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Kansas State House District 111

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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    Eber Phelps
    (Dem)

  • Barb Wasinger
    (Rep)

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 My name is Eber Phelps, I am a lifelong resident of Hays, Kansas. I was educated in Hays graduating from St. Joseph's Military Academy and earning a BA Degree from Fort Hays State University. I have been active in elective office serving as both Hays Mayor and city commissioner. I also served in the Kansas House for 9 terms. For twenty years I was employed by Glassman Corporation of Hays and retired in 2018.
Campaign Phone (785) 623-7575
Campaign Email phelps.eber@gmail.com
Education High School: St. Joseph's Military Academy College: BA Fort Hays State University
Community/Public Service Mayor of Hays and city commissioner Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development. Ellis County Extension Board Hays Library Board Washington Elementary Site Council Restore (Habitat for Humanity) PAWS for Colorado Dog Rescue
Address 3103 Olympic Lane Hays, KS 67601
As it is with every legislative session just about everything centers around the budget which pretty much defines the parameters of where the state will be able to provide funding. The pandemic has created an out of the ordinary challenge to the budgeting process. Unlike the last two session the legislature will need to start immediately in prioritizing expenditures as well as cuts. I've always felt the best return on our investments has been in Education funding at all levels. I will include early childhood funding issues in that mix which is critical in preventing future problems.
Citizen participation has always been of interest to me especially when it pertains to voting. After years of communist rule and voter suppression in the former USSR, the very first open election for a democratically elected Governor of a Russian State resulted in a remarkable 86% registered voter turnout. We as a leader in Democracy should be the country setting the standard but we seem to struggle with the idea of getting as many people to the polls as possible. I've been involved in a number of debates on the House Floor over facilitating voter turnout. The GOP leadership seems to always stifle any progress in that area on the grounds of potential voter fraud. I'm all for increased voter participation and overturning any policies that deter that effort. I believe there are a number of things we can do such as automatic registration when someone turns 18 and adopting a mail ballot program. Aurora, Colorado has been using mail in ballots for many years and has a 70% participation.
In previous sessions I have voted in support of Medicaid Expansion more than once. I have not changed my stand on that issue and will be a supporter if elected in November. I view this issue from from the obvious point of view which is to provide affordable health coverage for the 140,000 uninsured Kansans. Additionally expanding our Medicaid program will allow us to draw down significant federal funding. The $4.1 billion our state has passed up by not expanding would be a huge benefit for our rural hospitals. Urban legislators need to educate themselves on how important it is to rural communities to have access to medical services within a reasonable time and travel distance. Funding in amounts less than $100,000 enable them to purchase new equipment as well as funding additional staff positions.
This issue is backed by the very powerful gun lobby at all levels and pushes back at any effort to promote safety or regulatory initiatives We've all heard the arguments on both sides of this issue which usually ramps up after the latest mass shooting then subsides after a few weeks. I'm not totally familiar with all the regulations and requirements but feel better licensing procedures need to be in place and a serious look at the access to assault type weapons. I am still not convinced why someone other than the military and law enforcement needs an assault weapon. I believe addressing this issue needs to come from the federal level since each state is going to adopt something different resulting in a patchwork of laws from state to state.
Each session the legislature as a whole votes on the rules to be followed for that session. In recent times the House and Senate majority leadership has taken on a more controlling approach. They control their membership by limiting committee opportunities as well as policies affecting a legislator's district. This will continue if Kansans continue to ignore what is going on in Topeka. Thus, the decision is in the hands of the voters of Kansas. If things need to be changed the legislature as a whole needs to recognize the problem and return to the days when fair and open debate was the norm. Voters can and should do a little research and find out if their representatives are part of the solution or part of the problem.
Absolutely, and in part because it's important to ensure that everyone's voice is heard and not just large corporations. As mentioned above, fair and open debate is imperative and a handful of people making decisions is not the way to govern in a representative democracy. I've always thought truth and fact based decisions were the best policies thus transparency. Sadly a lot of rules are in place but in recent times they've been ignored thus entire budgets with billions of dollars are brought the floor with minimal time to read the bill yet voting on it moments after seeing it for the first time. That's reckless and irresponsible.
I can't comment on all agencies but I will say that any agency dealing with children needs the most up to date systems for placement, tracking and monitoring. If children are wards of the state they need to be cared for properly and placed in a safe environment. There is no room for error in caring for these children. This can only be accomplished with fair and adequate funding. During the Brownback era tax experiment most agencies took drastic cuts to their budgets with resulting failures as evidenced in our foster care program.
The state can set the example in non discriminating hiring practices and ensure no one is hired or fired based on factors outside the realm of actual abilities. I believe that fair treatment of all Kansans is necessary regardless of skin color, sexual identification or religion. The role of the legislature is to set budgets and policies not to pass judgement. A complete review of our policies would be a start.
It's not a new concept and has worked in the past. In years years I was fortunate to serve in the legislature when bi-partisan efforts were the norm and a willingness to work together was the way to accomplish things. This was done through solid committee work and healthy floor discussions. Once again there is a need for voters to look over the efforts of their representatives and determine if they're in Topeka to represent them or an outside entity. If it's the latter than it's time for a change. Only then will we get back to governing in a fair and equitable manner.
Yes, and in the past I have voted for such a measure. If I recall the best example was the state of Iowa that relied on a third party to come up with a map that wasn't "gerrymandered" to favor an individual candidate or political party. With a two party system relying on a legislative body will in most instances work towards the advantage of the majority party. With the next session calling for new district maps it's my hope the legislature will incur enough change to look at a non partisan approach to drawing up legislative and congressional maps.
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