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Kansas State House District 53

The Kansas House of Representatives is the lower house of the legislature of the U.S. state of Kansas. Composed of 125 state representatives from districts with roughly equal populations of at least 19,000, its members are responsible for crafting and voting on legislation, helping to create a state budget, and legislative oversight over state agencies.

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  • Candidate picture

    Jeff Coen
    (Rep)

  • Jim Gartner
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

With all of the issues facing Kansas brought about by the COVID-19 virus, what would be your first priority?

Would you support overturning the SAFE Act that was put into place creating barriers to voting by Kansans? What changes to Kansas election laws and voting systems would you support? Please explain why you would support those changes.

What is your position on expanding Medicaid? Why? What would you propose to ensure health care availability in rural areas?

What is your position on gun control and the issue of gun violence? What, if any, changes would you propose to current laws?

How can changes be made to current House and Senate rules that allow for Chamber Leaders to control Committee leadership?

Will you support changing the House and Senate rules to allow a transparent system for determining which proposed bills are heard, debated and voted on? If not, why not?

Issues with DCF and foster care, plus antiquated computer systems in the Departments of Labor and Education have made news. Do you feel that our current agencies are funded at a level that they can carry out their missions? If yes, what is the problem? If no, how can it be addressed?

How can Legislators address the issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Kansas?

In the current politically-polarized environment, how can Senators and Representatives work together to govern Kansas?

New legislative districts are drawn by the Legislature during the second year following the Census (2012, 2022, etc.) Would you vote in favor of an amendment that would create an impartial committee to draw the new legislative districts in Kansas?

Personal Biography Jeff Coen is a retired Topeka City Councilman, former Deputy Mayor of Topeka and small business owner. He is a long-time resident of Topeka and a graduate of Topeka West High School 1989. He attended both The University of Kansas and Washburn University in the early 90’s and graduated from Kaw Area Technical School (recently renamed to Washburn Tech) in 1994 to became a computer networking technician. Jeff is married to Becky and they have 2 girls. Jeff and his family attend Grace Point Church.
Campaign Phone (785) 230-9362
Campaign Email jeff@jeffcoen.com
Campaign Web Site http://www.jeffcoen.com
Education Topeka West High School Graduate (1989), attended the University of Kansas and Washburn University. Graduated from Kaw Area Technical School in Computer Repair and Networking.
Community/Public Service Ronald McDonald House Charities of NE Kansas Advisory Board, Topeka High Web and Digital Advisory Board, Shawnee Heights Digital Advisory Board, The Arthritis Foundation of Kansas City, Member Sons of the American Legion, Shawnee County Medical Society HealthAccess Management Oversight Committee, Topeka City Council, District 8 2015-2020, Deputy Mayor of Topeka 2017, JEDO Voting Board Member Spring 2015-2016, GoTopeka Board of Directors 2015, Metro Topeka Planning Organization 2016-2017, Kansas Expocentre Advisory Board 2016-2020, Local Emergency Management Planning Committee 2016-2020, Transient Guest Tax Committee 2015, 2017, Public Health and Safety Committee 2016, Policy and Finance Committee 2019-2020, Social Service Grants Committee 2019-2020
Address 2146 SW Burnett Rd Topeka, KS 66614
I believe that both sides have politicized COVID-19. My first priority is to safely reopen the Kansas Economy, balanced by listening to our local health professionals and making decisions that are in the best interest of my constituents. Sadly, the COVID facts and arguments seem to change every day, and it's hard to stay on top of what we should be doing to slow the spread.

Federal and State officials initially said one thing about the virus, then said something 180 degrees different. For example, we were told that this virus is so deadly that our country will have super high death numbers (that never happened). They also said "Don't wear a mask", then said "Wear a mask only if you're sick", and now they require everyone to wear masks in all public places.

As I go door-to-door, my constituents are telling me that they have lost confidence in what our Government is telling them about this virus and are not happy with moving of the goalposts.
We have to show proof of ID during our day-to-day lives, when we use commercial travel, drive a car and do banking. It's not asking too much that someone show an ID when they vote. I recently lost a race by 14 votes. Come to find out, voter fraud was discovered in that race. Yes, I think every vote should be counted, and that all voters be registered and show photo ID at the polls.

If voters are uncomfortable voting at the polling place this season because of COVID-19, there are alternatives. Fill out the advanced ballot request form and mail it in to the election office. They will send you a ballot and you can vote by mail. I think an all mail-in election is ripe for fraud. Maybe we should put this question on the ballot so the voters can choose.
I try to ask this question to every voter while going door-to-door. What I'm hearing is that this is another over politicized hot-button issue that confuses voters. They are confused as to what this means. Does it mean Obamacare 2.0? or Healthcare for all?

