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Issues

Thank you for taking the time to see where I stand on the issues. As we press forward through this election season, please check back for udpates.

Family


Family is the fundamental unit of society.  As a father with 3 children and a loving wife, I can attest that there is no greater calling than raising children.  The family must be protected as we raise the future leaders of this state and country.


Faith

Faith - It was God who created this world.  It was the faith of our forefathers that built this country.  In God we Trust!


Freedom

Freedom - Never forget who won us our Freedom: The American Soldier!  We will forever be in debt to our veterans and I am so grateful for all of our soldiers currently serving!


Firearms

Firearms - Our Second Amendment right to bear arms shall never be infringed.  As a father, protector and avid outdoorsman, I strongly support our right to constitutional carry in Kansas.


Opportunity

Opportunity - We live in the greatest country in the world. It truly is the land of opportunity and we need to ensure those opportunities are open to every citizen in the State of Kansas.


Education

Education - Education is key to further growth and development.  As a Bethel College graduate, I realized early the importance of higher education and earned my MBA from Southwestern College.  We need to empower our children to get education beyond High School. 


Taxation

Taxation - I believe the government should be ran as efficiently as possible. This allows everyone to keep as many of their hard earned dollars in their pocket while still taking care of the most vulnerable among us. While I recognize efficiency in government is an oxy moron, we have to do everything possible to make it happen.


What is the most important issue facing Kansas today?

The most important issue currently facing Kansas is our economy.  We have to create jobs.  Notice I say create and not recruit.  We need to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship and develop our own economy from within.  There are truly so many gifted individuals and as a community, we need to help them build and develop their ideas and business!


Why are you running for office?

As a 21 year resident of the 74th District, I think its time we #rethinkkansas. I have a wonderful wife of 21 years, Rose, and we have three children, 18, 16 & 13. They all attend Hesston Public Schools. Having never held elected office, I believe our district needs represented by a business leader that isn't entrenched in politics to help get the economy back on track.  I am a true conservative that believes in the constitution and the limited power of government.


How do you feel about the recent tax increase passed last year?

Kansan's are already over taxed.  The $1.2 Billion tax increase passed last year was brutal and unnecessary.  There is no reason families making $60,000 per year deserve to be in the states top tax bracket.  Kansas is currently 8th in line for the highest sales tax (and most of the states higher than us have no state income tax)!  We have the 3rd highest food sales tax in the nation.  We have to fix this and focus on keeping as many dollars in the taxpayers pocket as possible while creating efficiencies in government. 

Along with the largest tax increase in history, spending was increased by nearly $800 million.  The increased spending in Kansas has far outpaced inflation and its time we control it.  There are currently 7 states in the US that do not have state income tax.  If they can do it, why can't Kansas?  One example: Kansas is 3rd highest per Capita for the number of public employees.  Why?  Lets investigate what we can do differently and work together to find the solutions. 

It is my solemn pledge to never vote for a tax increase until I can look each of you in the face and guarantee the government is operating as efficiently as possible..


What am I going to do to improve the economy / increase jobs?

Entrepreneurship.  We have to focus on creating jobs, not buying them with tax dollars.  We can redeploy economic incentives to foster growth and development in Kansas. In addition, our workforce is in need of a skilled workforce.  There are thousands of unfilled jobs in Kansas and business is stifled by their inability to hire a skilled workforce.  We have to redefine what an acceptable post-secondary education looks like.


Are their any school polices you see that need changed?

My oldest daughter just graduated Hesston High School this spring and I still have two children attending.  I couldn't be more proud of USD 460 and the job they do educating our children.  We have great leaders within our school system and I am proud to have my children attend.  I don't think there is a policy that needs changed in Hesston.


What is your stance on the school funding argument before the Supreme Court?

