The Butler County Democrats had a special guest at their meeting Saturday morning.
Jean Schodorf was introduced as the person "running against one of the biggest jerks." She is running for Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach.
She thanked them for inviting her to speak, saying El Dorado is a wonderful city and there is always something new when she comes to town.
She went on to talk about the benefits of Tour Butler and the time she attended a veterans event in El Dorado and got to stand in honor of her father, who was a Marine.
"I'm the daughter of a Marine," she said. "That explains why I am doing this."
"I am running now because our rights are being taken away. We don't know what else will be taken away if that Kris Kobach is elected for four more years."
She went on to say she has talked to people who are embarrassed by what is being done in Kansas. She said people have heard Kobach represents Arizona in a lawsuit and he is taking away Kansans' rights.
"I thought long and hard," she said. "I want to run for secretary of state and bring integrity back to the secretary of state."
She also said she will do the job full time.
"He is doing a terrible job and that is why we are in the mess we are in," Schodorf continued, pointing out Kobach should work for Kansas and Kansans, not Arizona.
Schodorf outlined her three-part plan.
The first part was to be a full-time secretary of state. She said there would be no moonlighting and she would work for Kansans.
"Mr. Kobach has continued making his living practicing law and being on boards," she said. "He is supposed to be secretary of state."
The second part of her plan was to make it a business-friendly secretary of state. She said she would be releasing a plan to do this.
"The office is in shambles because he's done such a terrible job and no transparency," she said.
She said Kobach has denied open records requests and won't see citizens.
The third part of her plan is to fix the voter registration mess.
"If you register to vote it is not on your back like women have to do to prove your name," she said. "People want to register to vote. We will make it easier."
She gave the example if a person is born in another state and registered there, then wants to register in Kansas, they have to private a birth certificate and a marriage certificate if their name is not the same as the birth certificate.
Page 2 of 2 - She said senior citizens face the same problem because their drivers' licenses may have expired and they have lost their documentation. She said seniors are being told they have to get an identification card instead of a drivers' license, but she said that was not true and they could keep their drivers license to use for identification.
"All that has to be shown to register to vote," she said. "It's a mess."
She said she wants to prevent freedoms from being taken away and with Kobach people are guilty until they prove themselves innocent.
"I want to bring back pride and integrity," she said.
Schodorf said if the legislature keeps the unjust voter law, she will work with vital statistics to be able to check citizenship instantly and hold motor vehicle departments' feet to the fire to collect birth certificate information, as well as work with the National Organization of Secretaries of State to come up with a way to check for citizenship in other states.
"That should have been done before any of this was implemented," she continued. "This is government at its worst."
She said she was supportive of Paul Davis, who is running for governor and said his race is close.
"I am happy we are closing the gap and working hard and we need your help," Schodorf told those attending.
"I love Kansas and I want to be a fair, impartial election officer and run campaigns. My goal is to increase [voter] registrations and increase voter turnout."
She said Democrats need to make sure they also get independents and moderate republicans out to vote.
"Kansas is at a crossroads," she said. "We can keep veering to that far right extreme or get back on track to help people lead the lives they want to lead."
Schodorf also has served on the Wichita board of education for 12 years and in the Senate for 12 years.
Julie Clements can be reached at email@example.com.