I have spent my adult life in service to my country and community. I have ten years service in the US Navy, nearly twenty years of service as a law enforcement officer, and I'm now in my eighth year as a public school teacher. I served as the State Representative for Kansas House District 22 for the 2011-12 session and I've been privileged to serve as your state senator since 2013. My plans did not include being an elected official but circumstances have a way of influencing your life. The event that dramatically changed my life was the kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder of my daughter, Kelsey. Nothing I can do will bring Kelsey back but what I can do is use that event as the impetus to make a difference in the lives of my other children, my grandchildren, and in the lives of members of my community, state, and even other states.
I feel my service in the Legislature is a calling. My life experiences have placed me in a unique position to answer that call. My law enforcement career allowed me to co-sponsor legislation that safeguards our youth and young adults (Penn State Law),provides invaluable protections for our children (Caylee's Law), and provides strict penalties to those that would harm our kids (Compliance with the Adam Walsh Act). I've championed issues that keep Kansans safer by keeping the "worst of the worst" in prison. I guided the "Justice Reinvestment Intiative" through the Senate - a law that provides for more efficient use of our criminal justice resources while reducing recidivism among offenders. My law enforcement experience has led to my appointment as the Chair of the Senate Corrections & Juvenile Justice Committee as well as numerous advisory boards, workgroups, and commissions. Since being elected to the Senate I have been able to pass legislation to help law enforcement use resources to locate the missing (SB 118), remove the statue of limitations for the crimes of rape and sodomy, and provide additional funding for services for children who have been abused. Additionally, I strengthened state laws that put the "worst of the worst" away for a minimum of 50 years.
My experience in the classroom has allowed me to work to change our education system. I voted to repeal our broken school finance formula that penalizes our kids while benefiting special interests. I have consistently supported legislation that would allow our school district boards to have a greater say in how education dollars are used, emphasizing "local control," and preventing your tax dollars from being used for frivolous expenditures. Additionally, I have worked to implement legislation that allows teachers to teach instead of being bound by layers of policy and regulation.
My military service gives me a perspective that freedom isn't free but is paid for with a great cost. The skills of teamwork, duty and integrity are with me today as I work to serve the people who trust me as their elected spokesperson in Topeka. It's a duty I take seriously.
Lastly, I am ever mindful that the money the Legislature uses to pay for government does not belong to the Legislature. Since Kansas government has no resources of its own and the Kansas Legislature has no way to create funds for the programs it enacts, we must recognize that government spending is no less than the confiscation of one person’s property to give it to another to whom it does not belong -- in effect, legalized theft. The money belongs to you and should be used only for the core functions of government. You know best what to do with your money and I promise to leave as much of your income with you as possible while still providing the government services Kansans need.
I am so appreciative of your support and humbled to be your senator. Much remains to be done. The 2016 Senate Campaign has started early. I have a progressive challenger who believes in big government, big taxes, and big brother. I'm asking for your continued support as I work to bring hope, opportunity, and upward mobility for all Kansans.