Clay Center, KS- With the general election taking place on November 8th, we took this time to reach out to candidates to see what they had to say on some important topics to Kansans. Here are the responses we received back for those running for Kansas Secretary of State.
Jeanna Repass, Democratic Party, is running for election for Kansas Secretary of State.
– What are the three most important issues facing Kansas and how would you prioritize them?
When I speak with Kansans, I hear a lot about their worries about 1 _ The economy and how they can provide for their families despite inflation, 2. Our elections and government transparency, 3. About divisiveness and mistrust both in the government and among neighbors.
- Regarding the economy, one way that I can facilitate better economic vitality in Kansas is through streamlining the process for people to start their businesses and to renew existing licenses. People need to access the Secretary of State’s website before doing business in Kansas, yet the website and other tech infrastructure feels like red tape to people who don’t want to jump through unnecessary hoops to make a living as entrepreneurs. The website has been out of date for years With little attention given to making it more accessible. I will prioritize and expedite the overhaul of the Secretary of States website as a way to help Kansas do business – and particularly those who are looking to start a small business in Kansas.
- Regarding our elections and government transparency, this is the primary reason why I am running. I Will describe more about how I will prioritize these issues in the answers below
- Regarding divisiveness and mistrust, I am leaning on my personal and professional experience in leadership. My mother was a civil-rights activist and pastor in Nebraska and my father is a Vietnam veteran turned police officer. They have held very different views on a Wide range of topics over the years, but they both instilled in me a dedication to service and country and the importance of loving our neighbors as ourselves.
My experience in building radio stations from the ground up, and shepherding community organizations through restructuring, has given me the tools we need to deliver on this Issue. My experience as a woman who grew up in the midwest, as a leader in community service, and as a business manager, I know what It means to lead a team and to identify where our systems can work more efficiently for the greater good. I also have extensive experience in building relationships based on honesty and authenticity that is needed now more than ever In civil offices throughout Kansas, as we work to restore trust in our democracy.
– What are your goals for the office?
My top 3 goals for the Secretary of State’s office are: 1 _ Restoring trust in elections and the secretary of state’s office as a whole It was appalling to see my opponent, and the Incumbent, misusing public office to create distrust about the “no” votes in Kansas, as a means of leveraging power to deny Kansans the rights they voted to keep. I will not engage in using this office to influence my personal beliefs, and also I will create a non-partisan, independent election commission for oversight to avoid the vote-burying scandals of my opponent. 2 Overhauling the Secretary of State website to allow for better transparency regarding lobbying, checking and updating voter registration, and regarding registering a new or existing business in Kansas 3. Creating more voter accessibility opportunities, including working with the counties
for better resources at polling locations, and working for election day becoming a state holiday in Kansas
– What do you plan to accomplish in your first 30 days? In your first 90 days?
Between the first 30 to 90 days, these are the priorities that I Will be getting to work on right away:
Expedite the rollout of the new SOS website. We have waited for years for an update, and it is shameful that It has only been brought to attention because our team has said this website should have been a priority I will get right to work talking With all stakeholders, including web developers and Secretary of State office staff, about how we can make up for this lost time. Kansans need to be able to start their businesses, update their voter registrations, learn where political money is going, and more – and they need to be able to access all of this yesterday. This is one of the most concrete and immediate ways I plan to ensure greater transparency and accountability that the Secretary of State’s office has been lacking
- Establish lines of communication with all county offices in Kansas to learn more about what they need in regard to elections support (staffing, training, equipment, etc). Building stronger relationships Will be the cornerstone to how we ensure that every part of Kansas, no matter if it IS a rural county or a bigger city can have what people need to participate in our democracy. Building trust starts with relationships and listening.
- I Will lay out plans to create independent elections oversight commissions and work with staff to facilitate how these commissions can be created with farness and transparency in mind.
– What efforts would you support to promote fair election laws that provide for easy access for Kansas voters?
The incumbent has been derelict in his duties, including in his lack of follow through for election laws that were created to help local governments help Kansans be able to vote conveniently and safely. I plan to use this office to work more closely With counties and cities about what they need from our office to be set up for success, especially when It comes to more training, staffing, equipment, information, security, etc so that Kansans can vote anywhere in their county. I support independent oversight commissions to further our shared goals of election transparency and security. I also am in favor of Kansans being able to more efficiently check their voter registration status and update it online through the SOS website as one more way of reducing red tape while ensuring transparency and security.
