Reflector-Chronicle staff

There will be two candidates on the official August 4 Republican primary ballot for the Kansas House of Representatives in the 70th District.

Incumbent John Barker is seeking reelection and is being challenged by Daniel Wasylk.

The Abilene Reflector-Chronicle asked each candidate to respond to questions via email..

Candidates were asked to introduce themselves in 50 words or less and each answer was limited to 100 words.

Tuesday is the last date to register to vote in a primary election. Advanced voting starts on Wednesday. July 28 is the deadline for voters to apply for advance ballots by mail for the primary elections.

The primary Election Day is Aug. 4.

John Barker

Age: 69

City: Abilene 

Tell us about yourself.

For 25 years I served as a District Court judge for the 8th Judicial District covering Dickinson, Geary, Marion and Morris counties. My wife April and I have been married for 38 years and are proud to have raised two children here in Dickinson County.

 

Your view on Medicaid

expansion:

The lockdowns have put our state in an economic crisis. We cannot afford Medicaid expansion. State after state that has expanded Medicaid has seen costs significantly exceed estimates. Medicaid expansion is a program where Kansas taxpayers must cover health care costs for able bodied adults who choose not to work. I cannot ask Kansans to pay higher taxes in order to provide this welfare benefit that does not even require recipients to look for work. Instead I will continue working with my legislative colleagues to increase access to low cost health care, especially in rural areas.

 

Your view on medical 

marijuana:  

As chairman of the Federal and State Affairs committee, I have facilitated many discussions on this topic. Any expansion of medical marijuana must be done carefully in order to prevent abuse of the system. As a retired district court judge, I’ve seen firsthand the results of drug abuse. That is why I am working to ensure that any medical marijuana program in Kansas actually be medical, not just a back door to legalized recreational use. One way to do this is to prohibit the smoking of medical marijuana, instead limiting usage to other forms that are not as likely to be abused.

 

Your view on mail-in 

election ballots:

Mail-in ballot elections are ripe for fraud. There are numerous instances around the country of voters receiving multiple mail-in ballots. Moving to elections that are entirely conducted via mail-in ballot would further bring in to question the legitimacy of our elections. For many years Kansas has had an advanced ballot option for those who desire to vote early by mail. That option remains in place for those with concerns about voting in person. Our efforts should be focused on ensuring the security of all ballots cast, not moving to a less legitimate election process.

 

Your view on legal sports wagering:

As Federal and State Affairs chairman, I have spent over two years negotiating a framework for legal sports wagering in our state. Had COVID-19 not shorted the legislative session, a bill would have been passed into law this year. I know there are differing opinions on sports wagering but it’s my belief that our state is better off with a well thought out legal framework in place as opposed to the Wild West of unregulated online sports betting currently taking place.

 

Conclusion:

Kansas is hurting. COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown decimated our economy and led to record unemployment. That is why I worked to get our state reopened quickly and safely. Going forward the legislature will need to focus on the recovery of our economy and job creation. This year I supported efforts to lower property taxes and establish the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan, both of which will help our economy. The 70th district is my priority and I will continue to advocate for polices that help our families, our towns, our businesses and help our schools prosper.

Daniel Wasylk

Age: 49

City: Chapman

 Tell us about yourself.

My name is Daniel Wasylk and I’m the Republican candidate challenging John Barker running for the Kansas State House of Representatives District 70. I have been married to my wife for 20 years and we have 3 children. I have lived in Dickinson County and surrounding communities for most of my life. 

 

Your view on Medicaid 

expansion:

Medicaid Expansion seems to be yet another game of politicians playing partisan politics in the State House. We are one of the few remaining states that have not passed this legislation due to inaction by our representatives. Regardless of what our party says, we all know that we need to make serious changes to our health care system, and this would be a step in the right direction for our state. Damaging our private insurance companies should not be a concern to us. People matter more than business, and that is the bottom line. 

 

Your view on medical 

marijuana:

Medical Marijuana should have been passed years ago. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, we cannot allow ourselves to be left behind by the other states. The revenue from passing this legislation would benefit our state and its increasing debt tremendously. The benefits far outweigh the consequences. It’s time to put Kansas first. If you’re still not convinced, I ask you this; If the health officials and doctors believe that their patients could benefit in any way with marijuana, who are we to stand in their way? We are not the experts here, so let’s listen to them.  

 

Your view on mail-in 

election ballots:

Mail-in election ballots are a slippery slope. There simply needs to be an accessible and easy way for everyone to exercise their right to vote. With that being said, mail-in ballots do not accomplish this. Rest assured that I will work on a solution that treats everyone equally, and yet maintains the integrity of a fair election. I want to make sure that all of my constituents have a voice that can be heard. 

 

Your view on legal sports wagering:

Here we are again in Kansas where our outdated legislature refuses to see the benefits of a bill. Sports betting is one of the biggest industries in the world! I will make sure that we get a bill passed that is fair to all sides. The data speaks for itself. We are missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars that can and will improve many aspects of our lives. It’s important that we get ahead of the curve and bring in as much revenue to the state as possible. I will get it done. 

 

Conclusion:

I am not a politician. I’m just a regular person like all others in this community. I promise to bring transparency and answers to all constituents in this district. We need change at the state level to move forward. Voting for the same politicians year after year has brought nothing but problems to this area. It’s time to implement term limits. I don’t claim to have all of the right answers but I am a problem solver that will reach across party lines. Let’s move this beautiful country forward one district at a time!

 

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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