Daily Archives: Dec. 31, 2009

Republican candidates for 4th Congressional District to appear at debate

WICHITA — The five Republican candidates in the race for the Kansas 4th Congressional District seat will take questions at a public debate to be held Jan. 15 in the Bank of America auditorium at 100 N. Broadway. The event is from 7-8:30 p.m.

Questions for the forum should be submitted to questions@gacpac.com. Susan Peters, a news anchor for KAKE, will moderate the forum.

The candidates are state senators Dick Kelsey and Jean Schodorf and businessmen Jim Anderson, Wink Hartman and Mike Pompeo. They are seeking the spot left by Todd Tiahrt, who is running for the U.S. Senate.This is the third in series of forums bringing the Republican candidates together. It is sponsored by the Great American Forum, the Sedgwick County Republican Party and the Wichita State College Republicans.

–Rick Plumlee

Abortion still on agenda at Kansas Statehouse

Don’t expect Kansas law-makers to skip their annual abortion debate this year just because of the slaying of abortion provider George Tiller.

It’s likely that many law-makers who supported tougher restrictions on late-term abortions will try again this year. After all, they say, new rules could prevent another abortion provider from opening a new late-term abortion clinic in Kansas, or at least put new rules in place first.

And two weeks before the 2010 session begins, Sen. Tim Huelskamp is saying he’ll try again to prohibit any tax dollars from going to Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

Huelskamp, a Fowler Republican, pushed to de-fund Planned Parenthood last year. The measure passed the Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat.

The money going to Planned Parenthood is actually a federal grant that goes to a variety of health clinics and organizations. By law the money can’t be spent on abortion-related services. Instead it pays for birth control, testing for sexually transmit-ted diseases and other serv-ices for low-income women.

Last year, Planned Parent-hood’s portion amounted to $300,000.

Huelskamp said organizations that perform abortions should never receive any tax-payer subsidies, no matter what the money actually pays for.

“This is the right thing to do,” Huelskamp said in an email. Funding Planned Parenthood “flies in the face of basic Kansas values… We need to get serious and let them know that they are no longer welcome at the public trough.”

Tiller, whose clinic specialized in late-term abortion, was for years a lightning rod in the state’s abortion debate. Lawmakers proposed laws designed to restrict his practice while he poured his own money into political races to support candidates that support abortion rights. He was shot and killed last spring in Wichita.

Kelly ends challenge to Republican Rep. Jenkins

State Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, is ending her race for Congress in the 2nd District in eastern Kansas.

Kelly had sought to challenge one-term Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins.

Kelly said in a statement that she was honoring her commitment to her state Senate constituents at a time when the state faces challenging budget problems. She is the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

“This has been a very hard decision, but it is the right one,” she said in the statement.

Jenkins was elected in 2008, ousting Democratic incumbent Nancy Boyda.