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Kansas State Senate District 9

The Kansas Senate is the upper house of the Kansas Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. State of Kansas. It is composed of 40 senators representing an equal amount of districts, each with a population of at least 60,000 inhabitants. Members of the Senate are elected to a four-year term. There is no limit to the number of terms that a senator may serve.

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    Stacey Knoell

  • Julia Lynn

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 I’m a Midwest gal. Born in Nebraska and raised in Iowa, I came to the Kansas City area for a job as a sign language interpreter at Blue Springs South High School. I transitioned to teaching math in the Kansas City, Kansas system in 2006. I left teaching after my second child and now live in Olathe with my husband and two daughters.
Campaign Phone (913) 210-0779
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Education BA in Art History from the University of Iowa, AA in Deaf Communications and Interpreter Training from St. Louis Community College
Community/Public Service Volunteer for Catholic Charities since 2017
My top priorities have always been Medicaid Expansion and protecting women's reproductive rights. However, two major things have occurred in the world since I filed in November 2019. Coronavirus focused the need for adequate healthcare for all Americans even as it decimated the economy and the state budget. Now, moving into the next session, I would like to be a voice in the room and a vote that keeps an eye on protecting the most vulnerable populations from losing their funding and support as budget discussions move forward.

The second elephant in the room is the current social unrest that surrounds the treatment of African Americans at the hands of white law enforcement. Many people are noticing the systemic nature of racism in this country. While protest and activism are NEEDED AND NECESSARY (I started as an activist), it is clear that to make a change in the system, we must change who is in office.
I would definitely support overturning the SAFE Act as it adds complications and barriers to voters participating in the electoral process. As for changes to the election laws and voting systems, one thing I could support is allowing convicted felons who have served their terms to be automatically re-registered to vote without having them go through the process again.
I am in favor of expanding Medicaid. I do not know why some are opposed to expanding Medicaid. With the additional money from the federal government, the state would have the ability to fund rural hospitals and address the gap created by uncompensated care. That not expanding Medicaid led to the closure of so many rural hospitals is an unacceptable outcome of blocking Medicaid expansion.
I do not oppose gun ownership for hunting or personal protection. I do believe it is reasonable to require gun owners to register the guns they have and have permits and training to use them. Kansas is a Constitutional Carry state, which I am not in favor of. If someone wants to carry their firearm, I think it is not too much to ask them to obtain a concealed carry permit. I am also in favor of "red flag" laws that would provide a path for people to turn in and law enforcement to receive weapons from people who have been deemed a danger to themselves or others. Such laws would have to be carefully written to ensure due process, but I believe there is a place for such oversight.
While I am unsure of the “how” of the situation, chamber leadership has substantial power when it comes to who sits on or chairs any individual committee. I would support a system where the legislators themselves have some say of where they serve and where the President of the Senate cannot strip a Senator of their positions as a means of control or retaliation.
A simple answer is yes. There are many things that could or should be changed about the Senate laws and how/when votes come to the floor. One rule that could change is to allow a simple majority rather than the 2/3 majority to pass a bill into law. That hurdle has kept Medicaid expansion from the people of Kansas for years.
It is painfully clear that the agencies are not properly funded to carry out their missions and the economic fallout of COVID doesn’t bode well for the future of funding in Kansas. As for future funding and revenue for the state, I believe we must be willing to look at alternative income streams. This includes legalized sports wagering and legalized medical marijuana. Full disclosure, I have reservations about recreational marijuana, but I am open to the discussion around it, especially because the budget coming out of COVID will be in disarray.
Kansas has the Kansas Acts Against Discrimination on the books and it is a good read. However, one need only watch the news to know that the state, and indeed the country, have a long way to go to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. When more people of historically marginalized communities are elected to office, diversity, equity, and inclusion will be addressed. When more African Americans, Native Americans, people with uteruses, LGBTQ, differently-abled, Muslim, fill in the blank…when a more diverse cross-section of the population become legislators, then the issues will be addressed. I do not think there is the political will to do so before that.
I entered this race in part to address the imbalance of governance in Topeka. One side holds a super-majority so they actually do not have to work together with the other side. I know the Democrats approach legislation with an eye on coalition building because their numbers demand that they do so. While breaking the super-majority would be wonderful, the numbers are still lopsided enough that when elected I understand that I would HAVE to work across the aisle to get anything accomplished. I am not interested in repeating the gridlock of sessions past and would come into the Senate with an eye on finding common ground and things to bring the sides together. I believe it has to do with the intention of the individual legislator and the goals of the caucus leadership.
I wish there were a stronger way to say, “yes”. “Yes” seems to short a word to sum up how much I would support such a committee.
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