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Kansas State Senate District 18

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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  • Kristen O'Shea
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Tobias Schlingensiepen
    (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 I'm a life-long Topekan, who has attended Topeka public schools (Randolph, Boswell, Landon, Topeka West '82), Washburn University, and graduated from the University of Kansas. I am the Senior Minister at Topeka's First Congregational Church, the church in which I grew up. I am married to Abigail Schlingensiepen. We have eight children and eleven grandchildren.
Campaign Phone (785) 845-6618
Campaign Web Site http://www.TobiasForKansas.com
Education B.A. in Classical Languages (University of Kansas, 1986) Masters of Theology Equiv. (University of Bonn/Bonn, Germany)
Community/Public Service - Topeka Police Chaplain since February, 2000 - Brewster Place BOD, Past President - Topeka Center for Peace and Justice, Past Chair - Communities Creating Opportunity, Past Secretary - Topeka Rotary, Paul Harris Fellow - Co-led the initiative that led to saving the Kansas Neurological Institute, 2010 - Co-founded HeartWork, an ongoing initiative that organizes resources and volunteers to assist mostly low-income seniors keep their homes and properties up to city code. - Have organized a benefit concert for Habitat for Humanity
Address 1601 SW Boswell Ave. Topeka, Kansas, 66604
The health and well-being of all Kansans is the first priority. Having access to healthcare and insuring coverage of preexisting conditions is critical, now more than ever. For this reason I have actively advocated for Medicaid expansion since it became an issue. At the same time, we must make sure that our schools, our nursing care facilities, and businesses have what they need to survive and thrive. We must protect both our lives and our livelihoods.
Yes, I would vote to overturn the SAFE Act. We should be working to make voting more accessible and convenient for all Kansans, as well as about ensuring the highest level of transparency and accountability. I would support changes that allow same day voter registration, voting at any polling location, extending early voting, and easier access to mail-in ballots.
We absolutely must expand Medicaid. The failure of Kansas legislators to address the medical vulnerability of up to 150,000 Kansans, especially during the current pandemic, has exemplified an egregious lack of responsibility or politics at its worst. Our Kansas healthcare infrastructure, including critical healthcare jobs, has lost close to 9 billion dollars due to our legislature's failure to expand Medicaid. And this has directly impacted healthcare delivery in our rural areas, which have experienced hospital closures as a result. This not only impacts the lives of rural Kansans, it also imperils economic development in the future; businesses will not locate in areas without access to medical care. Additionally, I support the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan, which includes making rural access to broadband a priority. Access to broadband would allow rural residents to take advantage of tele-health opportunities, to confer with their doctors or physicians' assistants remotely.
I support protecting the second amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, but I also believe that gun ownership comes with a responsibility to practice gun safety. I support common sense gun safety measures such as gun safety training, background check requirements, and keeping firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers and mentally ill people while they are a threat to themselves and others.
There could be a separate committee established for the sole purpose of appointing committee leadership.
Absolutely. Kansans deserve to know not only who is authoring bills but why they matter to Kansans. Kansans also deserve to know that the process for developing, debating, and deciding on legislation is fair and transparent. Legislation should never be held hostage to partisan brinkmanship.
No, I believe they are still underfunded. However, Governor Kelly and her administration should be commended for the improvements they have made these past two years. However, there is still more work to be done. We cannot afford to go backwards. We must continue working in a fiscally responsible manner to balance the budget and protect these critical investments.
We should start by following the recommendations that come from Governor Kelly’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice.
We must remember that we work for the Kansans who elected us, and they value bipartisanship and compromise.
Yes. Voters should pick their legislators. Legislators should not pick their voters.