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Why the Citizens of Kansas Oppose Brownback

By Vickie Stangl
Advocacy | August 29, 2011

sam-brownback.jpgWICHITA, Kan. - Below is a running tally of the damage done to this state in just eight short months thanks to the Brownback Administration and radical republicans in the Kansas Legislature.

1. Supported action to sign Kansas onto the Virginia/Florida lawsuit declaring "Obamacare" unconstitutional. Even though President Obama won a decisive victory in 2010 on the promise of affordable healthcare for all, the republicans refused to admit they lost the general election and act as if it was treason for the federal government to pass such a dastardly, socialist inspired idea. Bottom line is the state of Kansas has many citizens who need healthcare. Protesting a duly passed piece of legislation by the federal government is sour political grapes and sticking it to the poor as you sanctimoniously claim it will hurt Kansans.

2. Vetoed funding for the Kansas Arts Commission after citizens rallied across the state and lobbied their representatives to save the arts. The Kansas Legislature listened to the people, and approved funding, only to have Sam wipe out the funding with the stroke of his magic pen.

3. Brownback maintained Kansas would still get funding from the NEA(National Endowment for the Arts) even though he wiped out the Kansas Arts Commission. Brownback was wrong; the state received notice it would NOT get matching federal funds from the NEA since the Governor's pet group-Kansas Arts Foundation, was hardly in a position to be trusted with taxpayer money without any clear organization or ability to prove it would not soon collapse.

4. Brownback refused a 31.5 million federal grant that would have been used in Kansas to set up a healthcare exchange to shop for competitive insurance providers for Kansas consumers. What a dope.

5. Brownback appointed former Speaker of the Kansas House Melvin Neufeld (R) to the Kansas Human Rights Commission . Neufeld made disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants.

6. Brownback appointed Wichita Attorney Richard Macias to the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts which of course regulates licenses for doctors including doctors who perform abortions. Macias is personally opposed to abortion and his notorious clients included the extremist anti-abortion protestors from Operation Rescue in lawsuits during the "Summer of Mercy" in 1991 and 2001. No conflict of interest there I'm sure.

7. Brownback signed into law new regulations making it virtually impossible for healthcare facilities providing reproductive services for women to remain open under the new state guidelines. This was never about the safety of women as patients but a not so transparent move to stop women from having safe, legal access to abortions and reproductive healthcare in the state of Kansas. This was about the religious right and pro-life forces in Kansas once again imposing their religious beliefs upon women instead of respecting their constitutional right to privacy and reproductive decisions.
On July 1, 2011, a Federal judge temporarily blocked state officials from enforcing the new licensing requirements for abortion providers. In addition to this, the Center for Reproductive Rights has also joined in this lawsuit against the State of Kansas.

8. Signed into law a smorgasbord of anti-abortion legislation: A ban on abortions after 21 weeks in Kansas based upon the pseudo-science that the fetus feels pain, and signed into law a bill requiring minors seeking abortions to obtain the consent of both parents (instead of one) or a court ruling.

9. Defunded Planned Parenthood : Currently the state is being sued for withholding funding to Planned Parenthood and has been ordered to continue providing funds until the matter is settled but the Brownback Administration is stalling and not obeying the law.

10. Signed into law a plan to prohibit insurance companies from including abortion coverage (except in life-threatening emergencies) in their comprehensive healthcare plans. If women want coverage, they will have to obtain a special rider but insurance companies could not even include this option under the statewide insurance exchange as part of the federal patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2014. The ACLU of Kansas and Mid-Missouri have filed a lawsuit against the state of Kansas for its comprehensive ban of abortions coverage. Stay tune.

11. Brownback appointed Ray Roberts, former Warden of the El Dorado Correctional Facility as the new Secretary of Corrections. Inmates have complained to outside groups such as Atheist Alliance and Great Plains Chapter of AU about Roberts before. The newly appointed secretary was accused of promoting his evangelical faith within the Kansas prison system for years while denying the same privileges and recognition to atheists or secular humanists . Brownback just recently endorsed a new program-"Out4Life" for parolees who would be paired up with mentors. The problem with this mentoring system is all the mentors are Christian. Looks like that little old thing called church and state doesn't get in the Governor's way when it comes to promoting and elevating his faith in government programs and policies.

