Republican primary voters will have two candidates to choose from for their party's nominee for the 42nd District of the Kansas House of Representatives.

Republican primary voters will have two candidates to choose from for their party’s nominee for the 42nd District of the Kansas House of Representatives.

Incumbent Connie O’Brien, rural Tonganoxie, is facing a primary challenge from Jim Karleskint, rural Tonganoxie.

The winner of the Aug. 2 primary will face Democrat Kara Reed, Tonganoxie, in the Nov. 8 general election.

The 42nd District includes the cities of Tonganoxie and Easton.

As part of a weekly series focusing on local races, Karleskint and O’Brien each answered the same questions from the Leavenworth Times.

 

Jim Karleskint

Age: 68

Occupation: Retired educator. Last position was superintendent of schools in Holton.

Political experience: None

 

Connie O’Brien

Age: Not provided

Occupation: Mother of 11 children, grandmother of 16. Former school teacher.

Political experience: First elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 2008. Precinct committee woman for 20 years. Republican Party district delegate and state delegate. Former president of the Leavenworth County Republican Women’s Organization and vice chairwoman of the Leavenworth County Republican Party.

 

What are the most important issues facing the state government?

Karleskint: The most important issue facing state government at this time is lack of sound leadership with respect to fiscal planning and deficit budget spending. Our state is facing a crisis due to a failed “tax experiment.” Gov. Sam Brownback, with my opponent’s approval, is robbing the Kansas Department of Transportation of over $1 million a day to fill holes in the Kansas budget.

O’Brien: Establishing a K-12 education funding formula that is acceptable to everyone involved. Continuing with policies that promote economic growth and job creation.

 

What changes would you make to state tax laws?

Karleskint: We need to review the changes made under the “tax experiment.” Taxes are currently unfair to the citizens of Kansas. My opponent voted for the largest tax increase in the state’s history with the sales tax increase because there was careless implementation of the “tax experiment.”

O’Brien: Continue lowering income taxes for Kansas families, who are the beneficiaries of 71 percent of the income tax cuts, small businesses the remaining 29 percent. Income taxes are taxes on productivity and need to be eliminated. I supported the property tax lid giving voters the last word on proposed property tax increases.

 

What changes would you make to state funding for public schools?

Karleskint: We need to develop a sound school finance plan. There are many issues in developing a sound school finance formula. We need to keep the courts out of the business of school finance, but first we must treat schools fairly and all students fairly. The block grant is not the answer.

O’Brien: K-12 education receives 0.51 cent of every tax dollar. Kansas ranks second nationally in the percentage of tax dollars spent on K-12. We need more tax dollars making it into the classroom, bonus pay for teachers and an end to lawsuits using tax dollars to sue for more tax dollars.

 

Why are you the best candidate for the 42nd District?

Karleskint: I have the experience of working with budgets and people that are at odds over funding, cutting budgets and taxes. I know how to work with people when it comes to compromise, which is something that is lacking currently in state government.

O’Brien: Experience, traditional heart of America values and a desire to grow the economy, promote businesses and jobs, without raising taxes. Kansas unemployment is 3.7 percent. More Kansans are working than ever before. There has been a record number of new business filings four years in a row. “Actual” revenue returns are up $58.8 million from last year.