OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and her republican challenger Attorney General Derek Schmidt met in Overland Park, Kansas, on Wednesday to debate over various topics that matter most to their constituents.
The hour-long question and answer forum consisted of hot button topics like immigration, medical marijuana, capital punishment, renewable energy and abortion.
“I am for a Kansas that has fewer abortions — not more,” Schmidt said.
On the other hand, Kelly disagreed with Schmidt.
“A woman’s medical decision should be made between her, her family and her doctor,” Kelly said.
In light of record-high inflation, both were asked how the state would address the on-going economic crisis.
Kelly stated she would propose another immediate elimination of the Kansas food sales tax in January when the legislature comes back.
Right now, the state has one of the highest sales tax of 6.5%.
Schmidt believes more could have already been done.
“What should have happened is, the sales tax on food today ought to be half what it is and it ought to be on the path to zero come January," he said. "That’s where it would have been if the governor would have signed in 2019."
Throughout the debate, Kelly hammered home the importance of expanding medicaid and also claimed the biggest threat to Kansans right now is the workforce shortage.
“It was workforce, housing, affordable childcare and it was water," Kelly said. "And those are the kind of things that Kansans are thinking about and those are the kind of things that my administration is working on to resolve."
Meanwhile, Schmidt stated his focus is on fiscal responsibility. He promised he would address record-high inflation and dedicate more resources to drug-related crimes.
“The flow of drugs across the southern border of the United States — it’s been methamphetamine for a number of years, it is now deadly fentanyl,” he said.
Many of the topics were also related to education and school funding. Candidates were asked about their stances on book bans, transgender inclusivity and college affordability.
“We have to have the kind of leadership on the Board of Education with a governor who focus on that intentionally that will say ‘Look, we are going to make sure we keep college affordable for Kansas kids and we keep access affordable.’ And that has to be an every single day task,” Schmidt said.
Kelly touted some moves she's made to make education more accessible.
“I have restored all the funding that have been cut out of higher education during the last administration you know that’s the kind of thing that helps keep tuition flat,” Kelly said.