Here are the 10 most crucial Missouri and Kansas issues and races on next Tuesday’s ballots in the Kansas City area. I’ve included links to more information about all of the contests as well as my endorsements.
Agree? Disagree? Let me hear about it in comment here or where most people congregate now — my Facebook page.
The Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential race is extremely important, of course, but not on this list. Oh, and vote for Clinton.
#1. Chris Koster over Eric Greitens for governor in Missouri. This race will have a great impact on the quality of day-to-day government and, thus, quality of services for more than six million Missourians. Pick experience over ignorance about how state government works. Put a Democratic check-and-balance in the governor’s office during a time of GOP dominance in the General Assembly.
#2. Retain all five Kansas Supreme Court justices. Don’t allow political pressure from Gov. Sam Brownback, Right to Life groups and others throw the judicial system into a complete mess. And don’t let Brownback have the power to pick justices who would serve for decades.
#3. Elect more Democrats and moderate Republicans from Johnson County to the Kansas House. This is a critical way to help stop Brownback’s policies in the Legislature. Democrats like R. Paul McCorkle, Cindy Holscher, Cindy Neighbor and Brett Parker could eliminate the negative GOP incumbents in the House. Meanwhile, moderate Republican victories would lead to the greater chance that Russ Jennings of Lakin could be elected as the next speaker.
#4. Oust ultra-conservative Kansas Senate Republican incumbents from Johnson County. This will require victories by strong Democratic opponents, including Vicki Hiatt and Chris Morrow.
#5. Jason Kander over Roy Blunt for U.S. Senate in Missouri. This could help Democrats control the Senate. It would get rid of a burned-out politician. And it would put a younger, more progressive voice in Washington to represent the Show-Me State.
#6. Approve Proposition L to upgrade the extensive Mid-Continent Public Library system in Missouri. Take advantage of this opportunity to improve dozens of buildings used by tens of thousands of people a year. Improve programming enjoyed by children and adults. It’s a small property tax increase, well worth the investment.
#7. Reject the sham cigarette tax plans in Amendment 3 and Proposition A in Missouri. Both proposed tax increases are too puny to stop people from smoking, which is why health organizations oppose them. Both include “poison pills” that would not be necessary in a real tax plan. Plus, it is not well-defined how the money raised for children (in Amendment 3) and for transportation (in Proposition A) would be used.
#8. Reject Question 3, Clay Chastain’s flawed light-rail plan in Kansas City. The proposal is not financially feasible, will steal money from the existing bus system and will not get built as sold to voters. This is not the streetcar extension. I expect this plan to be held up by lawsuits if approved; just kill it now.
#9. Approve no-tax increase $235 million bond plan to improve Kansas City Kansas Public Schools. The large, urban district deserves the money required to provide safe, modern buildings and adequate infrastructure for about 22,000 students.
#10. Approve sales tax increase to build new courthouse and coroner’s facility in Johnson County. The plan has been discussed for years and finally hit the ballot box this year. It makes sense to construct a courthouse that will serve a fast-growing county for another 75 years. Do it with a sales tax and reduce borrowing costs.
Yes, other crucial items are on Tuesday’s ballots, including the need to get rid of Kevin Yoder and replace him with Jay Sidie in the 3rd District U.S. Congress race in Kansas.
Here is a full list of my endorsements on these and other contests.