12. Brownback reorganized SRS by dumping long time and respected Kansans in the department for out of state appointees. Word on the street is that SRS managers are running scared, trying to figure out their new jobs. Still they have time to take up the faith-based banner to yet again promote the Christian worldview while denying much needed resources to not-for-profits and other agencies that could do the job better and without the preaching. The reorganization was announced over the Memorial Day Weekend when everyone was busy and the administration could hide out for a few days. The new Secretary of SRS (whose salary was also increased) made no effort to consult with interested parties regarding the dramatic changes to SRS. A dictatorship is just so much easier than having to consult with the rabble.

13. Cries of financial woes in Kansas do not seem to be the case for the salaries of Brownbacks new appointees to SRS. The Kansas Legislature's nonpartisan based research staff reported that salaries of the top 40 manager increased by almost 10% while at the same time the department announced the closing of 9 local SRS offices to save $400,000. This move put 87 employees out of a job in Lawrence alone. Outraged by this very partisan move (Douglas Co. supported State Senator Tom Holland (D) instead of Brownback in the 2010 gubernatorial race)Douglas County is picking up some of the tab to keep a local office open to meet the needs of their citizens. Ultimately, it means the local taxpayers are still footing the bill for what the state should be ultimately responsible for in the first place or the Dept. should close up shop.

So, recap: to save money in the budget, the managers all had their salaries raised by cutting offices for the needy in the state. Nice job.

14. Within the Dept. of SRS, Anna Pilato was appointed as Secretary for Strategic Development and Faith Based and Community Initiatives. She served 5 years in the Bush Administration including serving as Director of the Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives at HHS. Ms. Pilato's salary is a whopping $97,500 for taking tax payer money and giving it to religious charities. You get paid for this unconstitutional work?

15.The Kansas Constitution under the Bill of Rights states under No. 7." nor any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship." I'd say faith-based programs are exactly a preference by the law to establish religion among the people.

And, just for the record, Kansas public school teachers would love to make a $97,500 salary, but the Brownback Administration also sliced and diced public school funding in their proud claim of balancing the state budget by balancing it on the backs of children, abused and raped women ,the poor, and the arts.

Meanwhile, Brownback has championed Christian/Catholic marriages behind closed doors with other state officials reportedly costing the state $13,000 in pondering how to bring back the days when people were expected to stay together in a loveless, unhappy marriage to make God happy.

For a more complete review of how the Brownback Administration plans to change the state's rules on marriage and divorce and encourage Kansans to marry or else:
See Peg Britton excellent webpage, http://www.kansasprairie.net/kansasprairieblog/?cat=50

If all of the above does not give you pause as a citizen of Kansas, keep in mind, I have only presented a short list of what the Brownback Administration has done. I have not presented a real breakdown of what all of these new laws and changes are costing in real dollars to the state's economy, image around the nation, and to the taxpayers of Kansas who are getting soaked, bilked and other wised rolled by this wrecking crew of individuals who believe the Puritans were on the right track if not for some bad publicity against witches.

If you care to rise up and rally in Topeka on Sept 16th between 10:00 - 11:00 AM against this new society being created by Brownback and Co., Kansans United in Voice and Spirit would be thrilled to welcome all Kansans to stand up against the Brownback Administration.

For more information about the rally go to: facebook.com/pages/Kansans-United-in-Voice-Spirit.


Considering that Kansas voters overwhelmingly elected Brownback either Kansans support a majority of his positions or the Kansas Democratic Party is completely utterly and hopelessly incompetent

David, you are, most likely, right on both assumptions.

Vicky, we need more people, like you, who analyze Brownbacks positions and are able to perceive his blatant theological answers, to all our problems, that do not reflect the 'Gospel' of Christ, recorded in the New Testament.

You may not consciously be defending the Gospel of Christ, but your criticisms of Brownback indicate that you value, what I believe to be, Jesus teaching about social welfare and responsibilities.

I think, David Glover, that there is a third option-that Brownback led a misleading campaign and people voted with their eyes closed.

Brownback might have ran a misleading campaign, then again the his voting record and statements as a Senator are public record. Which leaves the Kansas Democratic Parties failure to run a serious opposition to Brownback mostly to blame or a majority of voters really do support his policies

Don't forget about drastic, deadly cuts to education.

