Democrat KC Ohaebosim has filed for a rematch against Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau in the 29th District, saying that he wants to “restore integrity” to the office.
Faust-Goudeau hasn’t officially filed to run for re-election yet and Ohaebosim didn’t criticize her by name in making his announcement, but he did make reference to the senator’s highly publicized efforts to talk her way out of traffic tickets while invoking her position with the state and connections to local officials.
“My immediate goal is to restore integrity, bring back integrity to the seat of the 29th District,” Ohaebosim said. “No one should think they’re exempt from the law or above the law. People need to take a a look at someone who will respect law-enforcement officers.”
Faust-Goudeau, who said she plans to file for re-election after the upcoming legislative wrap-up session next week, said she expected someone would try to make her traffic history an issue in the campaign.
Last year, police videos of traffic stops showed Faust-Goudeau telling officers that she was a state senator and showing a police department token that was given to her by Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams. In two of the three incidents, she was let off with a warning by Wichita officers, although a state trooper did write her a $140 ticket for speeding on the Kansas Turnpike, which she paid.
Faust-Goudeau has apologized for the ticket incidents and regretted it had become “another distraction from the real issues,” such as jobs and education facing the Legislature.
“As I said in my article of apology, nobody is perfect, we learn by our mistakes and try to do better,” she said.
Faust-Goudeau said she plans to after the legislative wrap-up session that starts in Topeka next week.
Faust-Goudeau beat Ohaebosim in 2008, getting seven out of 10 votes in the 2008 Democratic primary. She won the general election by a similar margin over Republican Kenya Cox.
Faust-Goudeau is finishing out her first term as a senator after winning the seat vacated in 2008 when then-Sen. Donald Betts, D-Wichita, challenged then-Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, for the 4th District congressional seat.
Since his unsuccessful run for Senate, Ohaebosim has increased his public profile, serving on the City Council’s 1st District Advisory Board and the Wichita school district’s Oversight Committee, which monitors progress of the district’s $370 million in bonded construction projects.
He’s also been active in tutoring and mentoring through the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
He said he was troubled that the Wichita district recently had to redraw attendance boundaries and close five schools because of decreases in operating funding from the state.
“The main reason for people to elect me is to work for funding for the schools,” Ohaebosim said. “Nobody likes the idea when schools are being closed.”
Faust-Goudeau said she’s already fighting in Topeka for more money for schools. “If you look at my votes, I’ve always voted for increasing funding for public education,” she said.
She said boundary realignment and school closures are more of a local than state issue, and if Ohaebosim wants to change that, “perhaps he should run for school board.”