TOPEKA (KSNT)- A controversial rule proposal from the Kansas Republican Party is ruffling feathers ahead of a major election year in 2024.
Opponents say the proposal would strip power from key leadership positions in the party, including women, Black and Hispanic members.
Kansas Capitol Bureau spoke with the Chair of the Kansas Democratic Party, Jeanna Repass, who says the proposal is “un-American.”
“What I can say is that I don’t think it’s ever okay to limit democracy. Quite frankly, it’s un-American to limit voices,” Repass said. “We welcome those voices, come join the Democrats, we’re here!”
Repass’ full comments will air on a Topeka-based political show “Inside Kansas Politics” on 27 News, Sunday, June 4, at 10:30 a.m.
The head of the Kansas GOP Rules Committee, which is set to put the proposal to a vote this summer, issued a statement to party members on Monday, blasting claims of excluding women and minority groups as “false.”
This comes after Kansas Republican Party Chair, Mike Brown, issued a statement earlier this month on Facebook, calling for the Rules Committee to meet and reconsider the proposal.
“As Chairman, the by-laws dictate my responsibilities clearly,” Brown said. “Based upon the concerns expressed to me and the impact the Rules Committee’s Resolution is having on the Party and its members, I have directed the Rules Committee to meet and reconsider its recent recommendation to the State Committee to change the makeup of the members of the Executive Committee. I believe this recommendation to reconsider will allow our Party to refocus on expanding our Party and winning elections,”
A party spokesman told Kansas Capitol Bureau that, as of Tuesday, no date has been set for the meeting.
According to the initial proposal, Rules Committee leaders said it would be to bring the group more in line with the Republican National Committee, which “doesn’t recognize affiliate groups or legislators” as part of their Executive Committee.
“I don’t buy for a minute that this rule was proposed to make the Kansas GOP look more like the Republican National Committee,” Mike Kuckelman, former Chair of the Kansas Republican Party said.
Kuckelman told Kansas Capitol Bureau that the proposal is likely a “power grab” from new leadership.
“It’s a power grab. I think the Chairman wants to consolidate more power to himself and this is collateral damage,” he said.
The rule change proposal comes as the party is on the heels of a critical election year. State lawmakers will be up for re-election in both the House and Senate.
Unity will be key for both Democrats and Republicans, heading into 2024.
“We want a bigger tent in the Republican Party, that’s how we win elections in this state,” Kuckelman said.