I call on my opponent to repudiate the blatant lies in mailers and robo-calls stating that as treasurer of the Republican Party of Kansas I was investigated for mishandling funds. THIS IS WRONG – AND A LIE. The Chair of the Republican Party of Kansas has issued a press release denouncing these lies.

When I took over as treasurer, I discovered problems with party records and reports which I reported fully and publicly to the party convention.

Working with the rest of the party leadership, I helped put in place procedures that restored confidence in the party’s records and reports and helped to move the party from a deficit to a positive balance when I ended my elected term. My efforts were complimented by the Federal Election Commission after they audited our records.

In short, there was never even an allegation of mishandling of funds by anyone and certainly not by me. There was an audit resulting from very poor record keeping and reporting by a previous administration and I was instrumental in correcting the problem which had completely occurred before I took office.

The continued attempts of my opponent’s camp to misinform the voting public and to besmirch my character are not helpful to the democratic process and I ask her to renounce these dirty tactics.

~Steve Fitzgerald

Francie and I value education. Our five kids have gone to Lutheran, Catholic, and Public Schools. Our daughter is a public high school teacher. I have served on the Catholic and the Public School Boards.  I strongly support the best possible education for all of our children in Kansas. What I do not support is simply throwing money at education – or any program – and not getting the results that we deserve.

Kansas students deserve a good, adequately funded education. The focus must be on the student and the quality of the education – not just spending more. The taxpayers also deserve proper use of their money.

Unfortunately, most of the discussion about education in this election is about funding. That would be good if it were about how much is enough and what sort of results are we seeing. However, there has been almost no attention paid to finding better ways to address our education problems and how to provide increasingly better education.  Instead, there are stories of drastic cuts that have happened or are happening or will happen and the terrible consequences. This is just blatant fear mongering and it is being fed by some in the teachers’ union as well as the school districts. These are the people who want the money – they are also the same people who do not want the accountability for performance – or transparency as to where the money has gone.

We need better education approaches with more clearly defined goals and better measurements. Funding must be adequate to achieve those goals. Important to the appropriate approaches is local control, parental choice, focus on individual students, more respect for the profession of teaching and the individual teachers and building principals. Education must not continue with the current, increasingly bureaucratic, top-down, one size fits all, cookie cutter approach.

First, take a look at a recent exchange between my opponent and myself.

 

My opponent referred to “drastic cuts” in education since 2008. Here is the chart of funding for Unified School Districts showing various sources of funding and not counting private donations. At no time since 2007 has per pupil funding dropped below $12,000. Prior to 2005 it had been below $10,000 dollars. Clearly the steep increases of 2006, 2007, and 2008 have not been continued. This hardly constitutes “drastic cuts” especially considering that K-12 education is almost sixty percent of the state general funds budget – and state revenues have been reduced by the economic recession. What my opponent fails to say is that all but one of the cuts she refers to were done under a Democrat governor and while she was in the legislature. Yet, she somehow wants to blame the current administration and me for her own failed record.

But with all the increases in spending that we have seen in more than a decade we have seen virtually no increase in student scores. Since 1998 spending per pupil has almost doubled while all measures of student performance have remains essentially the same.

The increases in spending have more than compensated for inflation – much more – as shown on the chart below.

So, where is the money going? That question is not really answered in the chart below as it is not clear what is in each of the categories but it seems that funding of “instruction” has been rising pretty well as in 2011 it is over nine thousand a pupil while in 2005 it was under six thousand – a huge increase. But spending on instruction is not keeping up with the pace of increase in overall spending. In other words, the schools seem to not be getting the money to the classroom because of other priorities. As mentioned, what is in each category is not clear and the composition of the categories could be different in each year – and in each reporting district.

Let’s take a look at the history of school funding at the local level. The chart below reflects two things only: headcount by year and spending by year for the Leavenworth School District. I am proud of the school district and I can brag on the district for many things – and I often have. My children graduated from Leavenworth schools and got fairly good to excellent educations – a lot depends on the child.

We should keep in mind that Leavenworth has large special education expenditures – and has for all the years covered by the chart. Nonetheless, the chart reflects total expenditures against total attendance with information from the Kansas Department of Education.

Yet, Leavenworth School District is one of the districts using taxpayer money to fund a lawsuit against the taxpayers of Kansas for more money.

We should be talking about how to get more students performing better, more students completing successfully, more students achieving at the top of their capabilities. We should be finding ways to let teachers actually practice their profession, ways for building principals to do their jobs better.  Instead we are locked into satisfying the never ending demand of the union and its allies for more and more and more while they hold our children’s futures hostage.

