A former Libertarian is competing for a seat as a Republican in the state House of Representatives’ 49th District.
Incumbent Scott Schwab is running against John Wilson for representation of District 49, which includes part of Olathe and Overland Park.
The winner of the Aug. 5 Republican primary will face Democrat Darnell Hunt of Olathe on Nov. 4.
Schwab and Wilson agree that charter schools are a viable option for families not satisfied with the public school system in their area, but they disagree on energy standards and the current income tax reductions.
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Wilson ran in the 49th District as a Libertarian in 2012 but has returned to the Republican Party. He is originally from Southern California and now lives in Olathe. He supports low taxes, light regulations and minimal government. He’s running again this year because he thinks the state can make more progress and is dissatisfied with the current representation.
He supports the 2012 income tax cuts, which are scheduled to cut the state’s tax rates to a range of 3 to 3.9 percent by 2018. He said he would like the state to make cuts as soon as possible, instead of scheduling tax cuts over a series of years. This is the best way to make economic progress, he said.
Wilson said that, like most other government regulations, he does not support mandating electric companies derive power from renewable sources. He said the market should determine which source works best for the company. The state should also avoid situations in which tax money is going to energy companies in the form of incentives to produce renewable energy because, he said, most constituents do not want the state to give money to corporations.
“If people want more wind energy, companies will produce it,” he said.
On Medicaid, Wilson said he supports expansion only if funding is equal to the amount cut from other spending.
The state needs to study how funding for schools is being spent, Wilson said. The amount allocated for materials, teacher aides and other classroom expenses should increase. He said although Kansas’ schools are on par with other states, that’s not good enough.
“Our schools are good, but why can’t they be excellent?” he said.
Schwab grew up in Great Bend and lives in Olathe with his wife and three sons. He served in the Kansas House from 2003-2006 and has been the 49th District’s representative since 2009.
He said he supports the current trajectory for income tax cuts because they make Kansas more welcoming to businesses. If a company has to choose between Houston and Topeka, he said, Kansas is a better option because of the cuts.
“By cutting the taxes for workers and their employers, we place ourselves in a better position to grow our economy,” he said.
Schwab said he voted for the current energy standards to advance the Sunflower Electric Power Corporation’s coal plant in Holcomb, Kan. As long as that project is moving forward, he said, he wouldn’t vote to repeal the state’s renewable portfolio standard.
Schwab said he thinks that when it comes to school funding, the state should enforce a policy that 60 percent of funds be spent inside the classroom. Often, he said, funds that could otherwise be used in academics are spent on athletic equipment.
“While I appreciate scholastic athletics, much of the expenses should not come from the state,” he said.
He said he would not support expanding Medicaid because neither the state nor the federal government has the money to fund a larger program. Instead, he suggested the state focus on expanding the economy and adding jobs, so those who need health insurance can find coverage in the marketplace.
Education: Bachelor’s in communication, Fort Hays State University, 1994
Occupation: Health care sales
Elected experience: House, 2003-2006, 2009-Present
Education: Bachelor’s in business management, Woodbury University, 1968; Master of Business Administration, Woodbury University, 1980
Occupation: Contract CFO
Elected experience: Rancho Bernardo Community Council, 1988