This past election for Governor saw 869,502 votes cast. 50% of those votes, 436,306 Kansas voters, wanted some direction other than the one piloted by Sam Brownback.
This is not a mandate.
So why are the extremist allies of Governor Brownback acting like it is?
This week MainStream Coalition visited Topeka multiple times to testify both for and against legislation. At one hearing, opponents to a bill to make municipal elections partisan were given almost no time to speak. At others, legislation written by a coalition of citizens and education organizations was passed over in favor of a lobbyist's bill to further dismantle teacher rights. At another hearing, only supporters of "biblical" marriage were even invited to attend.
It makes us wonder just who are the citizens of Kansas being represented in Topeka? The people, or Koch Industries? Kansas is five weeks into the 2015 legislative session. In that short time, the Governor and legislative leadership have become much less cautious about disguising who they truly represent – and it is not the people of Kansas. Chalk up a few more victories for the ideologues and limited-government libertarians from recent battles waged in committee rooms (that no one outside of Topeka can see or hear, unless the Kansas Transparency Act gains some momentum). Losers include our public school teachers and students, advocates for equality, and champions of good government.
We are being ignored.
But it is time to make that stop.
Today, refuse to lose sight of the big picture. The plan remains to decimate public education, but with their "mandate," the extremists are throwing everything on the wall. Will LGBT discrimination stick? How about criminalizing teaching? What about no-license concealed handguns?
In just this week past, amendments were introduced to change how Supreme Court justices are selected, designed to make it easier for the Governor to hand pick the judiciary and make his education finance problems go away. Also, a bill was introduced to offer incentives to foster parents. This bill was ridiculed for making irrational demands of purity, but these were a smokescreen for one additional requirement: for more money, foster parents must take their children out of public school.
Don't let them get you frustrated or confused. Stand up to them for all the petty, insidious, ridiculous acts, but keep your eye on their other hand. MainStream will help.
Tomorrow, come to Topeka and stand on the side of love for Valentine's Day. Join Planting Peace and Equality Kansas to protest the the outrageous act by Governor Brownback, rescinding an executive order that had stood for seven years, singlehandedly making it legal to discriminate against gay and lesbian employees of the state. Be at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka, at noon. More information on Facebook.
Next week, come to our forum on the crisis in public education, or watch it online. Repeated cuts, ominous plans to throw out the education funding formula (rather than fund it fully), underhanded attempts to use taxpayer money to pay for private education... this session has just started and already public education is on the ropes. Nothing is safe in these uncertain times. At Colonial Church in PV, Thursday the 19th at 7, or online at our website.
Be active, be loud, let them know you won't be cowed.