••• Education, Tax & Spending •••

Candidate briefings offer information for politicians & citizens



There is a good chance you’ll find your front door busier in the next several weeks and months as politicians start knocking on doors. Never mind, the yard signs, radio, TV, and online ads we’ll be seeing…all part of the Americana version of electoral democracy. These would-be elected officials will be telling you why they deserve your vote in the upcoming election. Enter, KPI’s annual candidate briefings.

All kidding aside, this is a vital part of the electoral process and part of what makes state and local elections better than many campaigns for federal office. There is a real opportunity to meet candidates face-to-face and have a real discussion. This begs the question – are you ready for that discussion? Or, is the candidate?

KPI staff and scholars have long argued some version of, “An informed citizenry is an essential element of maintaining a free society…allowing citizens to better understand the known and often unknown consequences of legislative issues.” It doesn’t matter which party you’re affiliated with or the nuances of your personal political philosophy. What matters most is a willingness to engage with people, wrestle with facts, and weigh differing pieces of information.

We aim to help both citizens and candidates with the 2020 round of Legislative Candidate Briefings. Events in Overland Park (9 July, 4:00 p.m. at the Double Tree Hotel) and Wichita (10 July, 8:00 a.m. at the Hotel and Old Town) – something will be streamed as well – will help every Kansan better understand critical issues when that would-be pol comes to your door, accosts you at the Rotary Club, or finds you on Facebook.

These three-hour briefings will offer policy discussion and the opportunity for questions and answers. The rundown of the topics and presenters are below:

  • Next Steps in Kansas Education: Achievement and Finance post-Gannon and COVID
    • Dave Trabert, CEO of Kansas Policy Institute
  • Relief for Kansas Property Owners: Tax Transparency After Veto
    • Michael Austin, Director of Center for Entrepreneurial Government at KPI
  • Creating Economic Opportunity: Licensure and Regulatory Reform Ideas
    • Elizabeth Patton, State Director of Americans for Prosperity – Kansas
  • Small Business Perspectives on Kickstarting the post-COVID Economy
    • Russ McCullough, Ph.D. of Ottawa University (Kansas)

Aspiring candidates and current elected officials also stand to benefit from a few hours of policy discussion. I’ve known politicians of all parties and experience levels who are passionate and well-informed about key issues but remarkably il/un-informed on others. That shouldn’t be read as a way to increase indigestion. Instead, it is a recognition that many people seek elected-office because a specific issue(s) – fighting climate change, protecting life, 2nd Amendment, income inequality. It isn’t to say these are right or wrong but simply to point out that countless other issues will occupy much of their time.

I hope you can join us for these events next month (CLICK TO REGISTER). We’ll be following health guidelines and engaging in a lively discussion about some of the biggest policy questions facing our state. These events are intended to provide educational information to the public about broad economic and education issues that are important to the citizens of our state. They are the product of nonpartisan analysis, study, and research and are not intended to directly or indirectly endorse or oppose any candidate for public office.