Vickie--Thanks for this rundown. Many of us knew Brownback was bad news for Kansas, and contrary to David's claim, many of us Democrats worked hard to get good candidates elected. However, Sam had name recognition and moderate Republicans voted for him without checking into his background.

I would challenge not just David, but anyone who reads this to get involved in working for good candidates and working with Democratic Party leaders to promote those good candidates. Too few of us are trying to do the work that should be spread out among many people. If you can't join with the Democrats, join with the moderate Republicans to get good Republican candidates elected. These things don't just happen in a vacuum. They happen because people stay on the sidelines when they should be using the shoe leather in precincts and neighborhoods.

If you want good candidates elected, get out and work for them.

I don't know if anyone really knows anything about this yet, but Brownback is starting to move all state agencies that rent from Democratic landlords to buildings owned by republicans. I'd like for someone look into this and see if the new landlords are saving the state money, or if this is just Brownback paying back his supporters while hurting Democrats at the same time. My money's on the latter.

Daine, as always you make excellent points in your comments. I would like to say that the problem with Kansas politics is that people vote republican without really paying attention to the candidate. As long as a candidate has an (R) in front of their name, they get elected. Kansans may be discovering that this does not mean you are selecting the most qualified person for the job.If you think about it, Brownback did not really have a track record in the Senate of proposing and passing important peices of legislation. Most of his career has been based upon his faith and how to use that faith to deny women their constitutional right to privacy. Everyone knew that Brownback had very little actual executive experience and had been out of the loop in Kansas for quite some time. Shame on those republicans who voted for Brownback because he was republican instead of looking hard at Tom Holland who not only had years of experience in the Kansas Legislature but was a businessman and strong advocate of education. It's hard to beat a candidate in Kansas with an R before their name and friends like the Koch brothers to make sure you get elected. Kansans deserve real leaders and right now we have too many officials who are in office for one reason: to serve their own careers abd convert everyone to Christianity.

Yeah, that’s it – scrounge up the most unflattering picture you can of someone you despise, post it, and then rake him over the coals – lame, but predictable.

Brownback – don’t know that much about him, but he sounds like a straight shooter. He’s anti-Obamacare, along with the majority of the nation. Sounds like he believes these art commissions, most of which promote a lot of garbage anyway, should come up with their own funding – that’s good too. He sounds like an outspoken Christian who hates abortion about as much as I do, and has the audacity to defund Planned Parenthood – like it should be. Good for him – and the state of Kansas!
How does he feel about the coal industry, a very important source of energy and jobs? I’ll also betcha he thinks gay marriage is an abomination – shocker.

Ya know, if it were up to me, I would gladly take Brownback off your hands in exchange for the old washed up, throwback left-winger occupying the Governor’s mansion in my state – along with the rest of his cronies – no questions asked.

Aren’t all you left-wingers kinda out numbered, like fish out of water, in a red state like Kansas?

Hmmmmm ?

Doesn't indicate any great wisdom for the majority!

Kansans are very strong supporters of Farm Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. Both of those organizations are in bed with the ultra conservative right wing of politics.

The moderate Republicans and Democrats lost badly in our last election. But, I'm thinking Brownback's agenda might allow us to gain in the next election.

Jonathan--Your name calling and use of ad hominem attacks will do little to convince anyone of the legitimacy of your arguments. For example, you have no way of knowing what kind of art the arts commission promoted. I do know that much of the work of the arts commission allowed small Kansas towns to have workshops for school kids and community projects such as plays and art shows. I have benefited from the Kansas Arts Commission works, as have other poets, by being part of the 150 Kansas Poets project, which was organized by the Kansas poet laureate. I also was able to read my poetry at the month-long Salina poetry reading series in honor of poetry month in April.

I also benefit by being able to go to the Wichita Music Theater to see plays that are staged as well as anything on Broadway. The Kansas Arts Commission helped support that.

As for abortion, we're all entitled to our own opinion on that issue. However, because of Planned Parenthood and its low-cost services, women are able to keep from getting pregnant in the first place.