Money is not the problem and money is not the answer.  Education must be adequately funded but we cannot ignore our responsibilities by just writing bigger and bigger checks. We must demand better value for our money – for our kids. We can do better and we must. Our children’s future and ours depends on it.

September 17, 2012 -by Tim Brown

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. has become the first non-Roman Catholic business to file lawsuit against the Obama Health and Human Services (HHS) Department since the Obamacare mandate, which declares companies provide sterilization, contraception and abortifacients in their health care plans, went into effect on August 1.

The Examiner reports,

Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., a Christian-oriented hobby and craft store, filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday. The company is challenging a mandate in the nation’s healthcare law, dubbed “Obamacare”, that would require the Christian company to pay for the morning-after pill. The hobby and craft chain, based out of Oklahoma City, claims in the lawsuit that the government mandate is forcing them to “to violate their deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits”. If Hobby Lobby stores do not provide the drugs in their company health insurance plans, they could be fined up to $1.3 million a day. Hobby Lobby is self-insured. The company will be forced to comply with the mandate by Jan. 1, which is the start of its insurance year.

“By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow,” Hobby Lobby CEO and founder, David Green, stated. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”

Hobby Lobby was founded in 1972 and calls itself a “biblically founded business”. All stores in the chain, more than 500, are closed on Sundays. Mardel, Inc., another company of David Green’s, also joined in the lawsuit. Mardel, Inc. is a bookstore and education company with 35 stores that sells Christian-themed materials.

The lawsuit read, “The Green family’s religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices.”

CNS News adds,

According to the lawsuit, Hobby Lobby has always operated as a family business and provides health plans to employees through a self-insured policy.

In addition, the Greens pay their employees at least 80 percent above the minimum wage, give a portion of their profits to charity and close their stores on Sundays in accordance with their beliefs, according to the court document.

“Certain nonprofit religious organizations have been exempted from the mandate altogether, and others have been given extra time to comply with it. But the government refuses to give any accommodation whatsoever to families like the Greens, who simply want to run their businesses in accordance with their beliefs,” the lawsuit states.

Should the Greens decide to provide an insurance policy that excludes the services that violate their religious faith, they could be facing fines of up to $1.3 million per day, according to Baxter.

Their attorney, Eric Baxter, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said, “The HHS mandate puts the Green family and Hobby Lobby in the position where they are facing millions of dollars of fines per day unless they violate their religious conscience.”

“And the government’s position throughout this has been that if you go into business, if you’re making a profit, you lose your religious freedom, your First Amendment rights. And that’s really outrageous,” said Baxter.

“This just reinforces that this is not just a Catholic issue,” Baxter continued. “There are many religious organizations — Christian and non-Christian — throughout our country that object to abortion. And even if they don’t object to preventive contraception like the Greens, they do object to contributing or paying for drugs that will induce an abortion.

“Not only that but whether you share those religious convictions or not, all people who love liberty should be concerned that the government is encroaching on First Amendment rights in this manner,” he said.

It is clear this is an over reach of the federal government despite what the Supreme Court has ruled. It is a clear violation of the First Amendment. However, If people would band together and stand up and not comply with the mandate, what could the federal government possibly do with millions of businesses not complying? Shut them down? Talk about social unrest. It would make the economic situation in our nation far worse than it is now.

May God bless the Greens and others who are fighting this infringement upon God given rights that their representatives swore an oath to God that they would defend in the Constitution.
-Tim Brown

___________________________________________________________________________
The problem with the Affordable Care Act is that it is unconstitutional – despite what Chief Justice Roberts has said. If the federal government can use the power to lay taxes (which is constitutional) to force Americans to buy products then they can force Americans to do almost anything and what good is the Constitution then? Why not force us to buy electric cars from Government Motors or pay a $5,000 tax (penalty)? Why not force us to buy government sponsored child care or pay a tax? The examples are endless.
Our only chance to avoid this sort of “constitutional tyranny” is to resist now. The states must stop this unconstitutional over-reach by the central government – that includes the over-reach of the Supreme Court, which is a part of that central government. If this stands then it is the end of limited government and the end of the American Republic.
The  Kansas House of Representatives overwhelmingly  passed a Healthcare Freedom Amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would have made it a violation of Kansas law to force any Kansan to buy healthcare insurance. The bill  failed in the Senate by one vote of reaching the required two thirds majority – Senator Kultala voted against it.        -Steve

Fitzgerald – Gilstrap

What’s the Difference?

