Kansas election was about taxes, spending

Derrick Sontag of Americans for Prosperity, Kansas chapter analyzes the recent Kansas election and what the results mean. Sontag is optimistic when he writes — referring to the many new conservatives elected to the Kansas House of Representatives — “These new statehouse members will not bow to the demands of taxpayer-funded lobbyists as their predecessors did.” I hope he’s correct.

Read a paper, watch the news, or venture online and one will find numerous opinions as to why this month’s election results were as one-sided as they were in Kansas. Experts have compared campaign strategies, analyzed campaign finance reports, even opined about which side had the most enthusiasm amongst its base of supporters. But what few have concluded is what I believe to be the truth: the candidates who won simply had the winning message.

When looking at the victorious candidates in Kansas or across the country, you’ll find individuals who pledged to adhere to fiscally conservative and limited government principles. You’ll find candidates who pledged to cut spending, reduce government debt, and to stop the knee-jerk reaction to increase the tax burden on families and businesses during economic downturns. You’ll find candidates who pledged to reject implementing the federal government’s takeover of our health care system.

The election results weren’t even close, with all five contested statewide races decided by double digits. What makes it even more impressive is three of the statewide races saw the incumbent lose by 22, 18, and 13 points. The closest race — that of Attorney General — was more than likely decided by the candidates’ stance on joining the suit to fight the federal health care bill, something that incumbent Attorney General Steve Six declined to do.

Equally as impressive were the results in the Kansas House of Representatives where — counting the primary cycle — 20 seats switched hands from liberal legislators to fiscally conservative candidates who all openly campaigned against the tax-and-spend philosophy that dominated the debate in Topeka last year.

These new statehouse members will not bow to the demands of taxpayer-funded lobbyists as their predecessors did when they passed the second largest tax increase in state history in order to pay for an increase in spending of $200 million. Rather, they will adhere to the demands of taxpayers and remember the message their future constituents delivered; be more responsive, be more accountable and be an advocate for us, and not proponents of the big government polices proven to be harmful to the Kansas economy.

Led by Governor-Elect Sen. Sam Brownback, our state has a bright future of returning power to the people by delivering a more efficient and responsive government. Americans for Prosperity looks forward to working with these public servants in an attempt to reform our government.

Derrick Sontag is the state director of the grassroots group Americans for Prosperity-Kansas. He lives in Topeka.

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