As for the so-called "Obama-care," members of my family are already benefiting from it. When all the phases come into effect in the next few years, we the people will begin to see a power shift in who makes decisions about our health. Right now, that power is in the hands of health insurance companies, which have profits as the bottom line. When doctors and their patients get that power, decisions will be made on what is best for us health-wise.

Do some research. Expand your horizons. Use facts rather than logical fallacies.

Oh my goodness. Crazy right-wingers, losers, Jonathan no-name, teabaggitis, and sexist jerk – do any of these terms and phrases ring a bell? Now Ms. Wahto, we should ALL tread more carefully when making the accusation of “ad hominem” like name calling and attacks. One does not want to come off as hypocritical – or thin skinned.

To Diane & Jonathan (and, all of us sometimes)

Name calling and personal vendetta attacks are childish and, at best, sophmoric.

Left wing, liberal, and progressive are political identification, as is, right wing and conservative. There are radicals and extremists in all those categories. They are, really, generic terms for Democrat or Republican, most of the time.

Diane, I agree with you on most all issues. We can disagree (and do) on some and still be friends.

Jonathan, I disagree with you on most issues. However, I do, occasionally agree with you. We can also be friends.

Friends don't nit pick and name call every time one or the other is dissappointed.

Most of us have legitimate reasons for our political, religious, moral, and ethical opinions and boundaries. Those reasons are: First of all, based on our own personal experiences and needs. Secondly, they are based on our committment to society and the needs of society. On that second reason, we have very differing opinions on how to meet the needs of society, and just how much personal responsibility we have for our fellowman.

Jonathan, the nation is very narrowly divided in determining 'real' needs and how to meet them. There are some States just as lop sided toward Democrat as Kansas is toward Republican. Right Wingers are like fish out of water and kinda outnumber in a few of the Blue States.

Freedom of speech, religion, and protection of individual rights should be the goal of every citizen of our United States. Communist style socialism or unchecked capitalism will neither one guarantee freedom of speech, religion, and protection of individual rights. I don't think very many of us want unchecked capitalism or communist style socialism. Our nation has successfully navigated between those two extremes for over two hundred years and I believe we can continue down the middle for another two hundred years. There has always been a minority (or losing party) that isn't happy with everything. Sometimes it is logistically too close to call as to who is the minority. That is how it has been for the last several elections.

I enjoy the spirited give and take and expressions of differing opinions in Kansas Free Press and Everyday Citizen. Let's keep it civil and we can all enjoy the dialogue.

Mea culpa, Jonathan--and Ken--for my offenses. I still say facts work better than attacks any day. One thing I left out of my list of benefits of the now-defunct Kansas Arts Commission is the Lawrence Youth Theater, in which my grandkids participated for many years.

Music Theater in Wichita provided jobs for many people, including college students, and that money got spent here. Wayne Bryant, Music Theater executive director, put together a graph showing how much the community benefitted financially from Music Theater. I don't have that information anymore, but I can tell you it was substantial. Few communities can afford that kind of financial hit.

While I tend to vote republican and conservative I'm not a Brownback supporter. However I dont feel the democrats offered anything better. Neither party has a good plan on how to create more jobs. They only cater to their political bases.

If democrats want to oust republicans they have to offer something better. If not I'm sticking to voting for the republican.

Diane, Here in Johnson County there are several youth theaters that are privately funded and dont receive public money so I dont see why yours in Lawrence needed it. Also we have several professional theater companies (ex. The New Theater Restaurant, Martin City Melodrama) that not only do not TAKE tax money, but turn a profit for their owners and PAY taxes. I dont know about this Wayne Bryant music theater but again, I dont see why they need government money if they are in competition with private music theaters that dont. If it's as beneficial to the community as they claim they should have no problem finding local financial support.

I better tell you that I'm biased here because I see public funding for the arts going to support too small and narrow of an audience. So a theater that performs classical music or certain plays gets funded while a group outside of that crowd has to make it on its own. Why would the arts commission pay for a child's violin lesson but not rock guitar? Plus far too often certain arts group will get tax exempt status and so can keep more of their money than a regular group does even though they do the same thing. I've even seen competitive theaters go under because they could not be profitable going against a tax exempt group.

