WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Two former Kansas governors, one Republican, the other a Democrat, stood together Saturday morning at a public forum to discuss the state of Kansas’ government.
Republican Mike Hayden and Democrat John Carlin were in Wichita to take part in a forum sponsored by Women for Kansas.
Republican Governor Mike Hayden said the current experiment in Kansas under Gov. Sam Brownback is failing, adding the state of affairs in Kansas is bad and that needs to be acknowledged.
Hayden said Kansas is not headed toward financial stability and is getting deeper into a hole. He specifically pointed to the state’s retirement system which he said faces tremendous challenges. Hayden said the state’s current financial woes were caused by Gov. Brownback and the current legislature.
Hayden said the state needs to pump more money back into the state’s highway fund. Money taken from the fund recently has been used to shore up the state’s budget.
He also said it doesn’t make sense to not expand Medicaid.
Former Democratic governor John Carlin said Kansas has always had a good system of funding education, adding in the 1960s and ’70s the legislature did a good job providing adequate funding for education.
When he was in office, Carlin said, half of the state’s budget was spent on education. He said more financial support is needed now, and voters need to elect lawmakers who understand education is fundamental.
Carlin also commented on the judicial branch of Kansas’ government, saying it has never been under attack until the last few years.
Encouraging citizen involvement, Carlin said, “I don’t care whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or independent, you should be concerned about who gets elected.”
Commenting on voting laws put in place by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Hay said voting should be easy, not hard.
Carlin also urged citizens to take his and Hayden’s messages seriously.