TOPEKA, Kan. – Several Republican Kansas leaders met this weekend to tackle some of the tough issues facing the Sunflower state. The Kansas GOP came together at the Capital Plaza Hotel for its annual convention, and people from across the state participated.
Roomfuls of red this weekend in Topeka as Kansas republicans met for their annual Kansas Days GOP convention. Several political leaders were on hand, including Governor Sam Brownback who has faced scrutiny in recent headlines for tax cuts and state debt. Brownback admitted Kansas has concerns.
He said, “You have a number of issues that are facing the state.”
Brownback cited spending growth, Medicaid growth and a broken pension system. When asked how he plans to address those things, he offered what he calls a mixture of solutions that gives Kansas a revenue-positive, balanced budget.
“I put forward proposals to raise additional revenues, cigarettes, alcohol, and doing away with some of exemptions and deductions in the income tax code so you broaden your base,” said Brownback.
Attendees broke out into sessions to discuss those issues and both past and upcoming elections.
U.S. Representative Kevin Yoder of Kansas’ 3rd congressional district said, “The theme here this weekend has really been a hopeful Kansas optimism.”
U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina’s 4th congressional district was also there.
“I come from a red state in South Carolina and somehow or another, we’ve got to get the message that we’re not winning nationally,” said Gowdy.
Much of the talks were about President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address, rebutted by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa.
“I was very humbled and honored to do that,” said Ernst.
Other responses to the president’s speech included Gowdy who said, “He threatened congress more than the Iranians in his speech.” And Yoder who said, “Our focus is really how to stop some of president Obama’s tax increases, his efforts to increase spending, grow the deficit.”
The politicians also talked about the 2016 presidential campaign, especially with the recent withdrawal of candidate Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts.
“If we want to win the white house, we have to win nationally,” said Gowdy.
Yoder said the theme for the weekend is, “Republicans showing the country that we can govern. We can solve problems. You’re going to see us put forward bills that create jobs; that reform this cumbersome tax code that we have.”
Governor Brownback called the convention the “planning of offense.” He said, “It’s encouraging to see them. It’s encouraging to see them in a good mood and it’s encouraging to see them going to fight. We don’t like the direction the country is going. We have a different idea and here’s the way we think it should go.”
Some of the other things politicians discussed: the keystone pipeline, securing our borders, building what they called a strong national defense, and the protection of freedom and liberty. Part of the itinerary included a break from politics, with a viewing of Saturday’s Kansas State versus University of Kansas basketball game.
CLICK HERE to read Governor Brownback’s debt reduction plan.