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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7d40002Coverage of the issues, races and people shaping Kansas elections in 2016, including statewide coverage in partnership with KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, and High Plains Public Radio.

State Senate District 27 Candidates Discuss Medicaid Expansion, State Finance At Public Forum

Abigail Beckman
Attendees at the forum ask Tony Hunter and Gene Suellentrop questions.

Candidates for Kansas' District 27 Senate seat met for a forum Tuesday night in Colwich. District 27 includes northwest Wichita, Andale, Colwich and much of rural Sedgwick County between Goddard and Maize.

Credit Abigail Beckman.
Democrat Tony Hunter, left, and Republican Gene Suellentrop, right, are vying for the State Senate seat in District 27.

In the upcoming general election, Democrat Tony Hunter, a first-time candidate, faces Republican Gene Suellentrop, a former member of the House of Representatives. Among other topics, the candidates discussed their widely differing views on Medicaid expansion, a move that Suellentrop says has led to people "coming out of the woodwork" to enroll in the program.

"The expansion of Obamacare is not something I think we should entertain," Suellentrop said. "[Because of] the woodwork effect that's been shown to occur in all the other states, the majority of them, by far and away, are having problems."

Hunter is on the other side of the Medicaid expansion issue.

"We need to expand Medicaid, and there's a very simple reason," Hunter said. "There's about $1.5 billion right now that we have left on the table. That's money Kansas taxpayers are entitled to get back into Kansas."

Questions from the small audience focused on the state's finances, public education funding and the controversial 2012 income tax cuts.


Follow Abigail Beckman on Twitter @AbigailKMUW.

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