WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A group of Kansas women has formed an organization that seeks to change leadership of state government, starting with defeating Gov. Sam Brownback and Secretary of State Kris Kobach in November.
Women for Kansas was founded in Wichita as a grass-roots group that cuts across political, racial, cultural and economic boundaries, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/1kOSd20 ). Organizers said the women felt compelled to take action after watching what they believe has been a steady progression of policies that hurt children, women and the elderly.
Laura Dungan, a member of the group who has been a community organizer for 23 years, said the goal was to change the direction they see the state heading under the Brownback administration and to pay attention to issues relevant to women.
“Women’s voices seem to be getting lost in the discourse, especially in Kansas,” Dungan said. “I think we’re really going backward in many ways.”
A “Taking Back Kansas Convention” is scheduled for Aug. 29-31 in Wichita, including a public rally. The event comes after the August primary.
The women are working to defeat Brownback and Kobach, both Republicans, and they are backing House Minority Leader Paul Davis for governor and Jean Schodorf for secretary of state. Davis is a Lawrence Democrat and Schodorf a former moderate Republican who became a Democrat after being ousted in the 2012 primary by GOP conservative Michael O’Donnell.
Officials with Brownback and Kobach’s campaigns defend their achievements since being elected in 2010.
Mark Dugan, Brownback’s campaign manager, pointed to accomplishments such as creating jobs and lowering property taxes under the recently signed school finance bill.
Kobach said in an email to The Eagle that polling data suggested women support his policies, including the proof-of-citizenship requirement for those registering to vote.
Women for Kansas began organizing in January and held meetings statewide to build support around common goals.
“We finally determined that for women in Kansas, changing the administration would be the thing that we’d be willing to devote a year of our lives to working on,” said Lynn Stephan, former Wichita ad executive and one of the organization’s founders.
Members of the group said it’s not just about winning elections. They said they want to have their voices heard on issues such as education and health care.
“We are in a state of crisis,” member Emira Palacios said. “We all feel excluded. We all feel we’re losing our voice, and we all feel there’s an urgent need to do something.”
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com