Voters looking for true differences between candidates will find none clearer than in the race for the House 24th District. Jarrod Ousley, a Democrat, and Republican Brandon Hermreck are polar opposites on just about every issue.
The 24th District seat is open in the Nov. 4 general election because incumbent Emily Perry, the Democrat who held the spot, planned to move out of the district and did not seek re-election. The district covers parts of Overland Park, Merriam and Mission.
Neither Hermreck nor Ousley has been elected to public office before.
Hermreck describes himself as a moderate Republican who would support Gov. Sam Brownback on most fiscal issues but may differ with him on social causes.
Hermreck broadly agreed with Brownback’s tax cuts but said they didn’t go far enough. The cuts that are already in effect for limited liability companies should be extended to corporations and other types of business to be fair, he said.
Ousley called for freezing Brownback’s tax cuts.
“Sam Brownback’s economic experiment has failed Kansas,” he said. “It has resulted in three credit downgrades, a tax policy that burdens middle-class families and sluggish job growth compared to our neighboring states.”
“We can’t continue to push the tax burden off on middle-class families in the form of higher property and sales taxes, which has been the result of the Brownback experiment,” Ousley said.
The two also disagree on the health care. Hermreck said he agrees with the health care compact bill recently approved by state lawmakers and signed by Brownback. The compact with eight other states would, pending congressional approval, allow the state to administer such programs as Medicaid and Medicare and would let them repeal the individual and employer mandate and the essential benefit mandate.
Hermreck said he supports it because it blocks the federal health care law known as Obamacare at the state level, “which I’m OK with.”
Ousley said he opposes the measure because he said it “threatens to dismantle Medicare in Kansas.” He would support expansion of Medicaid under the federal health care act.
Education was listed as a top priority for both candidates.
Ousley mentioned that his wife, Heather, was known for twice walking to Topeka to raise awareness about school funding cuts. He said he would like to restore funding cuts to education, which he said have resulted in larger classes and fewer resources for schools.
Hermreck said that he believes in “the freedom and right to educate our children the way Kansans see fit and not how bureaucrats in Washington see fit.”
REPUBLICAN BRANDON HERMRECK
Education: Bachelor’s in economics from University of Kansas, 2009; attended Wichita State University.
Occupation: Support analyst, Cerner Corp.
Elected experience: None
DEMOCRAT JARROD OUSLEY
Education: Graduate, Shawnee Mission East High School
Occupation: Small business owner, Paint Contracting Company
Elected experience: None
Website: JarrodOusley.com; Facebook, JarrodOusleyforthe24th