State Rep. Jeff Pittman will face former state Rep. Tony Barton in the race for the 41st District of the Kansas House of Representatives. The 41st District includes much of the city of Leavenworth. Election Day is Nov. 6. The race is a rematch of one from 2016. But two years ago, Barton was the incumbent who was being challenged by Pittman.
Party affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Pastor of New Life Fellowship Church
Political experience: Kansas Legislature (2014-16)
Party affiliation: Democratic
Occupation: Supply chain and logistics consultant with Logility, Inc.
Political experience: One term as House District 41 state representative. Military and Veteran Affairs, Transportation, Agriculture and Security and Technology committees. Kansas Information Technology Executive Committee member.
1. Why are you the best candidate for the 41st District?
Barton: Voters will decide who can best represent them on state-level issues. I have a 100 percent attendance/voting record. I believe government should be small and efficient. I’ll defend the constitutional rights of all citizens. I support and will work to improve living/working conditions for veterans, first responders, corrections officers and law enforcement. Kansans shouldn’t be strapped with high taxes, onerous regulations and unchecked spending. While on active duty, I protected liberty and freedom, then served all constituents equally. TonyBarton4Kansas.com
Pittman: After graduating from Leavenworth High School, I went on to earn degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oxford. I work successfully driving efficiencies in complicated businesses and then apply that business experience to our state’s operations. I’m engaged with our community, able to negotiate meaningful legislative policies and humbled to represent my hometown and earn your vote.
2. What will be the most important issue of the next legislative session?
Barton: Making government efficient gets my vote. Reducing spending/taxes should be prioritized while budgeting responsibly and working within means. This is our duty to Kansas taxpayers. SB 30 and the motion to override the governor’s veto brought Kansans the largest tax increase in Kansas history and it was retroactive to January.
Pittman: I inherited a fiscal disaster of about $1 billion in mismanaged budget, corporate tax holidays and downgraded Kansas credit ratings. We made bipartisan fixes to stabilize our budget and stop corporate handouts while bringing back important tax credits for working families. We need to continue to find efficiencies but must not go back to former Gov. Sam Brownback’s experiment.
3. What changes would you support in regard to state funding of education?
Barton: The Legislature votes on the amount of funding. Local school boards decide how education dollars are spent. The Legislature urged school boards to allocate 65 percent of education dollars to instruction. Instead, school boards reduced the allocation to 53.9 percent. Too many dollars go to administration. Let’s increase teacher pay and resolve the constant litigation.
Pittman: I’m invested in ensuring every Kansas child can receive a quality education, no matter their zip code or background. The prior Legislature cut more than $1.5 million annually from Leavenworth schools and I voted to restore that local funding for our classrooms. Moving forward, it’s important we include military and vocational training options for students.