Five professors from different schools held an open topic session Feb. 13, to talk about current topics on Kansas politics, with this year being an election year for the Kansas state governor, most topics covered were about the most pressing issues concerning the race.
Bob Beatty, Washburn University, was the first professor to speak. He raised concerns about how Kansas should keep the integrity of elections. He believes that no one party should be in control of an election and that there are other ways to host an election.
The next speaker was Ed Flentje, from Wichita State University. Flentje brought up tax issues that have been hurting Kansas over the past couple years.
“We are shifting the tax burden from business owners to their employees and in my opinion, that is difficult to justify,” said Flentje.
He goes on to say that Kansas tax payers are going to end up paying almost $400 million in debt to make it through this year.
Next, Burdett Loomis, from the University of Kansas, spoke about the governor’s raise. He discussed how both candidates had raised money and had been very close at raising the same amount.
Brownback, on the last day of his campaign, took out a $500,000 loan, which made him look like he had raised more money and support. This topic, in particular, was important due to his opinions on how the race was going to go.
Kansas is notorious for being a republican state but Loomis says that Paul Davis, democrat, has a pretty good chance against his republican adversary, Governor Sam Brownback.
Next to talk was Mark Peterson from Washburn University. He gave a very interesting, yet disturbing, lecture on the physical state of Kansas. He talked about how there is little to no hope for post-graduate work in Kansas. By the end of 2013, there were only 10,000 new jobs per year, and, he believes, that is a result of the Brownback regime. The population has been in decline as a result from the recession and is still declining. These are alarming facts that brought much discussion.
The last speaker was Michael Smith from Emporia State. Smith wanted to talk about higher education and how money and academic freedom issues are being affected. He discussed how bigger universities, such as the University of Kansas and Wichita State University get more money from the state because they are “research” schools.
These bigger schools are also allowing more job opportunities, but he raised concerns about how that is affecting the smaller schools. He states that being from Emporia State, he feels like they are the forgotten ones.
This event was open to the public and was only about an hour and thirty minutes.
Information about Kansas was shared. With this year being an election year, it is important to follow debates in order to be able to make an appropriate voting decision this coming November.