I hope Diane doesn't mind if I jump in here and reply to your remarks. First, Overland Park is a big area with many resources. Small communities do not have the deep pockets to donate and privately support the arts the way Wichita or Overland Park would be able to do. As for Music Theater in Wichita, they employee a large and wide ranging group of artists on a short term basis to provide quality performances for the Wichita Metro area. They do receive funding from a variety of sources including tax money. The sets, the singers, the actors, the publicity, the techicians for their shows have been fantastic but would be quite scaled back if they lost part of their revenue. Not everyone can travel to New York City to see a Broadway production but in Wichtia the Theater League gives citizens a chance to see really exciting (not amature) performances done as well as New York City. When it comes to the Arts, people tend to have this false notion ( I'm sure stoked by the conservatives) that is is an evil,liberal plot to take over America. The beautiful Kansas landscapes on my wall are not "liberal", they are simply beautiful paintings. I support the arts by purchasing lovely art for my home that also makes my home a more beautiful and special place.

Especially when it comes to children learning to play an instrument to attending band camp, I take great joy in knowing my tax dollars are being used for something so uplifiting rather than my tax dollars being squandered by war and corrupt officials in Afghanistan. I hardly see how this effort to bring music to children, to bring theater to a community is a "narrow audience" The arts are open to everyone. No one is barred from attending or participating but may do so at their leisure and how wonderful to know the community can provide discount prices or even free events to groups that really have a hard time at the end of the month with budgeting for something besides food and rent.

Art is no different from other businesses that receive subsidies or other not-for-profit organizations that enjoy tax money. Why just attack public funding for the arts when there are many other groups also getting tax money when perhaps a private company could do a better job than say a church charity or ideologically based organization that has a clear political motive.

I take great issue with the accusation that somehow the Arts are "liberal". Yes, there are people in that profession who are liberal, just as they are conservatives who are in the Arts: Reagan, for example and the arts can be provoctive, but at the end of the day the arts simply fill our world with beautiful music,color,ideas,stories,dance and sculptures that make our world far more civilized.

And, as for competitive theater, my sister-in-law ran "Eye of the Storm" in Minneapolis, a private small theater for 10 years and was very successful. Like any business, you succeed if people like your product, manage your books well, and know your audience. If we use the logic that competitive Arts companies can't succeed against those in the arts receiving federal or state funding and therefore, tax payer money should not be use to fund the arts, then we would have to apply the same logic to other businesses and deny businesses the support they demand to support their bottom line. Fine let everyone sink or swim-including the business sector then all will be right with the world and fair?

Amen, Vickie. As for others who get taxpayer-supported subsidies, I imagine Boeing would go out of business without taxpayer support, as would farmers. I do hope farmers continue to get their subsidies because it helps keep our food prices low. As for Boeing...well, all I can see is, a lot of people work there and make good salaries that they spend in the community.

First, you are mentioning 2 very different issues when you say you'd rather money go for the arts than to fight wars. The 2 are VERY different issues. One is a local issue (local funding for the arts) and one is part of the national budget. If you think for even one second that money going to buy bullets will magically appear to fund kids music lessons... well I just dont know.

Second, government supported art is NOT open to everyone because what they fund is for a select audience. Go to a concert and look around and see how little diversity is there. Now go down to a local dive and watch a bunch of struggling local kids garage band trying to make a few bucks and then come tell me about equality.

Third, Even small towns can have high quality, privately funded theater and stage companies if you have the people with the talent, vision, and drive to make it happen. Many of Kansas City's theater companies started out in basements and rented high school gyms (some are still there). For information on dozens of theaters in Kansas visit the site http://www.skyways.org/theaters/

BTW, you mention that poor sad theater company shutting down in Wichita and how it will leave Wichita without live theater... well look at the site mentioned above and it shows 13 other theater groups in Wichita.

Fourth and final, NO theater group that has good shows and is well managed will go under because of lack of government money. My wife and I are avid theater goers and I know good shows from bad.

The Family, The New Apostolic Reformation, Opus Dei...Brownback's fanatical religious zealotry seems to have no bounds. Read or listen the interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air.

People in Kansas who voted for him deserve him. Now that he and his Republican corporatist buddies hold all state offices, they have just one little problem: the economy is now theirs and they're going to run it into the ground. But, wait...there's the rapture that's going to happen before they're held accountable by their earthly voters.

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