By David Norlin
Representative Steven Johnson’s response to a Salina Journal editorial about KPERS was carefully worded, and his perspective on Kansas’ bonded indebtedness is worth examining. Indeed, his role in shaping policy on this issue has been his key claim to fame, and the Journal is right to print his response.
But it also constitutes free political advertising, and is itself worthy of response.
Steven is a gentleman, in the best sense of that word. I’ve found him always courteous, respectful, thoughtful, and likable. A recent letter urged his re-election for that reason, saying he should be judged by his record. Indeed, he should.
Sadly, his record is abysmal.
I understand the need for respect and ‘working with’ all colleagues in the Kansas legislature, but there is a difference between cooperation and caving. Rep. Johnson has caved, again and again and again. Respect for one’s superiors must be tempered with the ability to confront them when they are flat wrong. And indisputably, Brownback’s minions have been wrong. Yet Rep. Johnson has become one of them, joining on key votes, often where his vote was one of a few that made the difference.
His votes have cost his constituents dearly.
Most infamously, he voted against teachers to do away with due process. In addition, he voted: for the largest tax increase in state history, increasing sales tax and simultaneously eliminating many itemized deductions; for taking away local control by imposing a tax lid on counties and removing cities’ rights to control gun sales; for cutting judiciary budget as punishment for opposing Brownback on school finance; against stopping the Governor from making further cuts to education; for gun-carrying without a permit; against protecting Kansans’ medicare; for punishing families on state assistance; for limiting assistance for those in need; for reducing retirement benefits; etc, etc.
In recent elections, we had no alternative. Rep. Johnson was the sole ballot offering. This time, we have a better option.
I like Steven personally, but we can no longer afford him. We need a representative who will stand up to bullies and for the people. Kelly Menke is that representative.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author. These views and opinions do not represent those of the Post News Network and/or any/all contributors to this site.