Professor, graduate student divided on social issues

The following article appeared in The Kansas City Star.

“Professor, graduate student divided on social issues”
The Kansas City Star
October 18, 2006

A Johnson County Community College professor and a University of Missouri-Kansas City graduate student are vying for the 49th District seat in the Kansas House of Representatives, a position vacated by Scott Schwab, who lost the race for the 3rd Congressional District seat. Democrat Bond Faulwell serves as adjunct associate professor of Political Science at JCCC, while Republican Ben Hodge is studying for a master’s degree in business administration at UMKC.

Neither candidate supports a Taxpayers Bill of Rights that would limit growth in state spending according to inflation and population growth. On social issues such as homosexual marriage, abortion rights and the death penalty, the candidates are divided along party lines.

If elected, Faulwell would focus on education. Hodge wishes to change state judicial selection to the federal model so that the governor would make appointments and the Kansas House would confirm the appointments. The 49th district encompasses much of southeast Olathe, bordered by Interstate 35 on the west and Overland Park on the east.

The following responses were excerpted from a questionnaire sent to all legislative candidates.

Would you support an increase in the local option budgets (the current state-imposed ceiling on the collection of local tax dollars) for Kansas school districts?

Faulwell: Definitely. If a community wants world-class schools it should be able to have them. I believe in local government and local control.

Hodge: I will support the ability of local governments to raise more money, if they so desire. Whether local governments should indeed raise taxes is another matter.

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade and allows states to decide the abortion question, would you vote to ban all abortions in the state and make it a crime for a woman to have an abortion and a physician to perform an abortion? In what instances do you believe abortion should be legal?

Hodge: I believe an advanced and compassionate society will value life at all stages – regardless of a person’s intelligence, regardless of disease, regardless of handicap, and regardless of whether a child had been planned for by the parents. I only support abortion in the event of an extreme health-related situation with the mother.

Faulwell: This issue has been discussed as a hypothetical for decades. Candidates have run on it, knowing they would never have to deliver. I do not like abortions – they represent a tragedy – and I will work to reduce them through promotion of adoption, providing better health care and education. If we prevent conception we avoid the abortion. Under no circumstances, however, should abortion be in the criminal justice system. We do not need to be putting poor women in prison for seeking abortions through back alley butchers while more affluent women travel to get safe abortions.

Should alternatives to the theory of evolution – like intelligent design or creationism – be taught in public science classrooms?

Faulwell: Creationism and intelligent design are not alternatives to evolution. Evolution is a scientific theory. Creationism, intelligent design and other cosmological and teleological arguments belong in philosophy classes. I do not believe the state should be teaching religion. This responsibility rests with the family and the church. As a Christian, I find the idea of evolution vs. Christianity to be a false dichotomy.

Hodge: I suppose leaving these decisions to the local school district. When I am a parent, I will support such teaching.

Do you support the state’s death penalty? Would you expand it to cover other crimes like child rape? In what instances do you think the state should put a criminal to death?

Hodge: I support the death penalty.

Faulwell: I do not personally believe in the death penalty. It puts government in the position of taking a life. We also know innocent people have been executed as well as placed on “death row.” Those unable to hire their own counsel are also more likely to receive the death penalty. However, I believe a majority of Kansans do support the penalty and it will therefore be continued. I believe it should be used rarely for the most heinous crimes such as mass murder by John Robinson.

Should schools be required to teach abstinence only in sex education courses? Should students automatically be exempted from sex education classes unless a parent or guardian specifically requests they be included?

Faulwell: I believe in abstinence plus education in other facets of sexuality. Preventing conception is the key to preventing abortion. I believe in opt-out, not opt-in.

Hodge: I support leaving these decisions to the local school district. When I am a parent, I will support my local school district teaching abstinence education, and I will support opt-in sex education.


Party: Democrat

Age: 51

Occupation: Adjunct associate professor of Political Science at Johnson County Community College

Education: Bachelor’s degree in philosophy, Grinnell College; Master’s degree in public administration, University of Missouri – Kansas City; further study at Harvard University and University of Hull in the UK

Public service: Elder, Presbyterian Church; Advisory Committee to American Red Cross; University of Missouri School of Administration; President of the Lenexa Jaycees; President of local chapters of the Senior Executives Association and the American Society for Public Administration; Associate Coordinator of the Combined Federal United Way Campaign; high school hockey commissioner.

Family: Wife, Shirley, two children and four grandchildren.

Endorsements: Political Action Committee for Mainstream Coalition, Kansas Families United for Public Education and Heavy Constructors Association.


Party: Republican

Age: 26

Occupation: Business administration graduate student at University of Missouri – Kansas City

Education: Bachelor’s degree in journalism, Kansas State University

Public service: Trustee, Johnson County Community College; Eagle scout

Family: Single

Endorsements include: Kansans for Life, Commissioner Doug Wood, Commissioner John Toplikar

A candidate forum for District 49 will air on Time Warner Channel 17 and Comcast Channel 22 at 8 p.m. Oct. 25. The forum can be viewed online at

For a complete set of questions and answers, go to and visit the Politics page.

To reach Ashley Brown, Olathe education reporter for The Star, call (816) 234-7729 or send e-mail to