Friday, December 12, 2008

Up-and-coming Kansas Republican Rockstars: the Future of the Kansas GOP

Kansas Republicans, in contrast to the national outcome, made gains against the Democrats in 2008 and 2010 promises to be a banner year for Republicans, as Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh and Sen. Sam Brownback jockey for the GOP nomination for governor in order to put that office back in Republican control (it will be), and Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt run for Brownback’s U.S. Senate seat. In addition, a slew of state senate seats will be up for grabs, all 125 state house seats will be up, and all statewide offices will be up (the Konnection has received credible tips that attorney and state GOP chair Kris Kobach is set on re-claiming the attorney general’s seat for the GOP). Meanwhile, here are some Kansas Republican pols on the younger side who we believe will be powerful leaders in the future based on their current successes:

Kevin Yoder—this young KU law school grad and current attorney is now serving his 3rd term in the house representing an Overland Park-based district that includes the headquarters of Sprint. Yoder is known as a pragmatic voice in the legislature who transcends the moderate/conservative political divide in the Kansas GOP and is well respected by moderates and conservatives alike. Yoder won his race this year with more than 60 percent of the vote and is constantly mentioned as a favorite for Johnson County DA in the future, state senate, and even congress. Yoder was recently named chair of the power Appropriations committee.

Julia Lynn—another young, energetic, and bright newcomer, Lynn faced a strong opponent in Olathe Superintendent Ron Wimmer in her first election bid after being appointed to Kay O’Connor’s seat by the GOP precinct committee members in 2007, but Lynn won by a resounding 10 percent. Lynn was recently named vice chair of the Tax and Commerce committees, a major accomplishment for a freshman legislator who will be making waves in Topeka and throughout her political career.

Kasha Kelly--this dynamic Arkansas City representative has championed budget reform, fiscal responsibility, and led the implemention of the state's first sunshine laws to promote state budget transparency online. Kelly has incredible skill and drive, which makes her a rising star in the party.

Lance Kinzer--this third-term Olathe lawyer carefully researches the issues and knows the Kansas constitution like the back of his hand. Kinzer has championed reductions in state spending and a strict constructivist view of the state constitution. He has also worked across the aisle and written critical legislation to downsize government and halt its growth. Look for Kinzer to run for AG someday.

Lynn Jenkins—popular state treasurer took on native son and former congressman Jim Ryun and overcame long odds, defying the pundits and winning. But she didn’t stop there—Jenkins promised new Republican leadership, running on a strong platform of the core issues of low taxes, cutting wasteful spending, eliminating earmarks, and sealing the borders. In one of only a few defeats of incumbent Democrats nationwide, Jenkins returned the 2nd District to Republican control. Jenkins will be a powerful force in Washington and strong voice from Kansas, serving as a prime example of the type of campaign Republicans need to run if they want to regain power.

Steve Howe—conservative, bridge-builder, 15-year veteran of the Johnson County DA’s office who united Republicans around his candidacy and defeated political opportunist and turncoat Rick Guinn in November, despite being heavily outspent. I personally know Steve well and worked in the DA’s office with him and he will be an honest, effective, and tireless advocate on behalf of the citizens of this county. It will be refreshing to move beyond the political posturing, corruption, and controversy-plagued administrations of Morrison and Kline. The question is: what is next in Howe’s political future?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you're talking about when you say state senate seats will be open in 2010. State Senate seats are elected all at once and only every four years.