years and that more progress needs to continue into the general election this November.  

Many legislative candidates said that the state’s revenue and budget problems and the funding of K-12 education were the concerns that they heard about most often on the campaign trail. Voters are tired of hearing about missed revenue estimates and the continuing problem of lawsuits about inadequate school funding.

Gov. Brownback said in an interview this week that the election was not a repudiation of his policies. Instead, he said it was the lack of his administration getting information out to the people about what is being done. He said that most people think the funding of education is the core issue, and they think funding has gone down when it has actually increased. He criticized the media for how it reports spending for education.

I think the election WAS a repudiation of the administration’s fiscal policies. Voters have sensed for some time now that the state is not moving in the right direction. They voted retrospectively and put the responsibility for the state’s fiscal and educational problems squarely on the policies of Brownback and his legislative allies.