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Kansas State House District 39

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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  • Owen Donohoe

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    Les Lampe

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 Life-long resident of Kansas. Grew up in Goodland, Kansas, and then attended the University of Kansas and obtained three engineering degrees, including doctorate. Vice President at Black & Veatch Corporation, and led engineering projects for water supply, flood control, and water quality improvement throughout Kansas and globally. Licensed as a professional engineer in six states. Married to Karen Lampe, a former pastor at Church of the Resurrection. Three children and four grandchildren.
Campaign Phone (913) 219-3933
Campaign Email
Campaign Web Site
Education B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Kansas M.S. Water Resources Engineering, University of Kansas Doctorate, Water Resources Engineering, University of Kansas
Community/Public Service Board of Directors, Kansas Interfaith Action, 2017-present
Address PO Box 654 Lawrence, Kansas 66044
My first priority would be to expand KanCare, the Kansas Medicaid program. Nearly 150,000 fall into a health coverage gap because they earn too much to qualify for KanCare, but too little to be eligible for financial help to purchase private insurance. Expanding KanCare is a solution that would bring hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars back home to Kansas and create jobs, boost our economy, protect hospitals, and improve the health of Kansans, particularly those of limited means. Nearly all of the costs of expansion are covered by the Federal government, as the Federal government pays 90% of the costs. This would also protect rural hospitals, as those covered by KanCare expansion could use the hospitals in their rural communities and the revenue would stay with those hospitals. One-third of rural hospitals are considered to be financially vulnerable, and KanCare expansion would help protect those hospitals. Also, KanCare expansion is estimate to create 13,000 new jobs.
I would support overturning the SAFE Act. This is among the most restrictive acts in the country. The requirement for various forms of identification to be able to vote is a definite deterrent to many potential voters. I would support systems used in many places that voters simply certify their eligibility to vote at the time of voting with the penalty, if not eligible, of being charged with voter fraud. When these systems are used, there is a very low frequency of voter fraud. I would also support state-wide mailing of advance voting applications to expand the number of voters who can participate. Another change that I would support would be a change in the voting day to the first Saturday of November rather than the first Tuesday. This would allow voting on a day when voters who are employed normally don't have to go to work.
See my answer to the first question. Another measure that I would propose to expand health care availability in rural areas is the expanded use of telemedicine. Health-care providers at state-supported institutions, such as the University of Kansas Medical Center, could be availably to rural areas via telemedicine. This would work best if nurses or other medical professionals are available in the rural areas to provide screening services and routine care, and can then enlist the help of specialists for consultation by telemedicine. A separate aspect of the use of telemedicine in rural areas is the expanded coverage of broadband services. Many of the rural areas of the state don't have high-speed, reliable broadband coverage that would allow the use of telemedicine in those areas.
I believe that reasonable restrictions on the ownership and use of guns are appropriate. These restrictions respect Second Amendment rights of individuals to have guns for use for purposes of sport or protection. Specific measures that I could support include (1) eliminating the sale of assault-type weapons, (2) eliminating the sale of gun clips holding more than 10 cartridges, (3) promotion of red-flag laws that would prevent gun ownership by those guilty of domestic abuse, (4) requiring a license and training to own firearms, and (5) requiring background checks for all sales of firearms, even sales at gun shows or by individuals.
The current system that allows Chamber leaders to appoint committee chairs is broken. A major change that I would recommend would be to limit the tenure of Committee chairs to no more than four years, thereby preventing Committee chairs from serving in that role for extended periods. I would also change the rules of committee operations to allow a majority vote from the floor of the chamber to allow a bill to move forward from the Committee. A recent example was the issue of Medicaid expansion. The Kansas Senate prevented consideration of this measure to move forward because the committee chair wouldn't allow it to be considered, despite the fact that 23 of the 40 members of the Kansas Senate wanted to have it move forward for consideration by the full Senate. The rules need to be changed.
The current system allows for committee hearings and votes that are hidden from view by the public. This is wrong. A transparent system is needed. In particular, transcripts of committee hearings should be made available as should the votes of committee members on all proceedings. A particular objection that I have is that the leadership of the House and Senate can control the bills that are assigned to committees and ultimately reach the floor for a vote. There should be mechanism to allow popular measures, such as Medicaid expansion, to not be blocked but instead reach the floor for consideration. I also have reservations about the current "gut and go" practice where a bill is essentially discarded and then a somewhat related measure is introduced in its place.
I believe that these agencies are underfunded and need additional resources, particularly to replace or upgrade antiquated computer systems. There have been many recent examples of the need for a new and improved system to manage programs of both the Department of Labor and the Department of Education. The most glaring recent example is the abject failure to process unemployment claims resulting from job losses during the COVID epidemic. Many Kansans had unacceptable delays in obtaining essential unemployment support during this time.
These are difficult issues to address because many of them relate to underlying systemic biases within State employees and within the general population. Even though the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision mandated that discrimination in employment is forbidden by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, this did not cover discriminatory practices in housing and the provision of public services. I believe that the State should pass the Equality Act that would expand protection in housing and public services to the LGBTQ community. I also believe that the State should set up a commission that would look at policing practices by all law enforcement agencies in the State. Among the law enforcement agencies included for oversight would be the Highway Patrol, county sheriff departments, and municipal police forces. Evidence of racial bias in law enforcement would be explored and addressed. A State measure to ban the use of excessive force in policing should also be considered.
In the current politically-polarized environment, there must be an effort to find common ground on issues. Many moderates, both Republican and Democrat, would elected to the legislature in reaction to the tax cuts enacted prior to 2016. These tax cuts did not improve the State's economy and dramatically reduced tax revenues. Moderate legislators of both parties can work together to advance common-sense solutions to issues. One example of a common-sense solution is Medicaid expansion, which is supported by moderate members of both parties. The current COVID pandemic poses great challenges that also requires cooperation in moving forward to achieve solutions that will work for all Kansans. Cooperation will be required to balance the State budget and implement measures that will help the Kansas economy address new challenges posed by the pandemic.
Yes! The primary means to manipulate elections are through voter suppression and gerrymandering. I believe that legislative districts should be drawn impartially and transparently. The use of an impartial committee to draw these legislative districts would be a step in the right direction.