Kansas Democrats | KCUR

Kansas Democrats

Kansas News Service / Kansas News Service

One might think the end of her first legislative session as Kansas governor would give Laura Kelly some relief.

"Oh, not much," she said. "We've been extraordinarily busy."

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Supporters of expanding Medicaid in Kansas proved Wednesday they’ve got the votes in the Legislature — if they can get a vote.

But they lacked enough lawmakers on their side to bypass Republican leadership and force that vote.

Segment 1: Journalists discuss the Kansas City mayor's race, legislative sessions in Jefferson City and Topeka, and politics in Washington. 

In one week, Kansas City voters will narrow the field of mayoral candidates from 11 to two. Today, our political panel discusses issues on the April 2 ballot in Kansas City, Missouri, and the latest happenings in Missouri, Kansas and Washington politics.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly has sent a tax relief bill down in flames, taking her veto pen to the measure she says would wreck the state budget. But, as a priority for Republicans, it could remain in play for the rest of the legislative session and rise from the ashes.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people packed an Olathe, Kansas, church on Sunday afternoon to hear from newly elected Rep. Sharice Davids at a town hall.

Davids had promised regular town halls during her campaign for the 1st Congressional District against former Rep. Kevin Yoder. People want to interact with their representatives, she said.

“Not just to hear from their representative but to be able to ask the questions and voice their opinions and their ideas and their concerns,” Davids said after Sunday's event.

Segment 1: Congresswoman Davids discusses her first few months in Congress. 

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids says that she didn't know what to expect when she first got to Washington, but that she's managed to keep her campaign promises nonetheless. "It's as busy as I thought it might be, but experiencing it is a whole different thing," she told us today.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Kansas Democrats scored critical wins in the last election. Now they’re struggling to transform those victories into Democratic-minded policies, and to hold on to the corners of power they’ve captured.

They meet in their annual convention this weekend to pick party leaders and search for consensus on strategies for governing and see if they can repeat last year’s election wins next year.

NOMIN UJIYEDIIN / KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

In a live broadcast from the south steps of the Capitol, Steve Kraske and Jim McLean hosted discussions about the political priorities of Kansas' 48th governor as she took her oath of office. State lawmakers and political watchers opined on her chances for turning her Democratic Party platform into law, and how hard a fight the Republican legislature will put up when it comes to Medicaid expansion, school funding and more. Then, Gov. Laura Kelly gave her inaugural address.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Two Kansas state senators who earlier this week jumped from Republican to Democratic ranks have been rewarded with choice committee assignments.

The assignments given to the former moderate Republicans, Sen. Barbara Bollier of Mission Hills and Sen. Dinah Sykes of Lenxa, make them key players on two of the most contentious issues awaiting the Legislature — school spending and Medicaid expansion.

Kansas Legislature

(This story was updated at 3 p.m.)

The latest defections from the Kansas Republican Party — two Johnson County legislators — show politicians in some corners of the state trying to catch up with changes in the voters they need to win over.

In quick succession Wednesday morning, Republican moderates state Sen. Dinah Sykes and state Rep. Stephanie Clayton announced they are changing parties.

They followed the path of moderate Republican state Sen. Barbara Bollier, who declared herself a Democrat earlier this month.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Segment 1: The state senator says she felt increasingly at odds with Republican Party stances on LGBTQ issues and supporting President Trump.

KHI

In a post-election bombshell, a moderate Republican from Mission Hills, Kansas, has defected to the Democrats just ahead of the 2019 legislative session.

Sen. Barbara Bollier tells KCUR the party of Donald Trump frightens her and the last election proves the Kansas GOP belongs to the president.

Moderate Republican Rep. Steve Becker of Buhler lost his primary in August, but he hasn’t conceded his Kansas House seat to his conservative challenger just yet. He’s mounting a write-in campaign.

Two years ago, when Becker was elected to his third term, a slew of moderate Republicans won seats in the Kansas House. Democrats made equally substantial gains. The Legislature shifted significantly toward the center. 

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Brooklynne Mosley doesn’t like the term “blue wave.”

The Air Force veteran walked into the Kansas Democrats’ Wyandotte County field office wearing a T-shirt bearing the face of U.S. Senate candidate and liberal darling from Texas, Beto O’Rourke, and passing out buttons that read “throw shade, then vote.”

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

In 2016, as Kansas voters revolted against Gov. Sam Brownback and his conservative allies in the Legislature, one-time Republican gubernatorial nominee Jim Barnett, saw an opening.

The Topeka doctor bought a red pickup truck, and, with his wife, Rosie Hansen, started exploring the possibility of running for governor again — this time as the unabashed moderate in a field of conservatives.