– What is your position on expanding Medicaid? Why? Would you be supportive of putting Medicaid Expansion on the ballot?
My job as the Secretary of State IS to help facilitate that anything that Kansans seek to place on the ballot is done ethically, legally and transparently. My job would not be to legislate what goes on the ballot, only that whatever goes on the ballot is Constitutionally and legally sound.
– What is your position on gun control and the issue of gun violence? What, if any, changes would you propose to current laws?
Gun legislation and policy is not in the purview of the Secretary of State’s office. While I am in favor of safe, responsible gun ownership, my main priority in regard to guns would be to ensure that any establishment that sells firearms, ammunition; or anything else related to guns is able to get Its necessary business licenses in an easy, efficient way
– What role does the Legislature have in providing for public education and ensuring that Kansas students get a first-rate public education in a safe environment?
Policy issues directly impacting public education are in the jurisdiction of the legislature. That being said, I am absolutely in favor of facilitating more ways in which Kansans can access information about their government and elections, including through better transparency of where elections and lobbying money comes from and goes to
Additionally, I believe In the power of education for all as a way to empower individuals and uplift communities; it IS one of the reasons why I am endorsed by the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) of Kansas.
– Do you support the formation of a non-partisan committee to address redistricting in Kansas?
I am in favor of non-partisan committees related to anything regarding election oversight I want Kansans to be able to trust our elections and our institutions, from everything from how our districts are formed to how ballots are counted.
– How do you believe transparency in the legislative process can be improved? Should all proposed legislation have listed sponsors and open hearings with public advance notice to allow for voters input?
Since I am not running for a legislative office, I do not have as much input on this matter except to affirm my support for reasonable actions to facilitate greater government transparency and build trust in our democracy.
– What is your position on how Kansas Taxes should be structured?
As regulating taxes is not in the purview of the Secretary of State’s office, I will simply ensure that the Secretary of State’s office handles taxpayer money in a responsible and transparent manner, including how the office partners With local jurisdictions, and how the office collects fees for business licenses, etc.
– What are your views on a woman’s right to control decisions regarding their own reproductive healthcare?
I believe in the importance of trust, both when it comes to our elections and when it comes to trusting people to be able to make their own choices for their reproductive care, alongside their doctors. Unfortunately, my opponent does not seem to share this same interest in trust, as he frivolously wasted taxpayer money to contest and misplaced trust in the outcome of the August 2 vote that would continue to guarantee every Kansan’s rights to reproductive healthcare. While much of this legislation is not up to the Secretary of States office, that is also the point: just as I should not be the one to determine whether or when someone else wishes to become pregnant or continue a pregnancy, as Chief Elections Officer, my personal views should not influence the outcome of a vote My ultimate goal is to facilitate free and fair elections and uphold legitimate votes of the people: it just so happens that In the case of reproductive rights, my personal views align With that of the majority of Kansas voters.
– What are your views on recreational and/or medical cannabis?
If recreational and/or medical cannabis is legalized in Kansas, as Secretary of state, I will work to make sure that businesses that sell cannabis have what they need in terms of permitting and following regulatory statutes. Part of what I hope to accomplish is an overhaul of the website that makes It easier for those wishing to start a business in Kansas to do so. A big push for legalizing cannabis is to make It safer and easier to regulate, and the Secretary of State’s office must be part of ensuring that anything that a business provides for Kansans to consume follows state law
– Why should voters cast their ballot for you?
Whether dealing with business records, campaign finance, or election security, the need I see for transparency in the office of Secretary of State is central to why I am running. Election transparency and security are top priorities; and at the same time, these need not be clouded with partisan fear mongering or self-serving disinformation I am committed to supporting county election offices with 21st Century approaches to secure and transparent elections. We will spend money on personnel, a more up to date website and social media presence as part of the office’s commitment to public-facing communication, on recruiting and training both staff and elections observers. Unlike my opponent, I will not waste taxpayer money on frivolous lawsuits that throw illegitimacy on the election when the officeholder personally dislikes the outcome Ultimately, after so much mistrust and vitriol in politics, my goal is to create a culture starting at the executive offices where we can love our neighbor again
As my mother would always say to me and my siblings growing up, “If not now, then when? And if not you, then who?” Kansas, just like this country, is at a crossroads about how we protect and promote our cherished right to vote. After all, our vote is our voice, and I want as many Kansans as possible to participate in making their voices be heard