Many people have been wondering just what the difference is between myself and Mark Gilstrap.  It is in fact a very good question; one I hope to shed some light on here.  Both Mark and I are pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment Republicans.  The real difference between us lies in our positions on the government spending, support to small business, and illegal aliens.  Allow me to explain those differences and why we need a different kind of leader in the State Senate.

 

Pro-Life? – We are both endorsed by KFL

I am a co-founder of the local chapter of the KFL, the pro-life coordinator for my church, and a frequent pro-life writer in local newspapers.

 

Pro-Gun? – We both have been rated “A” 

NRA and KSRA have given us both an A rating. I am strongly in favor of recognition of our Constitutional rights regarding firearms.

 

Government Spending, Support for Small Business? – Big difference

In 2008 Mark was rated by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) as being the worst senator in Kansas. Mark scored a 50 – no senator scored lower. But Mark had often scored low on such ratings. Kansas Taxpayer Network scored him at a 20 one year and even 10 another.  I started two small businesses – creating jobs that provided income to Kansas families. In 2008 while Mark was getting low scores, I was endorsed by NFIB.

Illegal Aliens? – We have a different history

Mark voted in 2004 to provide instate tuition to illegal aliens and in 2008 he helped to successfully defend it against an act which would have ended it – while at the same time denying this benefit to ROTC cadets who are American citizens. 1 He now claims he voted in 2008 to end all benefits for illegal aliens – but that vote was on an  amendment that was never going to pass and everyone knew it.

Leadership – Making a difference, getting things done

 Leadership is setting goals and objectives and finding ways to achieve them – getting others to help. Starting businesses demanded leadership. I helped start the local Kansans For Life, co-founded The Leadership Series for Republican men, and am working to unify the Republican Party for victory in 2012.

Experience                                                                       

My experience is as an Army officer and a businessman in the private sector and in grass roots Republican political activity. I have been elected to the school board and as vice president of the school board. I have also been elected as the treasurer of the Kansas State Republican Party.            

             

Summary

When did Mark start claiming to be a conservative Republican? In 2008 Mark was all about being a Democrat, claiming “I’ve been in the senate for 12 years [as a Democrat].  I haven’t changed” and “a more than 92 percent agreement between the votes of [Senator] Hensley [Democrat Minority Leader] and himself. “2   But, after the Democrat voters handed him a 22% defeat he changed parties.

Win or lose, I am and I have been the Conservative Republican candidate for the 5th District Senate seat. My positions have not changed – my affiliations have not changed. The real difference between us is that with me you can be sure of who and what you are voting for.

1 Journal of the Kansas Senate, Wednesday, March 26, 2008

2 Basehor Sentinel, Thursday, July 17, 2008

The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken.  “Obamacare” is Constitutional and it is the law of the land.  The issue is settled and done, right?  Not a chance!

The reason the Supreme Court said Obamacare is Constitutional is because it falls under Congress’ power to levy taxes. No matter how many times the Obama administration and the Democrats try and hide or downplay it by calling it a “penalty” or a “payment” or an “investment” the MANDATE that every citizen must purchase health insurance is a tax. And a HUGE one at that. In fact, it is THE largest tax increase in US history.  Yes, you read that right.  This President is responsible for the largest tax increase in history–  and that’s beside the MOUNTAIN of debt he’s accumulated AND the Bush Presidency tax cuts he is allowing to lapse (which is the second biggest tax increase if it lapses).

But regardless of whether or not it is called a penalty or a tax, it is an attack on YOUR liberty, YOUR freedom, YOUR property. Definitions of the word MANDATE include: an official or authoritative command; an order or injunction; an often controversial government requirement for the purchase of goods by individuals; an obligation handed down by an inter-governmental body. A MANDATE, by definition, is an attack on YOUR freedom and liberty to do as you choose.

At its core, this legislation is a massive overreach by our federal government into our personal lives.  Government emanates from the power of “We the People” and the Constitution describes the powers of a REPRESENTATIVE government that “We the People” loan it from our power, our rights and how “We the People” intend to limit it.  When the federal government exceeds its bounds it’s up to the people to correct the government’s over-reach.  Under the 10th Amendment in the FEDERAL constitution Kansas has an obligation to defend its residents from federal government intrusiveness and imposition as it states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The federal government has a role.  It needs to provide for the common defense, to regulate interstate commerce, to protect our currency, provide for post offices and roads etc.  In other words, the federal government has the responsibility and authority to do for the common interest of the country what the States and “We the People” cannot do for ourselves. The decision and freedom to buy health insurance (or not to) is a personal one, NOT one for a FEDERAL government to dictate, and now MANDATE. Kansas legislators and we Kansans can solve our own problems and we have one last opportunity in the November election to do exactly that.

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