Paul Davis, Democrat candidate for governor, makes visit
Paul Davis, Democrat candidate for governor, made a stop in El Dorado Tuesday evening to talk with supporters.
He was hosted by Jim and Sally Hargrove, as well as John Grange.
“John and I served in the legislature together and we always got along real well,” Davis said. “John is what we need more of there to do the right thing.”
Davis was elected to the legislature 12 years ago.
“One of the first things I did was go across the aisle and meet the Republicans,” he said.
He said he wanted to find people with similar interests and who would work with him.
“We worked together,” he said.
He said they were worried about the state of public schools.
“We formed a coalition of Democrats and Republicans,” Davis said, “and that first term we entered our own budget.”
He said it did not go anywhere because they were the “new kids on the block.”
But that set the stage for coalition that governed for eight years.
During that time they made investments in schools and colleges.
He said as a legislative leader he had the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C., to lobby for those projects on a number of occasions.
“We made investments in the schools of engineering at Wichita State University, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas because we were listening to industries,” he said.
He said they also made strides toward stabilizing the state employee retirement system.
“We did those things working as Republicans and Democrats,” Davis continued.
“That all changed in 2010 with the election of [Sam] Brownback.”
He said when Brownback was elected he called Davis and said he wanted to work together. A few days later Davis was called to a meeting of bipartisan legislators. He said shortly after a photographer came into the room.
“I found out later that was bipartisanship for Sam Brownback,” Davis said.
Davis went on to say Brownback’s first year in office in his state of the state address he said public schools are to Kansas what national defense is to the federal government.
He said then Brownback went on to propose a budget with the largest cuts to education they had ever seen.
“The next year the governor came in and proposed to completely overhaul the tax code,” Davis said. “It proposed raising taxes of those making $25,000 or less by 5,000 percent. I happen to think that’s morally wrong.”
He said now the state is $310 million below the estimates in revenue the governor had promised.
“The state is looking at over the next five years a budget shortfall well over $1 billion,” Davis said.
He went on to talk about Brownback’s third year in office when he said he would not cut higher education funding then signed $66 million in cuts to higher education.
“All of this just shows you our state is not going in the right direction,” Davis said.
He said Brownback’s politics are not right and that he brought D.C.-style politics to Kansas.
He said Brownback created an environment where Republicans and Democrats can’t talk.
“We now have an opportunity to change Topeka,” he said.
“I want to renew our commitment to public education.”
He said a contributor to quality of life are great schools.
“We have to return to using proven methods to grow our economy,” he continued.
He was concerned a lot of kids growing up here don’t see opportunities to further their eduction or find a career.
He said if they change that the state will prosper not just for the next five to 10 years but for decades.
He said this was a campaign they can win and he has seen grassroots movement.
“I know we have all of you,” he said. “Thousands upon thousands of Kansans are going to be messengers in their communities.”
One person attending asked how they would turn the legislature around.
Davis said when they were successful in this election there would be sea shift in Kansas.
He also was asked how the state can operate in a deficit.
Davis said the state started with higher balances in 2010 and that is dwindling down.
“We can’t deficit spend,” he said. “Looking into the future what that means is we have to cut government.”
He said the idea to eliminate income tax was not feasible because they would have to raise property or sales tax.
He also was asked about his feelings on Medicaid expansion.
Davis said what he had been hearing is this is an important issue and he agrees the state needs to do something.
“Please become active and campaign if you can,” he concluded.