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Kansas State House District 95

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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  • Christopher Parisho
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Tom Sawyer
    (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?

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Personal Biography Tom Sawyer serves as the House Minority Leader & on the State Finance Council & on the Legislative Coordinating Council.  During his current legislative term (since 2013) he has served on the following legislative committees: House Tax Committee (Ranking Member), House Elections & Ethics Committee (Ranking Member) House Rules and Journal Committee, Vice-chair; The Kansas Sentencing Commission; the Governor's Task Force on Tax Reform. He has previously served as the House Majority Leader 91-92
Campaign Phone (316) 265-7096
Campaign Web Site http://tomsawyerforkansas.com
Education Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, cum laude, 1984, Wichita State University
Community/Public Service Member of the Committee that chose a New President for Wichita State University 2012 ◦ Member of the Visioneering Wichita Committee Task Force 2004 ◦ Former member of the United Methodist Urban Ministries Board of Directors ◦ Former member of the American Diabetes Association Legislative Committee (1992-1993) ◦ Citizen Participation Organization Council Member (1979-1987), C.P.O. Coordinating Board President, 1982 ◦ City of Wichita Human Resources Board , 2nd Vice chair 1980-81 ◦ Former Sedgwick County Official: ◦ Sedgwick County Clerk 1984-1985 ◦ Chief Deputy County Clerk 1979-1984 ◦ Named an Outstanding Young American 1982 ◦ Member of West Side United Methodist Church ◦ Church Council Chair 2002 ◦ Youth Group Sponsor 1999-2005 ◦ Elected in 1999 and re-elected in 2001 to serve as State Chairman of his party
Address 1041 S Elizabeth St Wichita, KS 67213
To balance the budget while protecting our children's education, vital programs for the needy, disabled and seniors. The state needs to budget like a family. A family takes care of its children & seniors while living within its means. Kansas has the second highest tax on food in the country, if we slowly cut the food sales tax over time, like we did in the 90s when we phased in a 50% car tax cut over 5 years, we can do it without having to raise other taxes. In most years there is natural growth in state revenue as the economy grows that can be used to cut the food sales tax slowly over time if we budget wisely. As we dig out from the COVID crisis we also need to work on dealing with the blow it dealt to the economy, I have a 9 point plan to help create more jobs in Kansas. It will be important to pass these or similar measures.

Yes I favor overturning the so-called SAFE Act. I think we need to make it easier to vote.
I support it. It will cover 150,000 Kansas who don't currently have health insurance, it will stabilize the revenues of all of our hospitals, and it provide a boost to our economy with an influx of nearly $1 Billion annually from the federal government.
We need to continue to monitor our gun laws. I support protecting our citizens 2nd amendment rights, but I am willing to support gun safety measures that reduce violence.

Limits need to be placed on the ability of committee chairs to control the agenda. Members need to be given a way to force an issue to be debated and voted on. Rules need to be changed that limit "gut and gos" and the ability to put several unrelated items together in one conference committee report. Rules should be changed to make it easier to for members to debate bills such as Medicaid Expansion, Medical Cannibas, and restoring Teacher due process rights. Rules need to be changed to require all meetings be broadcast live on the internet. This transparency alone would help bring about the needed changes. If the public saw how undemocratic the current process really is, there would be much more demand for change.
Yes. Currently the Leadership has too much power to control the agenda. Issues such as Medicaid Expansion, Medical Marijuana and restoring teachers due process rights never get a chance for full debate and recorded votes. Major issues should be fully debated each session. We also need to have all committee meetings, conference committee meetings and floor debate broadcast live on the internet. This transparency alone would help bring about the needed changes. If the public saw how undemocratic the current process really is, there would be much more demand for change.
No our current agencies suffered major funding deficiencies during the previous administration due to the failed tax experiment. It will take years to restore our state from this failed experiment. It will take time, but we are on the right track to fix these problems. We are making good progress but there is still al lot of work to do. Forty year computer systems definitely need to be replaced as part of this restoration.
One way is to update our anti-discrimination laws in Kansas. Second we need to remove all old laws on the books that are discriminatory. Third we need to pass criminal justice reform including enhanced re-entry programs that provide the tools that ex-offenders need to successfully re-enter the workforce. We need to save our prison space for violent and career criminals and remove the check forgers and those with drug abuse problems. They need treatment not prison. Our prisons are full of people of color who should not be there. Fourth we need to show leadership by making sure we are inclusive and show diversity and equity in all of our appointments.
On nearly any issue common ground can be found. I have spent my legislative career working with legislators from both parties to find solutions to the problems facing Kansans. Legislators just need to put the state first and leave the politics behind. I feel that once the elections are over it is time to get to work and find solutions. We have done this many times in past. One very good example is in 2017, when more than 2/3 of the House and Senate came together to undue much of the failed Brownback Tax Experiment. We had to override the Governor's veto to get it accomplished it and we did it with overwhelming bi-partisan support.
Yes