Education, health care issues bring out candidates on last day to file for Kansas elections

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TOPEKA — As the last day to file for Congress, the state Legislature and the Kansas Board of Education came to a close on June 10, many candidates say they hope to tackle education and health care if elected.

“I’m running for my children,” said Olathe Democrat Matt Maciel, who filed for the 14th District. “I’m concerned about their future. Concerned for their safety.”

Following behind Maciel while he filed were his three young children: Maribelle, Madelena and Brooks. Maciel served in the United States Marine Corps and is now a small business owner. 

With less than 24 hours before the filing deadline, Pomona Republican Louis Reed made the decision to run for the 59th District. He will face Rebecca Schmoe in the primary. In office, Reed said he wants to work on keeping taxes down and giving back to his community.

“I’m a great listener and I’m a great compromiser,” Reed said. “I wish we had a little more of that in government.”

Rep. Gail Finney, a Wichita Democrat serving her 14th year in the Legislature, said she would not seek reelection in 2022. She said the reason for stepping away from the 84th District centered on her health.

“My heart was in the right direction as far as fighting for my constituents,” Finney said.

She came to the secretary of state’s office with Ford Carr, a Wichita engineer and operator of the social-issue nonprofit Us Doing Us, who filed for her old seat. He has no challengers.

Ford Carr, a Wichita engineer and operator of the social-issue nonprofit Us Doing Us filed for Democratic Rep. Gail Finney’s seat in the 84th District. Finney is not running for re-election. (Photo by Margaret Mellott/Kansas Reflector)

Carr said his legislative priorities include criminal justice issues and challenges with the state’s foster care system.

Democrat Mike McCorkle, a retired educator and U.S. Army veteran, filed for District 100 to challenge House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican. Hawkins, if reelected, is expected to seek selection by GOP House colleagues to be the next House Speaker.

“I really believe he is the main obstacle to Medicaid expansion,” McCorkle said. “I really believe that Kansans should have better health care options.”

One incumbent, though, was there on Friday to withdraw from the legislature: Stephanie Byers, a Wichita Democrat for the 86th District. She will be moving to Texas to help care for her wife’s parents, but doesn’t plan to give up politics. 

“(LGBTQ+ Kansans) need to know their voice will still be here,” Byers said. “It may not be mine, but there will be others. We’re all going to stay in connection so that even those allies that have been here will be better prepared and understanding on how to best benefit and support the communities they represent.”

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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