NOW with videos of opening remarks

Candidates for state office addressed the ill-fated coal plant issue from the 2008 session of the Kansas Legislature during Tuesday night’s forum at Augusta City Hall.
Incumbent State Representative David Crum said he was for the coal plant bill and its provision for a study of clean coal technology.
His challenger in the 77th District for the upcoming Republican Primary Election, Gary Harmon, said he could endorse a coal plant in southwestern Kansas and push for wind generation industries to relocate in Kansas.
State Senate District 16  Republican candidate Will Carpenter said he too would support coal fired plant legislation. He noted that older generators now in use are polluting Kansas air more than new state-of-the-art plants would.
Ty Masterson, a second Republican candidate for the District 16 seat left open by retiring State Senator Peggy Palmer, was supportive of coal plants, but also wants to see more study of other energy forms. “The finish line is nationwide energy independence,” he said.
Peter DeVries, the Democrat candidate for the District 16 Senate seat told the forum audience that “coal is part of the equation for the future” but would not have voted for the 2008 legislative bill as it was written.
Neither did Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius who disapproved all coal plant bills sent to her office.
Also participating in the forum where incumbent Butler County Sheriff Craig Murphy. His Republican challenger in next Tuesday’s Primary, Kurt Spivey, was out of state and unable to attend. Scott Starkey spoke on Spivey’s behalf in opening statements.
Donald Betts, a Democrat opponent for incumbent Fourth District Congressman Todd Tiahrt was also in attendance and fielded a number of national issue questions. Tiahrt was unable to attend.
The sheriff and the spokesman for Spivey were given a million dollar question.
What would you do as sheriff if you received a $1 million grant from the government?
Sheriff Murphy said he would upgrade the camera system in department patrol vehicles for the safety of officers as well as the citizens they serve. He added that his office has made application for such monies and hopes the county could come up with match monies should the grant be approved.
Starkey, a former police officer who worked with Spivey, said his candidate would welcome such a grant and probably go after more if elected.
Tuesday’s vote will elect one of the two Republican candidates as there are no Democrats seeking the sheriff position in the November General Election. That scenario also holds for the 77th District state representative contest between Crum and Harmon.
On the Senate side, the Republican winner will face DeVries in the General.