The voters I talk to state they are paying so much more for their own health insurance now (after Obamacare), and don't like Medicaid Expansion as it's being described in the news as free health coverage for all able-bodied Kansans.
I certainly support the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms. I support the current process of doing background checks at gun retailers and gun shows. I also support the individual sale or gifting of firearms to law abiding citizens and/or family. As a former Topeka City Councilman, I saw firsthand that many of these problems are related to mental health issues, and we need to put a plan together to address that too. What I don't support is setting up a system where neighbors are encouraged to report on other neighbors they dislike. We definitely shouldn't be doing that.
The way I understand it, each chamber has it's own rules. Maybe we need to look at changing the "Joint Rules" that both houses have to follow. Elections have consequences, and I don't have a problem with the ruling party setting up Committee leadership.
If you have followed any of my tenure at the Topeka City Council, you will discover that I have always been for transparency. I exposed the way JEDO functioned because they were handing out taxpayer money to 'their buddies' instead of granting funds to those companies who were the most qualified. I also exposed corruption in how taxpayer money was spent on the Social and Service Grants Committee. Transparency makes a fair playing field for everyone. To go a step further, I would like to see all Kansas Legislative committees broadcast/streamed online so voters can transparently see their democracy in action. We did that in the City, we can do this at the Statehouse, too.
Being an IT guy, I would like to examine this 'old technology' to see if these 'old computers' problems are true. The reason I'm saying this is because after Y2K, I worked for the Kansas Dept of Health and Environment in their IT department for a number of years. I saw many of our computer systems upgraded from old and antiquated hardware to new Windows Server hardware. I would imagine that the Dept of Labor and Education had similar funding. I also saw first-hand a lot of waste with regards to department overspending and not doing anything about under-performing employees. I don't like the blame game on the computer system when a department failed at it's basic duties of providing customer service to Kansans.
These terms mean different things to different people. I don't even want to think that I know what other's life experiences are without walking a mile in their shoes. But I think that our leaders need to identify and address any current barriers that may have prevented any Kansans from experiencing Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I think only after those barriers are identified, we can draft policies that address those issues.

I also think that there should be more local control over these areas. Community leaders know whats best for their community.
When I was on the Topeka City Council, I learned how Government works. My record shows that I was very successful in working across the aisle to get things done for all Topekan's. I wish the environment wasn't so politically charged right now, but sadly it's the current world we live in. Maybe we should turn our focus on writing legislation that will help ALL Kansans excel.
By whose standards is someone impartial? Voters I'm talking with going door-to-door tell me that they know that elections have consequences, and know that the 'other party' can redraw districts to favor their voting pool. I don't think I can give a yes or no answer without knowing who decides what is impartial.
Personal Biography Worked for Southwestern Bell and AT&T until 2001, then became a lobbyist for AT&T until 2014 at the State Capitol. Served on the Auburn Washburn school board for 91/2 years serving as president twice. Decided to run for the legislature in 2016 replacing Annie Tietz. I have enjoyed serving my constituents in the 53rd District.
Campaign Phone (785) 231-7736
Campaign Web Site http://Gartner for Kansas.com
Education BBA-Washburn University
Community/Public Service Have been involved in numerous boards, Volunteer Center, United Way, Topeka Performing Arts Center
Address 928 SW Woodbridge Ct, Topeks, Kansas, 66606
We need to get the virus under control, some people are trying to make this a political issue, I do not see it that way. We need to listen to the health experts an d follow their advice. If we need to wear masks to keep us safe and our family members and loved ones safe that's what we should be doing until a vaccine is available.
I believe all mail voting is the way we need to go. Five States already have mail voting and the state of Kansas needs to address this issue. We need to give people the access to vote because it is their constitutional right and we should encourage voting not suppressing it. If people are worried about fraud I just read over the last twenty years with over 250 million votes cast there as only 147 criminal cases of fraud or .00006%. This should not be a worry and Kansas needs to move ahead with all mail voting.
I have supported expanding Medicaid since I have been in the legislature and have voted for it three times. Hopefully we can get this done next legislative session.
I am supportive of common sense gun controls, background checks on all gun sales and I was a sponsor of Red flag law introduced this last legislative session. This is a difficult issue here in Kansas since a majority of the House is republican and are supported by the NRA.
As long as the House is under control of the Republicans I am sorry to say the minority does not have the power or the votes to change rules or the committee makeup. What we need are more Democrats in the Senate and House and then we can make a difference.I agree
I agree with this premise, but again until we have more Democrats in both Houses we cannot achieve this transparency.
No, DCF had been decimated over the last few years and now under Governor Kelly's direction the State is finally paying attention to this very important service. Hopefully we can continue to evaluate our foster care system and make it one of the best in the nation. This will be difficult under the present budget constraints that we are experiencing with the impact of COVID 19. I all so support updating the Department of Labors computer system, this is another area that was neglected under the previous administration, and it was devastating that we found this out during the unemployment crisis with the COVID virus. We need to update this antiquated system as soon as possible so we can deliver the best possible service to our Kansas citizens,
The first thing would be to elect a more diverse legislature , more woman , more people of color and that everyone is working for the same common goal to make Kansas better.
Not sure this will change in the very near future. As long s the Republicans have the majority I do not see this changing. As I mentioned before we need to elect more Democrats, once this is accomplished both parties will have to work together and compromise to get anything accomplished.
Yes I would be in favor of an amendment that would create an independent group to decide on drawing the lines for redistricting. I am tired of the gerrymandering that's been occurring for years it's time for a change.