Tag Archives: Pete DeGraaf

DeGraaf releases endorsements for Kansas offices

Kansas State Representative Pete DeGraaf has released his personal endorsements for Kansas statewide races and for races around the Wichita area.

DeGraaf is completing his first full term representing District 81 (Mulvane, Belle Plain, Clearwater, and surrounding areas) in the Kansas House. His most important committee assignment is Appropriations.

DeGraaf earns high marks on legislative ratings that reward conservative voting records, so voters looking for conservative candidates to support will want to consider his recommendations.

DeGraaf notes that this list is not inclusive, but focuses on those candidates who have primary election contests. He also said in his message that “Primaries are critical to getting the right people in office. People that I feel will provide the best chance we have of advancing a conservative biblical worldview — fiscally conservative, pro-life, pro-family, and anti-tax.”

He also recommends to “consider reviewing voting records and seeing what others conservatives are saying,” mentioning these sources in particular: Kansans for Life, Americans for Prosperity with its legislative scorecards, the Kansas Economic Freedom Index, and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

Following are DeGraaf’s endorsements:

Kansas Governor: Sam Brownback

United States Senate: Todd Tiahrt

United States Congress from the fourth district: Mike Pompeo

United States Congress from the first district: Tim Huelskamp

United States Congress from the second district: Dennis Pyle

Secretary of State: Kris Kobach

Kansas House of Representatives, District 67: Susan Mosier

Kansas House of Representatives, District 70: Cheryl Green

Kansas House of Representatives, District 80: Ellen Janoski

Kansas House of Representatives, District 82: Jim Howell

Kansas House of Representatives, District 83: Kyle Amos

Kansas House of Representatives, District 86: John Stevens

Kansas House of Representatives, District 87: Joseph Scapa

Kansas House of Representatives, District 94: Joe McLeland

Kansas House of Representatives, District 98: James Clendenin

Sumner County Commissioner: Steve Warner (620-488-3119)

Sedgwick County Commissioner: Chuck Warren (316-788-2757)

Resolution seeks to clarify role of Kansas courts, legislature

Kansas House of Representatives member Pete DeGraaf, a Republican from Mulvane, will soon introduce a resolution “concerning the expenditure of public moneys to finance certain litigation against the Legislature or the State of Kansas.” Dick Kelsey will introduce the resolution in the Kansas Senate.

Language in the resolution clarifies the role and purpose of both courts and legislatures, noting that “Courts are concerned only with the legislative power to enact statutes and appropriate money, not with the wisdom behind those enactments or appropriations.”

The resolution also recognizes “The determination of the amounts, sources and objectives of expenditures of public moneys, especially at the state level, presents issues of enormous practical and political complexity, and resolution appropriately is largely left to the interplay of the interests and forces directly involved and indirectly affected in the arenas of legislative and executive activity.”

The resolution specifically states that any ruling by a court regarding a specific level of funding is to be considered advisory only, not binding. It also forbids tax money from being used to “finance or support litigation challenging the constitutionality of the amount of any legislative appropriation.”

The full text of the resolution is available here. Coverage from State of the State Kansas is at Senator Kelsey Introduces Resolution Preventing Public Funds To Sue the State.

DeGraaf delivers update on Kansas budget, other matters

Last Friday Kansas State Representative Pete DeGraaf, a Republican from Mulvane, updated members and guests of the Wichita Pachyderm Club on the status of the Kansas budget and other legislative matters. He appeared with Representative Don Myers, a Republican from Derby.

DeGraaf was appointed to the legislature at the end of the 2008 session to fill the vacancy created when Ted Powers died. DeGraaf was elected to a full term in November 2008. He serves on the important House Appropriations Committee.

“Americans are awaking up, and they’re not liking the shift to the left,” DeGraaf told the audience. Even in Washington, politicians are recognizing that people are upset.

Locally, he said that the budgetary problems in Kansas provide an opportunity to cut government, “not only in scope, but in real funding and numbers.” Government has grown rapidly in Kansas, and the current situation provides an opportunity to evaluate our priorities, to decide what’s critical and what isn’t.

Speaking about the current budget, DeGraaf said that K through12 education was cut 4.7%, when considering base state aid per pupil. But when considering overall funding, school budgets were not cut at all due to the impact of federal and local funding.

Furthermore, he said that schools put millions into savings accounts — the unencumbered funds that the Kansas Watchdog has uncovered.

Since K through 12 school spending — which is about half the state’s general fund spending — was cut so little, large cuts were made in other areas. Some social service agencies such as Comcare were cut by 52%, he said. Facilities like state hospitals and juvenile detention centers may be closed, potentially releasing predatory offenders back on the streets.

From a legislative perspective, he said the pressure comes from a “highly-paid, energetic lobby, K through 12.” He described the high-pressure, nasty emails — complete with misspelled words — he receives from school administrators.

DeGraaf said he appreciated the Sedgwick County legislative platform with its positions advocating for state hospital beds and funding for developmentally disabled people. There are 2,000 people on a waiting list in Sedgwick County alone, he said.

DeGraaf recommended using KansasVotes.org to keep up with the voting record of members of the Kansas House and Senate.

For the upcoming Kansas legislative session, DeGraaf said that the budget deficit that legislators will have to overcome could be as much as $500 million.

The affordable airfares program — the subsidy paid to AirTran Airways to provide cheap air service in Wichita — is important, he said, and we in Wichita and south-central Kansas need to make sure that legislators from northeast Kansas realize that.

DeGraaf said the tea party movement is an encouragement.

Analysis

DeGraaf’s assessment of the state’s fiscal troubles as an opportunity to re-examine the role we want Kansas state government to play is spot-on. Other legislators — even Democrats such as Kansas Senator Chris Steineger with his ideas for redesigning Kansas government — have also recognized this window of opportunity. Unfortunately, the naked self-interest of the school spending lobby, particularly the Kansas National Education Association or KNEA, the teachers union) and the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), makes it very difficult to rationally discuss state spending.

Even such basic reforms such as zero-based budgeting are difficult to achieve. Answering a question from the audience, DeGraaf described how an amendment requiring this never went anywhere in the last session. DeGraaf said that he’s concerned that there is not enough manpower (legislative staff) to do zero-based budgeting.

Readers of this blog will recognize that I don’t agree with everything DeGraaf supports. His support of what he termed the “manipulated competition” that the AirTran subsidy brings to the Wichita airport is something that I have opposed, and will continue to oppose.

Kansas legislative duo to update Pachyderms

Kansas Representatives Don Myers (Republican from Derby) and Pete DeGraaf (Republican from Mulvane) will jointly present “An update on the financial status of Kansas” at the Wichita Pachyderm Club on Friday December 11.

All are welcome to attend Pachyderm club meetings. The program costs $10, which includes a delicious buffet lunch including salad, soup, two main dishes, and ice tea and coffee. The meeting starts at 11:45 am.

The Wichita Petroleum Club is on the ninth floor of the Bank of America Building at 100 N. Broadway (north side of Douglas between Topeka and Broadway) in Wichita, Kansas (click for a map and directions). Park in the garage just across Broadway and use the sky walk to enter the Bank of America building. Bring your parking garage ticket to be stamped and your parking fee will be only $1.00. There is usually some metered and free street parking nearby.