For the 1st time due to the fact 1997, voters in north-central Topeka will have a new legislator symbolizing them at the Kansas Statehouse.
District 55 became an open seat right after the retirement of longtime Rep. Annie Kuether, a Democrat, at the finish of the legislative session. Functioning to do well her are Democrats Joshua Luttrell and Tobias Schlingensiepen and Republican Todd C. Staerkel.
The district addresses portions of central and north Topeka, typically bounded by the Kansas River on the north, 21st Street on the south, Topeka Boulevard on the east and Gage Boulevard on the west.
If you do not know what district you live in, enter your address at openstates.org.
The major election is Aug. 2, but Shawnee County voters may well vote early with an progress or mail ballot.
Candidate responses to our questionnaire are down below, as are pics they submitted. Responses had been frivolously edited for model and duration.
1. Tell voters about by yourself:
Joshua Luttrell, Democrat: I am a lifelong Topeka indigenous and have expended most of my lifetime residing in the 55th district. I am a father of two wonderful adolescents and husband to my fantastic spouse, Carmen Anello. I’m managing for the reason that I imagine Kansas requirements more individuals to stand up and fight for the true desires in our group. I have watched Republican legislatures working with their posture of electric power to strip absent voting legal rights, consolidate electrical power, assault the LGBTQ community, try to weaken and manipulate public education and learning, and commonly squander time focused on extremist issues alternatively of accomplishing effective operate for ALL Kansans. I’m working mainly because I consider we need leaders who will inspire a new generation of Kansans to get concerned in preventing for our communities, to make them really feel included and to remind them that their vote issues and who they vote for matters.
Tobias Schlingensiepen, Democrat: I have lived in this district for more than 40 yrs, attended community colleges in USD 501, and at present provide as the Senior Minister of the Very first Congregational Church in Topeka. When Sam Brownback attempted to shut down the Kansas Neurological Institute, I led the cost to defend critical expert services for Kansans with disabilities and save work opportunities. As the guide chaplain of the Topeka Police Department, I understand the exclusive problems our community faces and will get the job done to make Kansas a superior place to reside, perform and elevate a relatives. I am also very pleased to have the endorsement of retiring Rep. Annie Kuether in this race.
Todd C. Staerkel, Republican: Didn’t answer.
2. There are numerous substantive difficulties debated on schooling in the Statehouse (expansion of faculty choice, school protection, tutorial functionality of educational facilities, special schooling funding). Which of these do you experience is the most crucial and how would you tackle it?
Luttrell: I believe training funding is the location that wants the most consideration correct now. Our instructors are the spine of our education and learning method and they need financial guidance in buy to do their task and for our condition to deal with the disaster of not obtaining adequate instructors. I will normally fight to thoroughly fund our instruction procedure and our academics.
Schlingensiepen: Protecting — and expanding — support for our general public faculties is crucial. I will oppose attempts to grow vouchers or any coverage that diverts public tax dollars to unaccountable non-public faculties. We need to also maximize funding for particular training, which has been chronically underfunded for decades. If elected, I will be a tireless advocate for our hard-operating academics and the long term of our children.
3. What is the state of the Kansas financial state and what is the most important detail condition lawmakers can do to make it greater?
Luttrell: Under Gov. Kelly, our condition has started to mend from the disastrous Brownback tax policies and has weathered some of the worst economic disorders because of to COVID. Lawmakers can go on to assistance tax insurance policies that support and guard functioning households in its place of giveaways to companies and the loaded.
Schlingensiepen: Under the management of Gov. Kelly, Kansas has accomplished historic economic financial commitment. That currently being reported, our international economy is unsure and wages are as well low. Liable tax procedures, like eradicating the profits tax on meals, deliver substantially-needed aid to each Kansan. We have to do much more to assistance help really hard-performing Kansans.
4. Indeed or no: Do you guidance a ban on abortion without any exception for rape, incest or preserving the life of the mom?
5. Certainly or no: Do you guidance a ban on abortion with only an exception for saving the everyday living of a mother?
6. Sure or no: Do you assistance a ban on abortion with an exception for rape and incest, in addition to saving the everyday living of the mother?
7. Certainly or no: Would you guidance transferring up the implementation of the elimination of the condition gross sales tax on meals, currently scheduled to choose total influence on Jan. 1, 2025?
8. Indeed or no: Do you guidance a proposal to conclude state earnings taxes on retirement earnings?
9. Yes or no: Do you help increasing Medicaid in Kansas?
10. Certainly or no: Do you assistance legalizing medical cannabis in the type of edibles, topicals or other non-smokable products?
11. Certainly or no: Do you support the legalization of leisure cannabis?
12. Are there any other legislative challenges that you would like to address? If you truly feel the need, you may possibly use this house to make clear any sure or no responses from above.
Luttrell: Criminal justice reform, voter rights and gerrymandering, LGBTQ legal rights, defending the setting, minimum amount wage increase, suitable-wing extremism and their attacks on democracy.
Schlingensiepen: The most significant election in this main is the constitutional amendment that opens the door for an abortion ban in Kansas. Politicians in Topeka have no organization banning reproductive independence. In the Legislature, I will be a tireless advocate for a woman’s right to make her individual health-related choices. Speaking of health care, we must also develop Medicaid and supply insurance policies for in excess of 150,000 Kansans. Security of pre-present ailments and bigger access to each aspect of wellness care are two of my top priorities. Moreover, we should get the job done to make our point out a much more welcoming and inclusive position to live. Passing hateful, discriminatory insurance policies towards the LGBTQ+ local community drives away younger people from our point out and is unacceptable. With regards to taxes, we ought to be certain that any tax coverage variations gain all Kansans and do not hurt our capability to totally fund crucial condition companies such as community education and learning.
13. Where by can voters discover a lot more about you?
This article originally appeared on Topeka Funds-Journal: Topeka Dwelling District 55 key election has two Democrats, one particular GOP