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Democratic Candidates For Kansas Governor Debate In Wichita

The three top Democratic candidates for governor debated in Wichita on Friday evening.

Laura Kelly, Carl Brewer and Josh Svaty participated at the event held in The Lux apartment building and venue space in downtown Wichita.

The candidates spent much of the debate agreeing on issues, from expanding Medicaid to supporting legalizing marijuana in Kansas.

About halfway through the debate, Brewer said Kansas should look into requiring businesses that receive incentives from the state to provide equal pay for women and minorities.

“If you’re investing my dollars, are you doing it in a fair and equitable way where everyone has a fair opportunity to grow?” Brewer said. “We must go out and create an environment that’s welcoming to everyone."

When the question of concealed carry came up, Kelly said that while she voted for constitutional carry in 2015, that law has now gone too far. Kelly said she has since worked to roll back what she called “loose ends” from the bill by voting to ban guns on school campuses and in public hospitals.

Svaty criticized Kelly for her initial vote.

“We lost common sense with Kansas gun laws when constitutional carry passed,” Svaty said. "We should have stopped this when we had the chance in 2015, and we needed Democrats that knew that then."

One of the biggest cheers of the night came when Kelly responded to moderator Brett Harris’ question on how to make sure underrepresented groups, such as minorities and single women, have an equal opportunity to vote.

“Beat Kris Kobach,” Kelly said.

Stephan Bisaha reports on education for KMUW in Wichita and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @SteveBisaha. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.

Copyright 2020 KMUW | NPR for Wichita. To see more, visit .

Stephan Bisaha is a former NPR Kroc Fellow. Along with producing Weekend Edition, Stephan has reported on national stories for Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as other NPR programs. He provided data analysis for an investigation into the Department of Veteran Affairs and reported on topics ranging from Emojis to mattresses.
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