I don't ever remember so many choices in the Kansas Democratic primary as we have this year. There has been a lot more heat and dollars spent on the GOP side, so the information to make an informed decision has been hard to come by. For what it is worth, here are my recommendations.
US Senate: Charles Schollenberger is the candidate who has taken the most progressive positions on the issues. Schollenberger, so far as I can determine, is the only candidate to openly support unions and the Employee Free Choice Act.
From his website:
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING:On the economy, Schollenberger has articulated a strong, progressive program in contrast to Lisa Johnson who displays the rhetoric of the right. She writes about the "skyrocketing federal deficit" and promotes the misleading and dangerous notion that the federal government, instead of acting to stabilize the economy as a whole, should emulate the mythical household . David Haley in the Wichita Eagle candidate survey also pushed the GOP line about balanced budgets and even supporting the line-item veto.
Kansans have the right to a satisfying job and a fair wage, whether they work for themselves or others. They also have the right to organize unions and collectively bargain. An array of research demonstrates that union and organized labor benefits the economy by raising living standards for union and non-union workers alike, making companies more efficient and productive, and by balancing the interests of ownership and investors with the interests of the hardworking men and women that make these companies thrive. As Kansas’ next U.S. Senator I will support legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act, which would impose real penalties on employers who harass or fire union sympathizers, or otherwise try to scare workers away from a union. Under the Employee Free Choice Act, if a majority of employees at a workplace sign cards favoring a union, the act would require an employer to recognize the union, avoiding long and destructive battles.
Schollenberger supports a strong economic recovery program and advocates that it be paid for by a financial transaction tax.
Schollenberger takes a courageous position in support of immigration reform and is strong in his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Haley on immigration channels Kris Kobach and Pat Buchannon, telling the Eagle that the US must "immediately mitigate the rewards currently found for lawlessness and the resulting erosion of our established American culture."
Secretary of State: Chris Biggs, the incumbent via appointment by Gov. Mark Parkinson is the clear choice over Chris Steineger. Biggs has been endorsed by Gov. Mark Parkinson, Sen. Anthony Hensley (Kansas Senate Minority Leader), Rep. Paul Davis (Kansas House Minority Leader), KNEA, Kansas State Firefighters Association, Mainstream Coalition, Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation.
Fourth Congressional District: I'll vote for Raj Goyle, although not with the enthusiasm that I had hoped to have. On many of the issues covered in the Wichita Eagle, I find myself more sympathetic with many of the positions articulated by Robert Tillman. Goyle, on the other hand, is a great natural politician, a prodigious fundraiser, and an extraordinarily well-organized campaigner. He could have a real chance to win the open seat in the Fourth Congressional race. While not being a progressive Democratic and, I think, running to the right of Dan Glickman, Goyle is clearly no Republican and would be a great improvement over Todd Tiahrt or presumed likely opponents Wink Hartman or Mike Pompeo. (If Jean Schodorf should pull off an upset, which has gone from a pipe dream to a distinct possibility, Goyle will have to work hard to demonstrate his superiority.)
Goyle defends. in part, the health care reform bill, abortion rights, affirms that the stimulus program has benefited Kansas, and opposes raising the retirement age for Social Security. But his answer on immigration avoids taking a position in favor of immigration reform and instead touts his support for an English official language law. He says the "Out-of-control Washington spending has taken a federal budget surplus 10 years ago and turned it into a record deficit." As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities stated in 2005
Some seek to portray “runaway domestic spending” or growth in the costs of entitlement programs as the primary cause of the shift in recent years from sizeable surpluses to large deficits. Such a characterization is incorrect. In 2005, the cost of tax cuts enacted over the past four years will be over three times the cost of all domestic program increases enacted over this period.Even more disappointing is Goyle's statement a key to stimulating the economy is "by cutting wasteful government spending." The New York Times recently reported that a study by economists Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi showed that without the stimulus programs enacted beginning in the fall of 2008
the nation’s gross domestic product would be about 6.5 percent lower this year.
In addition, there would be about 8.5 million fewer jobs, on top of the more than 8 million already lost; and the economy would be experiencing deflation.