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Kansas State Senate District 22

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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  • Craig Bowser
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Tom Hawk
    (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 was born and happily raised in Colby, Kansas. After graduating from Kansas State University, I started a 33 year education career in the Manhattan/Ogden Schools. Always committed to student success, I worked as an Algebra teacher, counselor, curriculum director and ultimately Superintendent. I also started a successful photography business that focused on weddings, event, and "graduation photos" for 40 years. I am married to Diane Hawk and we have four children and four grandchildren.
Campaign Phone (785) 537-8000
Campaign Email tom@tomhawk.com
Education Colby Community High School **BS Mathematics Kansas State University **MS Counseling Kansas State University **PHD Administration Kansas State University **Post Graduate Georgetown Family Center
Community/Public Service I am a member of my church, Manhattan Rotary, Optimist, Manhattan Arts Center, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce and have been on numerous boards from United Way, Ecumenical Campus Ministry(ECM), Junior Achievement, Treasurer MAC, to Manhattan Youth Care over the years. I served as State Presidents of AARP, Kansas Administrators Association (USA), Kansas Curriculum Directors (KASCD) and a Board Member of National Curriculum Directors Association(ASCD). I was Executive Director of the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board(2011-12). I served 6 years in the Kansas House and am currently in my 8th year in the Kansas Senate and serve as Ranking Member on Senate Ways and Means. I serve on the Joint Budget Committee, the SPARK (Federal CARES money for Covid-19 Allocation) Steering Committee, the Future of Higher Education Council, the Joint Legislative Building Committee, and have been a member of the State Transportation/Highway Vision Task Force. I received the KSU Leadership Studies Award (2011) and the Leadership Manhattan Distinguished Leadership Award (2014).
Address 2600 Woodhaven Ct. Manhattan, KS 66502
My first priority is the safety of all Kansas citizens and to support KDHE and our local health departments and health care workers to prevent debilitating sickness and deaths. I was appointed to the Governor’s SPARK Steering Committee and have been working on our state’s economic recovery and support with federal CARE dollars for our local communities, hospitals, nursing homes, and businesses that have been hit by COVID-19. We need to keep both efforts for safety and recovery going and recognize that they are intertwined.
While I believe our elections must be secure and fair, I agree with the report from the Kansas Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights. That report points out the SAFE Act may disparately impact voters on the basis of age, sex, disability, race, income level and affiliation. The committee concluded that disenfranchisement appears to be a much bigger problem than voter fraud. I am in favor of removing barriers to voting, while keeping the system safe. I believe our democracy is better served by increased participation. I would like to see easier voter registration, perhaps with driver’s license renewal, easier access to mail in or absentee ballots, the ability to vote at any polling place in one’s district, and even consideration for moving election day to the weekend or making it a holiday to encourage more voting participation.
I have voted to expand Medicaid. I believe it would greatly help a large portion of our population get health care, remove the burden from our ER’s, help our rural hospitals financially, perhaps keeping many of them open. I also believe we have paid into the federal government for this service and by not expanding Medicaid (KanCare) we have not received our fair share of tax dollars back into Kansas. Ensuring rural health care is a priority of mine and expansion of Medicaid is one area to help. Expanding telemedicine is another area that could help our rural citizens. Also funding our schools adequately as well as Community Mental Health Centers all relates to our state and rural health outcomes. All of this interfaces with keeping our environment healthy, expanding our rural economies, broadband availability and capacity in rural Kansas, and business development with adequate housing are part of the total effort.
I believe all rights have corresponding responsibilities. It is not usually productive to argue with the Second Amendment, but I believe a strong majority of Kansans want reasonable gun safety provisions in our laws. We have had a few gun safety debates on the Senate floor, but amendments I supported were not added to the bills. I have supported measures to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. I also would consider putting limits on assault weapons, bump stocks, and ensure that waiting periods and background checks be used to avoid having weapons get into the hands of dangerous and unlawful people. I also believe there should be a licensure system for dangerous weapons, just like we have to drive an automobile.
I would like to see a committee determine Committee Chair and Vice-Chair assignments so that the power is not vested in one person. It would be an improvement to have this be a bi-partisan committee and I would love to use the experience I have earned with 14 years in the Legislature to contribute to that new process.
I would support a simple majority vote to bring any bill to the floor of the Senate or House. I was disappointed to find that one person can set the agenda on the Senate floor and that a super majority is needed to bring any bill out of committee. That certainly happened the last two years with Medicaid expansion where a majority would likely have passed this critical piece of legislation.
No, our agencies are not funded adequately, but prior to the pandemic, Governor Kelly and the majority of the Legislature was making good progress on our budget support. In particular, the Brownback administration did not keep up with our computer technology infrastructure. I serve on the ITEC Committee and am the Ranking Member on the Ways and Means Committee. We made a concerted effort to begin working on a better computer infrastructure this year. We still must address the 40 year old KDOL system and make the cloud based computing and Computer Data Centers as a Service transition a priority. I hope the pandemic and budget shortfall will not put us too far behind in the work the Department of Administration is laying out to fix these problems.
I like the idea of “impact studies” as a data point to look at policy changes in our statutes, particularly as we look at corrections and judicial areas. We know that minorities and the poor are over-represented in many of our systems. Further work and conversations with stakeholders to look at addressing this data and policy changes is critical. We have “commissions” that can help. We also need to look at more minorities, women, and LGBTQ candidates and elected representatives to carry the voice of diversity and inclusion on the Senate and House floor and in our committee process. Smart investments in K-12, Higher Education, and work force training needs to be made so that we address the poverty issues that underlie many of the diversity problems in Kansas.
Positive changes occur often one conversation at a time. I am a co-founder of the Legislative Kansas Civility Project. It is a bi-partisan group of up to 60 legislators who have met this past year to work on how we can better function with one another, reduce polarization, get to know each other, and spread a positive democracy message out to all of the state. We have some great partners
Yes. Last time it was ultimately sent to a Court. I think starting with an impartial committee to draw the new districts is the best way to insure fairness for all.