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Kansas State Senate District 11

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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    Joy Koesten
    (Dem)

  • Kellie Warren
    (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 Dr. Joy Koesten served in the KS House in 2017-2018 & was on 3 committees: Corrections & Juvenile Justice, Government Technology & Security, & the Transportation & Public Safety Budget. She served as co-chair of the Mental Health caucus & was a member on the Early Childhood Caucus, & the Women’s Caucus. She & her husband founded Aspyre Wealth Partners in 1996 where she continues to serve as a consultant. Joy has a PhD in Communication Studies & has taught at Washburn & on all 3 campuses of KU.
Campaign Phone (913) 972-7883
Campaign Email jkoesten@gmail.com
Campaign Web Site http://www.joykoesten.com
Education Ph.D., Communication Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS M.A., Communication Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS B.S., Comprehensive Marketing, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, MO
Community/Public Service For over 20 years, I’ve taught learners of all ages the importance of building strong interpersonal relationships and organizing coalitions to achieve common goals. Recently retired from my academic career, I want to employ those same skills at the state level as Senator for District 11. In 2017 and 2018, I served in the Kansas House of Representatives and proudly voted to end the devastating Brownback/Colyer tax experiment and supported policies that allowed us to take the first steps toward restoring our state. During those two years, I served on three committees: Corrections & Juvenile Justice; Government Technology & Security, and the Transportation & Public Safety Budget committee. I also served as co-chair of the Mental Health caucus, as a founding member of the Early Childhood Caucus, and as a member of the Women's Caucus. In addition to my regular duties as a legislator, I kept constituents informed and engaged: • wrote and published over 45 blogs outlining my position and votes on every issue • spoke at over a dozen town halls and forums about legislative issues • visited with administrators and teachers in the Blue Valley Schools in the district over 30 times • hosted a dozen constituents who shadowed me for the day • hosted 20 middle and high school students who served as pages • mentored 3 college interns • answered hundreds of emails from concerned constituents • assisted constituents with problems they were having with various state agencies • met with dozens of advocates on various issues Last year, after two decades of advocating for mental health funding and expanding access for treatment for addiction services, my husband and I worked closely with Children's Mercy last year to establish an endowment that will fund local research in behavioral health and suicide prevention. Our event "Collaboration for a Cause" (https://www.collaborationforacause.org/) raised $100,000 toward funding that endowment. I've also serve Trained Advocate and Board Member, Volunteer for Jackson County Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) and Committee of Hope, Member. I am a Founding Member, Volunteer Research Coordinator, State Advocate for Legislative Action for the Jewish Community Mental Health Coalition (now Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition). And, I was a Certified Facilitator of Family-2-Family Course for the National Alliance on Mental Illness for two years at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, KS. These are just some of the things that I have done over the years that demonstrate my commitment to my community and qualifications for serving as the next State Senator for District 11.
Address 3310 W 137th Street Leawood, KS 66224
The biggest issue will certainly be rebuilding the economy, but closely tied to that is ensuring every Kansan has access to affordable health care (including mental health care) and funding our public schools. Without a ready workforce, we can’t rebuild the economy. And, you can’t have a ready workforce without access to health care and robust education. There is only one way to move the state forward and that is to build a coalition of elected leaders who are willing to work together. There are many ways we could strengthen relationships with elected leaders in other counties to achieve common goals. I would begin working on building these relationships on day one.
Yes, I would support overturning the SAFE Act and passing legislation that ensures every Kansan has easy access to voting, and that every vote counts.
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted what we have known for years, access to affordable health care is critical to the well-being of every Kansan. Medicaid expansion would strengthen our ability to manage this public health crisis and save lives; there is still time to move that forward. I will continue to fight for Medicaid expansion to provide access to healthcare to all Kansans, while reducing the burden of uncompensated care for all of our service providers.

With the current public health crisis, it is even more critical to expand Medicaid. Thousands of Kansans have lost their jobs, and their health insurance. Medicaid expansion would ensure they have access affordable healthcare. Our family knows firsthand that there is no health without mental health, so strengthening and integrating our mental health system into our health care system is critical to ensure the whole health of every Kansan. As Senator, I will do everything I can to ensure we pass Medicaid expansion in 2021.
While I have always been a strong supporter of our second amendment rights, I also understand that there is a direct correlation between the loosening of our gun policies over the past decade and the increase in death by suicide and domestic violence. Today, suicide is the second leading cause of death in Kansas for children between the ages of 15 and 24. Lives lost before they’ve even begun. In addition, research shows that an abuser is 5 times more likely to kill their victim when they attempt to leave the abusive relationship. Both of these tragic outcomes have skyrocketed over the past several years by easy access to guns. As Senator, I will support legislation for common sense gun laws, including red flag laws, background checks, and waiting periods for purchasing guns. In addition, I will advocate for gun safety educational programs that include supplying gun locks to gun owners.

Our campaign was awarded the Gun Sense Candidate Award of Distinction from Mom's Demand Action.
Sadly, the majority party gets to draft the rules in both Chambers and until we elect more Democrats, we will have little power to control Committee leadership and their decisions. Breaking the Supermajority is absolutely critical in this election cycle, but we must build our Democratic ranks overwhelmingly if we are to see different behavior in our legislature.
Yes, for sure. But as I said before - without adding a lot more Democrats to our caucus we will not have the votes to change any rule. It's all about the numbers and the numbers are not in our favor - yet.
For eight years the Brownback administration starved our agencies and put people in charge who did enormous damage. The 2017 Legislature took the necessary first steps in restoring fiscal stability to Kansas and now with Governor Kelly at the helm we are on a course of recovery. Unfortunately, we are now facing an economic downturn caused by a global pandemic. And, even though the Governor lead with caution since taking office in anticipation of a downturn, the next few years will be incredibly challenging. As Senator, I will advocate for protecting investments in education, infrastructure, and other critical services even during these challenging times.
There are many things we can do at the state level to ensure that all Kansans are welcomed and protected from discrimination. As Senator, I will support legislation to address diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Throughout my career I have prided myself on building coalitions, even with people who had different ideas and worldviews. Building those relationships takes time and effort, but there is no other way to achieve bi-partisan, common sense solutions that serve all Kansans. While I can't control the behavior of others, I will do my best to develop relationships that ensure legislators work together to find common ground.
Yes - for sure. Easiest question on the list.
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