Automatic glass doors with placards announcing location is a polling place and no electioneering within 25 feet.
Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Primary night in Missouri and Kansas has come and gone, but certainly left lots to talk about in it's wake. We dived into the evening's results on both sides of the state line. 

UMKC student Ravi Anand Naidu wearing headphones and seated in front of a microphone at KCUR studios.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Does Kansas City have a bad reputation within the Indian community? 

Indian nationals coming to America often have to worry about immigration hurdles and racism. Two violent incidents since 2017 in the Kansas City metro have added violence to their list of concerns. Most recently, Sharath Koppu, a UMKC student from India was shot and killed during a robbery at the restaurant where he worked. Today, representatives of the Indian community revealed their views of living here.

Kansas Historical Society

Segment 1: Former Kansas Democratic governor on the approaching midterm elections.

In 1979 John Carlin began the first of two terms as Kansas governor. He went on to work as the Eighth Archivist of  the United States by appointment of President Bill Clinton. Today, as a Kansas State University professor and leading figure in local civic engagement, he's still heavily involved in state and the state of politics. We got his take on the race for his former office.

The Democrats running to be Kansas’ next governor brushed off the idea of a tax increase to cover the state’s needs during a Democratic forum in Wichita on Wednesday night sponsored by KMUW and KWCH.

State Sen. Laura Kelly said it’s too soon after repealing the Sam Brownback-era tax cuts to talk about a tax increase.

“We need to let the dust settle,” Kelly said. "We have no idea the full impact of that or the full impact of the federal tax cuts that have occurred."

Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer was clear that he doesn't support a tax increase.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

There’s a common thread among the campaigns of several men aspiring to replace Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — promises of administrative competence.

So says Emporia State political scientist Michael Smith. It jumped out at him as he perused some of their websites.

“To me,” he said, it “has sort of a subtext, that that has not been Kobach’s focus.”

Michael Kinard / Knight Foundation

Segment 1: The former mayor of Wichita discusses the changes he'd make as govenor.

Democrat Carl Brewer served as the first African-American mayor of Wichita from 2007 to 2015. Now he's campaining to be the first African-American governor of Kansas. Today, he joined us for a conversation about the education budget, restructuring taxes and expanding Medicaid.

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.

Kathleen Pointer / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: A longtime school teacher and a former tech executive are just two of the Democrats looking to take on Kevin Yoder in November.

file photo / Kansas News Service

A group of Kansans hoping to establish a new centrist political party in time to field candidates for the upcoming general election failed to get enough signatures to make that happen.

Even so, they say, they got enough support to convince them that they could be on the 2020 ballot.

“We’re in it for the long game,” said Scott Morgan of Lawrence.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Josh Svaty picked a political no-name to team with in his run for governor.

But the pick is someone who checks off boxes that Svaty can’t with voters in the Democratic primary and, if things play out right for him, in the general election.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Segment 1: As the legislative season ends in Kansas, Democrats look ahead to midterm elections.

While state lawmakers shift their focus from drafting laws to campaigning, we checked in with two Democratic Party leaders to get a sense for how they'll gauge success at the ballots this August and November. We also reviewed some of the higher-profile bills that made it out of the legislature and onto the desk of Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

For an increasing number of voters, choosing between red and blue feels like no choice.

Elections in Kansas this year could serve as a proving ground for a fed-up electorate made up of folks who might be disgusted enough to form a new political party.

That possibility drives Scott Morgan to travel the state in search of converts to his Party of the Center, what he calls “a safe and sane alternative to the craziness” of the Republicans and Democrats.

Distinctively, candidates of the new party wouldn’t need to agree much with each other about the issues that typically distinguish Republicans from Democrats — just hold a common desire to break from the way politics works now.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Kansas Democrats aren’t yet united behind a candidate for governor.

Still, they emerged from their annual convention over the weekend talking confidently about a fighting chance to break the recent Republican grip on key state and federal offices.

“You have to have a perfect storm to elect a Democrat in Kansas,” said Damien Gilbert, president of the Young Democrats of Kansas, a chapter nearly extinct a few years ago but now among the party’s most active.

file photo

Four years ago, Greg Orman made an independent and notable challenge to Republican U.S. Pat Roberts’ run for re-election.

Now the wealthy businessman has his sights set on the governor’s office, contending that voter frustration with the two-party system gives him a path to victory in November.

“What is clear to me is that voters want real alternatives,” Orman said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters.

His bid for the governorship holds the potential to alter the dynamics of the general election.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Update: On Tuesday, Rep. Steve Alford gave up his chairmanship on a Kansas House committee and stepped aside from a child welfare task force.

 

After a western Kansas lawmaker suggested black people respond to the use of marijuana differently than others, the Republican leader of his own party condemned the remarks.

On Saturday in Garden City, Rep. Steve Alford of Ulysses said the drug was made illegal because of the way he contended it affects African-American users.

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