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Noonletter, Oct. 9, 2018

Crysta Henthorne
Kansas News Service

High-stakes low-profile

Democrat and political newcomer Sharice Davids is leading in multiple polls and recent fundraising in her bid to oust Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder.

Not so much in public appearances.

KCUR’s Sam Zeff explores her apparent lay-low strategy to win in a district that covers the Kansas side of the Kansas City area.

Schooling you on the candidates

Few things rank as high in the race for governor as what the candidates have in mind for your local schools and the corresponding tax bill.

Stephen Koranda looked at where the candidates stand and wrote:

“Laura Kelly, the state senator and Democratic nominee, says there’s little getting around a need to spend more.

“Kris Kobach, the Republican candidate and secretary of state, contends the state could spend money better if districts would just trim their administrative fat.

“Greg Orman, a Kansas City-area businessman and independent candidate, thinks he can fix schools by revving up the state’s economy.” (Orman also issued a policy paper on Tuesday.)

See the rest of Koranda’s explanation on the candidates and their views about paying for education here.

Power drain

Yeah, Kansas has all those wind turbines. So good on you, land of sunflowers and steady breezes. (Or unrelenting wind — looking at you, Wichita. But we digress.)

Yet for all the energy harvested from the wind, or all the natural gas and oil pumped from the ground, the state does a relatively poor job with how it puts energy to work.

Brian Grimmett reports that Kansas ranks near the bottom of the pack in a new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

Kansas ranked 46th in the country, scoring 7.5 out of a possible 50 points.

States that scored the highest typically have an “energy efficiency resource standard,” a policy requiring electric and natural gas utilities to achieve specific levels of reduced customer energy use. (Think weatherization programs, programmable thermostats and such. Any program that helps consumers cut their energy consumption.)

Kansas has no such standard.

Nursing the nursing homes

What was once a rarity — state officials taking over a nursing home that’s fallen into financial crisis — has become commonplace this year.

The Kansas City Star’s Andy Marso reports that Kansas regulators have taken control of 21 financially insolvent nursing homes. Typically, the story says, a state the size of Kansas might see that happen once, maybe twice, a year.

At least two factors appear at play: Changing reimbursements for nursing home care; and the rise of absentee ownership siphoning off revenue.

Moderates endorse moderates

The political action committee of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Kelly in the governor’s race along with more than a dozen Democratic candidates for the Kansas House and a handful of moderate Republicans running for the Legislature. Here’s the list.

It’s your call

Election Day is Nov. 6. But you can’t vote if you’re not registered. You’ve got a week left to meet the Oct. 15 registration deadline.

Not sure about your registration status? Check here.

Need to register for the first time, or register with your new address, go here.

Scott Canon is digital editor of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. You can reach him on Twitter @ScottCanon.

 Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.

As the editor of a statewide news outlet, I aspire to work with our reporters to give Kansans a clear-eyed view of the place they call home. That means delivering hard-hitting stories that expose those things that keep Kansas from being the most vibrant, healthy place it can be. You can reach me at scott@kcur.org or 816-235-8023.
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