Joco Opinion

Editorial: 2012 election still haunts Johnson County

Voters sent Charles Macheers of Shawnee to the Kansas Legislature barely a year ago.

But the damage the freshman House member has done to the state’s reputation could last many years.

Macheers, a Republican, gained his share of the national limelight earlier this month when he led the charge for a bill that would have allowed discrimination against same-sex couples. House members, ginned up by the pledge from supporters that the measure was all about “religious freedom,” passed it.

Fortunately, Senate leaders said they would not approve the bill, and it’s apparently dead.

So how did Macheers even get in position to promote such a bad idea?

He can thank Gov. Sam Brownback, to a degree. In the 2012 campaigns, the governor was searching for extremely conservative soulmates to help him get rid of the more moderate Republican members in Topeka.

Macheers, running to replace Republican Owen Donohoe in the 39th District, didn’t hide his disdain for the federal government or President Barack Obama. A Star story noted Macheers claimed he would “stand up for Kansas rights against the encroachment of federal policies like Obamacare.”

In the primary, Macheers defeated Stephanie Meyer, director of external affairs for the Kansas Bioscience Authority and a Shawnee planning commissioner. He then beat Democrat Marlys Shulda in the general election.

Later this year, voters in the 39th House District need the opportunity to elect a more thoughtful representative as a member of the Johnson County delegation in Topeka.