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OPINION

GUEST COLUMN: Taking action in the people’s House

Rep. Pat Proctor
Rep. Pat Proctor

I’ve had a busy first month serving you as your representative in Topeka. I wanted to take just a moment to share with you the issues I’ve been working on for you in the people’s House.

As I promised during the campaign, my top priority is rebuilding the Kansas economy after the devastating coronavirus economic shutdown. Last week, I carried a bill on the floor of the House that will keep insurance rates low and preserve the maximum number of insurance options for Kansas small businesses. The bill passed the House unanimously. This is just one way I’m working to lower the cost of owning and running a business so we can bring jobs and opportunity back to Leavenworth. I’m likewise supporting a bill to bring more accountability to our runaway property tax system that will come to the House floor soon. 

I am also focused on other ways to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. As of this writing, Kansas remains last in the nation in administering on-hand vaccines. Less than 10% of Kansans have been vaccinated while just over half of the vaccines sent to Kansas have even made it to vaccination sites. 

In hearings this month, we also discovered that Kansas is one of the top targets in the country for unemployment fraud. Kansas has nearly as many new unemployment claims as there are people working in the state. Our oversight efforts have forced Gov. Kelly to act, replacing the secretary of labor and implementing additional security measures to combat fraud. But she needs to do more and we will continue to apply pressure until she does.

I am also fulfilling another promises I made to the people of Leavenworth and Fort Leavenworth – taking care our veterans. This month, I successfully carried a bill through the House Appropriations Committee to establish a veterans’ home in northeast Kansas. I also carried a bill on the House floor to protect veterans’ jobs while they are deployed and guided bills through the Transportation Committee to protect our Patriot Guard Riders during funeral precessions and create distinctive military service license plates for veterans.

Finally, I fulfilled my promise to you to defend the right to life, including for the unborn. I joined a super-majority in the House and Senate in passing the “Value Them Both” amendment to reverse the Kansas Supreme Court’s disastrous April 2019 decision and restore the rights of Kansans, through their legislators, to place common sense restrictions on the abortion industry. Because of our vote, you will get the chance to vote next year on whether this amendment should be added to the Kansas State Constitution.

Thank you for the trust and confidence that you’ve placed in me. I am honored to serve you as your state representative.

Rep. Pat Proctor represents District 41 in the Kansas House of Representatives.