49th District House race

The following article appeared in the Johnson County Sun.

49th District House race
Sheri Baker-Rickman
Johnson County Sun

Republican Benjamin Hodge, 26, a member of the Johnson County Community College Board, and Democrat Bond Faulwell, 61, both of Overland Park, seek the Kansas 49th District House seat on the Nov. 7 ballot.

The seat is held by conservative Republican Scott Schwab, Olathe, who is retiring. In August he lost the 3rd Congressional District primary race to Chuck Ahner.

Prior to answering questions from The Sun, each candidate agreed to start each answer with a “yes” or “no,” understanding that an “X” would be used in the absence of a clear answer.

Following are the candidates’ own words …

Question: Is the school district that serves the people in your area funded adequately?

Hodge: Yes. Schools receive $11,000 per student (state average). Important: Parents now have LESS control over schools because of Sebelius and liberal judges – that must be fixed.

Faulwell: No. Based on two studies by the state, our schools clearly did not receive a fair share of state funding from the legislature.

Question: Do you favor funding all-day kindergarten for all public schools?

Hodge: No. Kansas cannot afford more government programs. Under Kathleen Sebelius, Kansas is ranked last in private sector job growth and ranked first in government job growth.

Faulwell: Yes. The people in the 49th District tell me they favor this and evidence indicates it helps children progress in school.

Question: Should lawmakers toughen penalties to punish those who knowingly, or through lax practices, hire illegal aliens?

Hodge: Yes. Democratic Gov. Sebelius signed a law granting in-state tuition to illegals. This encourages illegal immigration; I oppose that law.

Faulwell: Yes. Illegal aliens come to Kansas for jobs. Unfortunately the legislature defeated the Governor’s proposal to fine employers $10,000 for hiring illegals. I support tough penalties.

Question: Should the children of illegal aliens be able to attend state colleges and universities?

Hodge: X Poorly-worded question. Let’s enforce laws against illegal immigrants of any age. Democrat Sebelius’ “in-state tuition for illegal immigrants” law should be repealed.

Faulwell: Yes. We accept students from around the world. I am more concerned about the rising costs of higher education for the people of my district.

Question: Should pregnant, competent adults always be allowed to decide on their own whether to have abortions?

Hodge: No. I am pro-life. I will respect differing opinions. Democrat Faulwell is on the far left (received 95% rating from a Wichita partial-birth abortionist).

Faulwell: Yes. Abortion is a tragedy. I support positive alternatives to abortion. I support family, clergy, and medical support, but not government involvement.

Question: Except for human cloning, do you support embryonic stem cell research.

Hodge: X A poorly-worded question. Some scientists will use human cloning to produce human embryos. I fully support ethical research. Democrat Bond Faulwell supports human cloning.

Faulwell: Yes. I join with Nobel Prize winners and the health research community in wanting to improve human life.

Question: Do you support returning control over rights of way to cities as opposed to letting telephone, cable and other utilities bypass city regulations?

Hodge: X Something to think about. I would need to see the actual proposed law, and to see if it is best for the people of Kansas.

Faulwell: X I am unaware of the issue. No one in Olathe or Overland Park has mentioned this to me as a concern. I will seek local input.

Question: Do you agree with the Legislature’s decision to phase out the death tax?

Hodge: Yes. It is because of Republican leadership that the estate tax will be phased out.

Faulwell: Yes, as long as it is necessary to preserve family farms and businesses and we do not need the revenue.

Question: Should lawmakers put TABOR, the taxpayers bill of rights to cap taxes, on the ballot?

Hodge: Yes. Under Kathleen Sebelius, Kansas is $4 billion (with a “B”) in debt. I support requiring a super-majority of legislators before taxes can increase.

Faulwell: No. In a representative democracy the people elect decision makers who are expected to respond to citizen needs, including lower taxation. Representatives need to answer for their actions not hide from them.

Question: Why are you running for office?

Hodge: To help provide the best education for Kansans, to lower taxes, to decrease the size of government, and to uphold the Constitution.

Faulwell: I want to serve my community by offering a moderate political approach promoting public education, economic growth, business development, and affordable health care.

Question: Rank by importance your qualifications for office.

Hodge: Endorsements: Commissioners John Toplikar and Doug Wood. Elected in April 2005 to a four-year term as a Johnson County Community College trustee.

Faulwell: 1. Bipartisan experience at the highest levels of Government; 2. Knowledge of the district and the issues people are concerned about; 3. Not interested in a political career.