Since 2005, operating (not capital improvement or debt) cash reserves have increased from $468 Million to $928 Million in public schools.  Why is it that only 4 school districts think they need more money?  Where does it stop and who is accountable? Schools should be held to an equally higher level of efficiency as I propose the government should be held to.  Spending doesn't cause achievement gains without explicit accountability. 


Do you approve of a constitutional amendment allowing funding for schools to be the legislatures responsibility and not the courts?

Approve. I believe in the separation of powers.  I believe the legislature, per the constitution, should be allowed to set education funding levels.  If they aren't doing an adequate job, they can be voted out and new people elected.  The Supreme Court is not elected and therefore, has not accountability.  There is reason that the majority of state supreme courts won't take up education funding...and that is because it’s not their responsibility.


Any thoughts on post-secondary education?

There is much work to do on making post-secondary education more affordable.  There have been bills introduced in the past helping to pay for dual-credit classes in high school.  I am currently investigating and trying to work with industry leaders to improve the opportunities for those that want to attend a trade school, community college or a university.  We have to create our own workforce in Kansas and we can by working together to find solutions.


Would you oppose or support Medicaid expansion?

Oppose. Medicaid expansion is a tax trap that will equate to more taxes on the middle class.  Many states such as Arkansas, Ohio and Mass. have petitioned to either get out of the expansion all together or put specific restrictions on those that want to be part of it due to the excessive costs they couldn't budget for.  This isn't about taking care of the poor and needy, it is about allowing more able-bodied individuals into entitlement programs that can never be reversed.


Where do you stand on the second amendment?

I am a STRONG proponent of the second amendment.  As a life member of both the NRA and KSRA, I stand behind our states constitutional carry law.  I stand behind the bill that would enable my 18 year old daughter to carry her firearm concealed while a student at KSU this fall.  Gun violence is an absolute tragedy!  However, the problem is not the gun, it is the mental health of the person making the choice to use the firearm.  We must address the mental health crisis in order to address the violence epidemic.


Are you Pro-Life?

As a husband and father, I am a STRONG proponent of Life and believe there is no exception in which abortion should be allowed in Kansas or this country.  I have received the endorsement of Kansan’s for Life.


What about Kansas Roadways and money being swept into the general fund?

Kansas was recently ranked 3rd in the nation for our roadways.  All you have to do is drive south to know how great our roads are.  I believe that is an important part in building the Kansas economy and we need to ensure the funds are there maintain our infrastructure.  However, I do believe that we need to carefully evaluate our funding levels for KDOT and KTA to ensure any excess is returned to the general fund for re-deployment in other areas


How do you feel about legalization of Marijuana?

From the research I have done, I certainly believe Marijuana to have medicinal properties that should be tested and put into circulation as any other narcotic drug.  I feel we should leave the approval of medicine to the professionals with the FDA.  I cannot recall another drug that has been legalized by a vote of the people.  I stand ABSOLUTELY AGAINST the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.


Does the state need another tax increase?

As previously mentioned, we increased taxes substantially more than we should have.  We authorized $800 Million increased spending along with that tax increase.  I stand completely opposed to new tax increases and believe we owe it to the taxpayer to create efficiencies and allow them to keep as many of THEIR dollars in THEIR pocket as possible.  We must get back to the conservative values that make this state great.


Government Transparency?

I believe there is so much work to be done on transparency.  There is no reason committee votes aren't recorded so that each legislator can be held accountable for their decisions.  As it relates to "gut & go" bills, I think it is simply wrong and needs to be eliminated.  There should be ample time to understand what you are voting on and whether it is the best decision for Kansas.


Any other issues or concerns on your mind?

Family. I believe the basic unit of society is the family and the degradation of society can be directly linked to the degradation of the family.

Mental Health.  We are in the midst of a mental health crisis with our youth that MUST be addressed. 

Term Limits.  I believe in them and feel 8 years is long enough to serve in one position. We should address this on every level to ensure that power does not corrupt or interfere with what is best for Kansas.



Committee to Elect Stephen Owens,
Gloria Arrellano, Treasurer
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