Judd Weil-News Director firstname.lastname@example.org
[FORD COUNTY, Kan.]
The elections for primary 2022 are Tuesday, August 2. After speaking with the House of Representative candidates for Kansas House District 115, it was the candidates for District 119’s turn.
“Well I saw that there was some votes in the past by the current sitting representative that didn’t line up with how I would have voted,” said Jason Goetz, Dodge City, Kan. when talking about why he declared his candidacy. “So I kind of felt not well represented in my values and in the way I would have voted on some issues and so that piqued my interest.”
Goetz stated he is very local minded, with his past, present, and future in Dodge City, Kan., mostly represented by District 119, as a motivating factor.
Goetz said he was waiting for the “right thing to step into,” and he had spoken to the Republican leadership in Dodge City who urged him to run.
Goetz said the highlights of his platforms are “faith, family, and freedom.”
As a local pastor with a past at the Dodge City Church of the Nazarene and Wilroads Garden Christian Church Goetz said he wants to guard religious liberties for everyone, not just those of his personal denomination.
He believes in the freedom to assemble regardless of personal spiritual or non-spiritual beliefs, and behaving with altruism with those beliefs.
Goetz believes family is the “bedrock” of any community.
“Life is pretty hard on the family right now,” said Goetz.
He wants to see programs that help families spend more time together.
Speaking on freedom Goetz stated, “I see freedom as it’s not free, we did not receive, in a sense, this country free.”
Goetz stated freedom is a responsibility and to maintain freedom for everyone who comes to District 119, is to show them what that responsibility means.
Goetz stated he had an interest in running for political achievement for a few years, with the apex of his interest being during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goetz cited his experience as “relational,” recalling his work in the business and farming community.
“Having an open-relationship with a lot people in the community, and being able to have a pulse of “hey are things going well” and “what maybe needs to change,” and so just a lot of the connections from what I have with from just being here and being available, and serving the community through a pastoral role, it has just opened a lot of relationships that are influential relationships to the community,” said Goetz. “So just kind of stepping in and leveraging that in this opportunity.”
Goetz addressed the divide in the Republican party, perceiving it as being in a “moderate dealing in Republican stances.”
“I believe what a lot of the divide is over is staying conservative or moving towards moderate, which is actually then voting against your party platform, you’re voting against what they valued and why they voted you in,” said Goetz.
Speaking on how he would respond to the divide, Goetz said he would change if he was not standing for the values of his constituents. He believes in holding the Republican party accountable for what they stand and working with others when they can.
Running for re-election for House District 119 is current seat, Bradley Ralph.
Ralph cited his history with Dodge City as a lifelong resident and a practicing attorney, who raised a family through the Dodge City systems he was raised through as his motivation for originally running for Kansas House. He felt he had to give something back to the community by making use of his “wealth of knowledge” garnered through working in Dodge City for many years, and he could reflect that in Topeka.
Ralph said he thinks he had accomplished a lot of what he wanted to in his first term.
“It’s interesting because you never know about something like this until you get into it of what’s going to be there,” said Ralph. “Of course there’s a learning curve in the first couple of years in trying to get your feet underneath you and obviously there’s kind of some seniority that goes along the legislature in terms of working your way into leadership positions.”
Ralph states highlights in leadership positions include the redistricting committee, the judiciary committee, and he has been able to bring some revamping to DUI laws in Kansas.
Going forward with his platform, Ralph believes he will continue working on already successful things in western Kansas, such as highway projects and rural housing.
Ralph commended the upcoming Hilmar Cheese Company to Dodge City as a major help in the process to provide rural housing in the community.
Ralph said he will continue to work to avoid Topeka from making bad laws.
When asked about the changing political landscape and the effect it is bearing on Kansans, Ralph stated he believed going forward in the rapidly changing world of Kansas, it is important for legislatures to keep decisions as close as possible to whatever issue may arise.
“In those instances a lot of times, my greatest efforts in Topeka, are safeguarding the sovereignty, if you will, of the local elected officials,” said Ralph.
Ralph stated this included city commissioners, county commissioners, boards of trustees, or a board of education.
“It’s interesting. In the 119 district, I represent those four entities in Topeka,” continued Ralph. “We have about 20 local elected officials making decisions on issues that affect us locally, and the idea that I would be able to make a decision in Topeka that is more impactful than those local officials, would seem to be pretty presumptuous.
“So those decisions in Topeka sometimes can be driven by some of the larger counties so I try to focus on the fact of when we can make local decisions, I try really hard not to be making a decision in Topeka, statewide, that could best be made by our local officials and I try to stay out of their business.”
Ralph stated local decisions are considerably made by locally elected officials as opposed to a House Representative constantly working in Topeka.
On the importance of voting, Ralph said it has become more apparent to him the weight of the decisions made in Topeka.
“Because as I’ve said before, as much as I want to leave local decisions local, I also have to be aware that there are significant numbers of folks in the large five counties that will direct much of the policy statewide,” said Ralph. “And so I have to continue to be involved in the decision-making.”
Ralph said, it is more considerate for him to be in Topeka where conversations are going on that are creating legislation and legislation, then implementing them.
“Because if I can’t have an impact on the policy before it gets to the floor of the House, sometimes that issue is lost for western Kansas,” Ralph said.
Ralph concluded his time by stating over the last six years it has been important for him to gain the respect of his fellow legislators and to gain knowledge so he can be involved in conversations to better impact his district.
The last candidate interviewed was James Beard for U.S. Representative for Kansas District 1.