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Kansas State Senate District 30

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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  • Renee Erickson
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Melissa Gregory
    (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 in Wichita and have lived in District 30for 10 years. My younger brother and his family also live here as do my husband Jim's younger brothers. My father, father and mother-in-law, husband and brother are all military veterans. My husband owns a small aviation business and I am involved in community organizations, public and not-for-profit. We enjoy travel, music and theatre, reading and WSU basketball.
Education Graduate of Wichita North High School BGS from Wichita State University
Community/Public Service Envision Foundation Board KANSEL Board Sedgwick County Historical Society City of Wichita Design Board
Address 1440 N Gatewood #46 Wichita, KS. 67206
We must keep our workers, families and children safe, and keep our essential services operating. By stopping the spread of the virus we can begin to restore our educational and health care systems and ensure that the jobs we have now operate safely. Good paying jobs will get our economy moving again. One way to accelerate that is to focus on education and training for the skills most in demand by employers. Expanding access to health care for those who do not have health insurance will go far to bring peace of mind to families and to increase employment in that sector.
I support overturning the SAFE Act. This was enacted based on a false narrative about “voter fraud” and is clearly a means to suppress voting among disadvantaged Kansans. I would further support support statewide vote by mail options for all elections, with paper ballots to back up those who choose to vote in-person. Claims of widespread or statistically significant voter fraud have been proven false. I support these steps because because voting is a fundamental right to all citizens. In 2020 we celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage; in 2020 the chasm between a concerned white persons’ experience and that of a black person has been exposed; 2020 is not the year to add burdens or create barriers to people’s right to vote for the party and person of their choice.
Expanding Medicaid is the highest priority in the next legislative session. Kansas is past due and on the wrong side of this issue, and while health and economic commonsense tell us this is the right thing to do, the Covid-19 pandemic has made it imperative to do. Some of the people keeping our businesses and essential services running are working poor - making too much to qualify for our very restrictive Medicaid now and not enough to afford to take care of their family’s basic needs AND health insurance premiums. Legislators who did not support expanding Medicaid have caused hospitals and clinics to close in areas where they are needed most. This has caused lost jobs and lost access to healthcare. Expanding Medicaid and expanding reliable telemedicine statewide are two things we can do quickly to advance access to healthcare in rural areas.
I have struggled to find an approach that respects the rights of gun owners and protects people from wanton violence. I found a starting place back in my roots in Sunday School. First, we need to talk about preventing gun violence in conversation and try to assist those that are affected. If you have guns, we must promote storing and securing guns safely and teaching and practicing gun safety, and keeping them away from children. We can reach out to other communities who have experienced gun violence, to support them and learn from their experience. We can encourage legal sales and advocate for laws that prevent or reduce gun violence. These might include prohibiting sales to anyone under a restraining order or with a serious mental illness; banning magazine and weapons that fire multiple rounds; and background checks and licensing retailers. These are viewed as threats by the gun lobby so legislative action has been stalled for years. I support reasonable regulation.
One change would be to ensure bi-partisan rotating leadership of Committees. However, the current rules have worked in the past when there was civility and commitment to the best interests of all Kansans and the common good. The best way to ensure appropriate leadership of each Chamber and each Committee would be to elect people who are committed to public service rather than their personal agenda and political career. The voters must make that choice.
A more transparent and bi-partisan way to determine what comes to the entire legislature for debate and vote must be initiated. Ending the current supermajority in the Senate in this election will go far to change this practice.
Kansas state agencies and state institutions have all been severely underfunded since the unwise and widely repudiated tax cuts of the Brownback administration. Not a single one of our agencies have had adequate funding to meet the public mission they serve and we are paying a high price with some systems in or near collapse during the COVID-19 pandemic. The current administration of Governor Laura Kelly had systematically started to identify and address the issues of each state agency soon after she was elected. That work has been set back due to the urgent need to address the health and economic devastation of the pandemic. Recovery will be long and slow and will only start with stopping the spread of the pandemic. It will require a coordinated effort, first, saving lives and keeping Kansans healthy, then restoring our education and health care systems and helping employers rehire workers.
As elected leaders, we have to get through the uncomfortable part and figure out what we need to do to change things in the future. A major part of that means we have to accept responsibility for the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion. Legislators can be the leaders they were elected to be if we make better laws and repeal some awful ones. They hold the power of the purse and can incentivize positive change. We start by reforming our policing and judicial justice/juvenile justice/corrections system. We initiate a system of restorative justice where non-violent acts are remedied as transgressions that can be corrected by means other than jail or prison. I shudder to think how many young healthy and eager- to-learn and eager-to- work young people are in our jails and prisons. And we ensure every child and adult has access to good health care. We have to stop pitting advocates against each other and pay attention to each other.

Senators and Representatives could work together right now if they begin to respect each other as individuals; when they commit to work for the good of the State of Kansas and its people rather than their personal or political agenda. Each person who is elected to the Legislature is responsible to the people of Kansas and is sworn to uphold the constitution. We can choose to demonstrate honesty, to diligently work for the common good, and to be a problem-solver. It’s also a choice to be cooperative and respectful and accept personal responsibility for civil behavior and kindness toward their fellow humans.
Ten years ago our last redistricting in Kansas had to be done by the Courts because legislators could not agree on a fair plan. That's an indictment of our legislative inability to put the people of Kansas and common sense above political games and agendas. Under those circumstances, I believe the ideal would be to delegate the responsibility to an impartial commission - subject to Court approval, until we have established that we are committed to the method which ensures fairness and impartiality and equal representation.