Judd Weil-News Director email@example.com
[FORD COUNTY, Kan.]
With election day for the 2022 primaries on Tuesday, August 2, it is important for people, especially those in rural southwest Kansas to know who their Kansas House of Representative candidates are.
For those first time voters or those needing a refresher, the Kansas House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the Kansas State Legislature. Alongside the Kansas State Senate, it forms the legislative branch of the Kansas state government and works alongside the governor of Kansas to create laws and establish a state budget.
Legislative authority and responsibilities of the Kansas House of Representatives including passing bills on public policy matters, setting levels of state spending, raising and lowering taxes, and voting to uphold or override gubernatorial, or governor, vetoes.
Kansas enacted legislative district boundaries on May 18, when the Kansas Supreme Court unanimously upheld the validity of the legislative districts that Gov. Laura Kelly signed into law on April 15.
Both chambers of the legislature passed the redistricting legislation on March 30, 2022, after a joint House-Senate conference committee had developed it. The Kansas House of Representatives approved the legislative boundaries, 83-40, and the State Senate approved them, 29-11
Running for the newly redistricted House District 115, consisting of Comanche, Meade, Clark, Gray, and Ford counties, is Joseph Nuci, Dodge City, Kan., and Gary White, Ashland, Kan.
When asked why he was running for the House of Representatives, Nuci said he had been disappointed in the current legislation, feeling southwest Kansas is under-represented.
“We have legislators who are out for their own agenda or lobbying for groups. I want to make that change,” sad Nuci. “My policy has always been an open door. Give me a call, shoot me an email, let me know where you’re at on the subject.”
When asked if he felt pressured running in a redistricted House District, Nuci said he did but was excited for it.
Nuci said he is not bothered by the possibility of representing five counties instead of one city, stating they need real representation as well.
Among the issues Nuci has based his platform on, he stated he wants to address high taxes, high spending, and low Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) funding.
“All of these different things we seem to just get pennies on the dollar for in southwest Kansas compared to eastern Kansas,” said Nuci. “Why do we have that? Our roadways are way overloaded, we get nothing to repair them, we lose people, people die all the time.”
Nuci continued, “our farmers are taxed all the time, taxed on their land, taxed on their profits of any crop they have on it.
Nuci believes that the smaller cities are a disadvantage and are taken from in favor of bigger cities and that is the system affecting rural community needs such as education and road needs.
He stated he sees his experience as a City of Dodge City commissioner as unique as compared to others who have not served any capacity in working in legislative representation such as a school board or local or state governments.
“A lot of the experience we’ve had lately is bringing industries in,” said Nuci, referencing the Hilmar Cheese Company plant. “We fight hard to get that stuff. We fight hard to get any kind of quality of life in southwest Kansas.”
When asked about the divide in the Republican party, Nuci addressed it by stating there is a problem with partisanship, including within the Republican party.. “All this does is hurt the people they’re supposed to be representing,” Said Nuci. “We need to have the conversation and start working together. If not, what are we there for? Who are we working for really, if we’re not working for the citizens in our districts.”
Nuci concluded his time by addressing the importance of voting in smaller elections. Nuci cited a cautious nature between voters and candidates
“We have got to find ways to get people out there and trust their voting system in general too, that’s been in question too, but we have got to get people active and actually probably a little bit angry about the situations that have gone on to get them active,” said Nuci. “There’s no reason we should have 10% of the people, we should have over 50%.”
Gary White, a farmer out of Ashland, Kan., is also running as a House Representative for District 115 candidate.
White stated his reason for running to represent his district is rooted in conversations he has with current representative Boyd Orr and others in Topeka, Kan.
Orr is retiring following this election cycle.
“I’m not so much bringing to the district, as representing the people here,” said White when asked about his platform. “This is an agriculture district and I am a farmer, and I think that is vitally important for everything out here.”
White further stated District 115 is agriculture country and there is a need for someone who knows that in Topeka.
White stated he once had an interest in politics by forwent that in favor of farming for an extended time. His interest in politics returned though over his time advocating with the farm bureau in Topeka.
White has been a farmer for over 15 years and possesses a degree in Economics.
When asked about the status of the Republican party and its divisiveness, White said he recognized it even from the legislative level in Topeka, and desires a more candid approach when it comes to elected officials.
When it came to voters, White stated it is important for people to have someone representing them be it from state legislation to local legislation such as school boards and county commissions.
“Out here, the Big First District has a voting turnout of usually above 80%, which is mind-boggling to the rest of the country let alone to the rest of the state, so I’m very proud to be from out here and people understand their vote means something,” said White.