Elections

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Virginia resident Clay Chastain has another yet another proposal for Kansas City voters – a $2 billion plan to build light rail from the airport to the Cerner campus in south Kansas City.

“The streetcar expansion isn’t going to help a low income person get to a job,” says Chastain, who’s proposed numerous transit projects since moving away from Kansas City 15 years ago. “We need better transit to help people that need transit.”

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Updated, 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17:

The Johnson County courthouse is old, outdated and doesn’t meet accessibility standards – now it’s up to voters to decide if it should be replaced.

A proposed 1/4-cent sales tax would pay for a new, $182 million courthouse to be built just across Santa Fe Street from the existing courthouse in Olathe.

The first TV spot has landed in the contentious battle to retain four Kansas Supreme Court justices in the November Election. The ad was paid for by Kansans for Fair Courts, the group backing retention.

The 30-second spot will start airing in the Wichita market on Friday and it takes on the two biggest issues Republicans and other conservatives are using against four of the five justices on the ballot: the death penalty and school finance.

The first of six ballot measures before Missouri voters this November has not generated any controversy – so far. Constitutional Amendment 1 would renew the state's parks and soils tax for another 10 years. 

Kansas Supreme Court

It’s been a half century since Kansas has executed a convicted killer and generally speaking, it’s not much of a political issue in the state.

But conservatives are banking on capital punishment in their campaign to oust four state Supreme Court justices.

When it comes to whether or not the Supreme Court justices should be kept on the bench or voted out, we’ve heard mostly about school finance and whether the high court should even be a player in that.

But lurking in the background, especially around Wichita and in western Kansas, is the death penalty.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas, Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) discuss a new policy plan, education funding, and the upcoming elections.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, candidates for the House and Senate discuss running for office, elections, and policy.

Guests:

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle and Republican candidates for that chamber have released a series of policy proposals, which include the possibility of amending tax cuts made in recent years.

The plan includes overarching themes on topics such as balancing the budget, writing a new school funding formula and creating fairness in the tax code.

Wagle is working to harness voter frustration with the Legislature and the budget. She's laying out a message aimed squarely at those Kansans.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Growing up in Shawnee, Tom Cox remembers looking up to “traditional Republicans.”

Politicians like Bill Graves, Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum – Kansans who were willing to reach across the aisle and set political ideology aside in the interest of public policy.

“My pitch at the door? ‘I’m running against a Brownback Republican, and I’m an anti-Brownback Republican,’” Cox says. “We need to save our state,” Cox says. “We need to focus on tax reform, education reform and protecting local governments as a start.”

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the Democratic nominee for governor, says he’s doing no more debates with Republican Eric Greitens unless Greitens releases his tax returns.

Koster made public his last four years of returns last week.

Greitens says he’s keeping his returns private, and he accuses Koster of backing out of any more debates because he’s “running scared’’ after their only joint appearance last week.

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On November 8,  Missouri voters will decide on a number of ballot questions, the most controversial being a photo voter ID amendment and a pair of cigarette taxes. 

But a far less attention-grabbing question is a measure that could affect sales taxes on services. 

Constitutional Amendment 4 would ban sales and use taxes on any service that was not already being taxed as of Jan. 1, 2015.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, candidates for the House and Senate discuss running for office, elections, and policy.

Guests:

Kansans who register at motor vehicle offices will appear on the regular voter rolls and get standard ballots for the upcoming general elections. 

"If they call and ask if they're registered voters, they should be told that the answer is yes," says Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas. Online, those voters' status will be displayed the same as other registered voters. 

Lindsborg Police Department

A man involved in a racist incident at a rural Kansas college has been trying to gain a foothold in state politics.

The chalk outlines of bodies and messages including, “Make Lindsborg White Again," scrawled on Bethany College sidewalks earlier this month rattled the campus and surrounding community

A police report of the chalkings from Sept. 3 names Gabriel James Wilson as a suspect.

As Missouri's gubernatorial election draws near, the right-to-work debate hangs in the balance. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is in Kansas City to address his group's state convention, and says results from the races for governor and president will affect the future of organized labor.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, Rep. Joe Don McGaugh (R-Carrollton) talks about the 2016 veto session and the upcoming election.

Guests:

YouTube

GOP incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri responded Tuesday to a much talked-about political ad by Secretary of State Jason Kander, fighting back as his Democratic challenger grows closer in the polls.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, Rep. Joe Don McGaugh (R-Carrollton) talks about the 2016 veto session and the upcoming election.

