Where I Stand
I believe increases in property tax above the rate of inflation must have voter approval and worked hard in the Senate to see that a bill doing that was passed. Keeping taxes low encourages businesses, especially small businesses, to grow in Kansas.
Providing adequate dollars to educate our young people is a priority and I supported efforts to increase funding for teachers and our classrooms. A new formula is needed to get more support to the classrooms and make sure that teachers are getting the resources they need. It must also improve the distribution of funds so that our school districts are adequately funded. (Video: Steve discusses K-12 education issues in this short video)
I was alarmed when the president said he wanted to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay Cuba and return these inmates to the U.S., potentially at the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. This would place Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties in the crosshairs of future terrorism. (see the video below)
Reopening the Woodlands in Wyandotte County was a high priority for me and I was able to get a bill through the Senate to do just that. The House didn’t follow suit this year but I will continue my efforts to see that it gets to the Governor’s desk. This will add jobs and be an economic boost by the area.
As a member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, I worked to see that the budget included more money for police training and an increase in the number of Kansas highway patrol troopers. I also supported a sweeping juvenile justice reform measure to help get errant youth back on track and keep them out of the prison system.
We have passed the most comprehensive welfare reform legislation in the country. Kansas has reduced its welfare rolls by 70 percent and the income of former recipients is rising. People that really need short term help should have priority and getting people training and back in the work force is the proper goal.
I supported all the prolife legislation that came up every year. I look forward to supporting Simon's Law that will prevent "Do Not Resusitate" orders on minors without parental approval.
I am a strong supporter of gun ownership and the right of citizens to arm themselves for protection. In past elections I have received the endorsement of the Kansas State Rifle Association and the NRA and I expect to receive it this year
Kansans for Life PAC
Kansas Chamber PAC
Kansas Farm Bureau PAC
National Federation of Independent Business
Past endorsements: NRA and the Kansas State Rifle Association
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No to Gitmo Move
Senator Steve Fitzgerald and more than 300 people attended a town hall meeting Thursday (9/3/2015) to oppose the idea of bringing terrorists from Guantanamo Bay Cuba to Ft. Leavenworth. Steve hoped a big crowd would show up and he wasn’t disappointed. Here is a video that captures some of what happened. (Video by Jim Sullinger Strategies LLC)
Facts You Might Not Know
Tax cuts implemented in 2013 are stimulating job growth. Since 2012, Kansas has grown its job rate from 1,398,474 in 2012 to 1,435,884 in 2015, according to the Kansas Department of Labor. Kansas has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. This comes on the heels of the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. A record-breaking 17,298 new business formations were filed with the Secretary of State's Office for 2015 (Kansas Secretary of State).
Because of increased economic activity, tax revenues increased by $133.5 million or 2.1 % over last year, but state spending increased by 3%, clearly our problem is not taxation but spending.
Kansas has the most money in its history devoted to public education. But a new formula is needed because more money should be getting into the pockets of teachers and classrooms rather than school administration. Public schools exist for the children, not administrators, and not the education establishment. As a member of the Senate Education Committee, Steve will be in a unique position next year to see that his schools are treated fairly.
Keeping Education No. 1
Despite what you see in the media, school districts are getting more state money next year. School funding was even exempt from budget cuts by action of the 2016 Legislature.