Guests:

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3 / File

The Kansas general election ballot is now set.

Officials in the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office late last week cleared the last hurdle to certifying the roster of candidates for the Nov. 8 election by granting presidential candidate Jill Stein’s request to change the person listed on the ballot as her vice presidential running mate.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts says the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is crucial for farmers wanting access to new and growing markets. But in the midst of the presidential campaign the deal faces an uphill battle.

Speaking on a panel at the Kansas State Fair Saturday, Roberts, who is the Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, distinguished the TPP from other trade deals. He says the agriculture industry stands to benefit too much for it to be allowed to fail.

Susie Fagan / KHI News Service

Former Democratic Gov. John Carlin and former Republican House Speaker Mike O’Neal have starkly different views on the condition of Kansas government. That divergence was plain as the two met in Topeka Thursday for a discussion about the size of government recorded for KCUR’s Statehouse Blend Kansas podcast.

 

O’Neal and Carlin agree on one thing -- that they don’t know exactly what the “right size” of state government is.

 

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's time in office ends in a few months, but forthcoming attempts in the Statehouse to override his vetoes of bills proposing tighter voter ID rules, looser concealed carry regulations, and an increased price-tag for a driver's license are keeping him plenty busy.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Ministers and union leaders rallied Wednesday at Barney Allis Plaza in downtown Kansas City in opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment that would require Missourians to show a photo ID before voting.

“This gathering is about the holding hands again of labor and faith as they did more than 50 years ago on the Washington Mall,” says Rev. Bob Hill, former pastor of Community Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

As the race for the U.S. Senate seat from Missouri is tightening, the candidates are taking on the bread-and-butter issues they hope will resonate with voters.

Secretary of State Jason Kander, who is challenging GOP incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt, on Wednesday met with a group of college students and university administrators about the high cost of college.

Kander told the group that he believes those costs – and resulting high student loan debt – is a middle-class issue that affects generations of families.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A bipartisan group of four former Kansas governors is predicting dire consequences if conservatives successfully oust four state Supreme Court justices.

Former Democratic Gov. John Carlin has the harshest assessment. If the justices are kicked off the bench in November's retention election "then the hole this (Brownback) administration has dug for us may be too deep to get out of," said Carlin, at a stop in Kansas City Tuesday. Carlin, who was in office from 1978-1986, also called this retention fight “chaos” and said it has “an indirect effect on economic growth” in the state.

Jim McLean / KHI News Service

A large section of what used to be Mercy Hospital in Independence, Kansas, has been torn down in the year since it closed.

On a hot August day, a bulldozer is prepping the lot where it once stood for construction of a new city garage.

Andy Taylor, the editor of the weekly Montgomery County Chronicle, says many residents of the community of about 10,000 still aren’t sure exactly what happened. But he says they believe city and state officials could and should have done more to save the hospital.

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend, Missouri Rep. Sheila Solon (R-Blue Springs) talks about losing her primary, campaign contribution limits, and concealed carry legislation.

Guests:

  • Sheila Solon, (R-Blue Springs), Missouri House of Representatives
  • Eric Bunch, Policy Director and Co-Founder, BikeWalkKC

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The postmortem on the primary election in Kansas is still going on. How did moderates oust so many incumbent conservatives?

One big reason is the unexpected emergence of a couple of grassroots education groups in Johnson County, especially one that sprang up just a few months ago.

On primary election night, Johnson County Republicans were gathered at the Marriott, their traditional place.

One by one, moderates picked off conservative seats in the Kansas House and Senate.

And in one corner, a group of moms was a little giddy.

Kansas Legislature

Primary election night was brutal for conservative Republicans in the Kansas Legislature. 

Six Republican members of the Senate lost their primaries. The more moderate candidates won two additional seats left open by conservatives who decided not to run for reelection.

Eight Republican House members were ousted in the primaries. The Kansas Chamber, which has been known to back lawmakers who align with Gov. Brownback on tax policy, had endorsed all of those defeated incumbents. Eight others the Chamber endorsed in 13 open House races also lost.

It's hard to remember a time when voters were more frustrated with the Democratic and Republican options on offer. With the possibility of a banner year for the Greens and Libertarians, we look at the role and influence of third parties.

Guests:

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