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Steve Fitzgerald

I call on my opponent to repudiate the blatant lies in mailers and robo-calls stating that as treasurer of the Republican Party of Kansas I was investigated for mishandling funds. THIS IS WRONG – AND A LIE. The Chair of the Republican Party of Kansas has issued a press release denouncing these lies.

When I took over as treasurer, I discovered problems with party records and reports which I reported fully and publicly to the party convention.

Working with the rest of the party leadership, I helped put in place procedures that restored confidence in the party’s records and reports and helped to move the party from a deficit to a positive balance when I ended my elected term. My efforts were complimented by the Federal Election Commission after they audited our records.

In short, there was never even an allegation of mishandling of funds by anyone and certainly not by me. There was an audit resulting from very poor record keeping and reporting by a previous administration and I was instrumental in correcting the problem which had completely occurred before I took office.

The continued attempts of my opponent’s camp to misinform the voting public and to besmirch my character are not helpful to the democratic process and I ask her to renounce these dirty tactics.

~Steve Fitzgerald

Francie and I value education. Our five kids have gone to Lutheran, Catholic, and Public Schools. Our daughter is a public high school teacher. I have served on the Catholic and the Public School Boards.  I strongly support the best possible education for all of our children in Kansas. What I do not support is simply throwing money at education – or any program – and not getting the results that we deserve.

Kansas students deserve a good, adequately funded education. The focus must be on the student and the quality of the education – not just spending more. The taxpayers also deserve proper use of their money.

Unfortunately, most of the discussion about education in this election is about funding. That would be good if it were about how much is enough and what sort of results are we seeing. However, there has been almost no attention paid to finding better ways to address our education problems and how to provide increasingly better education.  Instead, there are stories of drastic cuts that have happened or are happening or will happen and the terrible consequences. This is just blatant fear mongering and it is being fed by some in the teachers’ union as well as the school districts. These are the people who want the money – they are also the same people who do not want the accountability for performance – or transparency as to where the money has gone.

We need better education approaches with more clearly defined goals and better measurements. Funding must be adequate to achieve those goals. Important to the appropriate approaches is local control, parental choice, focus on individual students, more respect for the profession of teaching and the individual teachers and building principals. Education must not continue with the current, increasingly bureaucratic, top-down, one size fits all, cookie cutter approach.

First, take a look at a recent exchange between my opponent and myself.

 

My opponent referred to “drastic cuts” in education since 2008. Here is the chart of funding for Unified School Districts showing various sources of funding and not counting private donations. At no time since 2007 has per pupil funding dropped below $12,000. Prior to 2005 it had been below $10,000 dollars. Clearly the steep increases of 2006, 2007, and 2008 have not been continued. This hardly constitutes “drastic cuts” especially considering that K-12 education is almost sixty percent of the state general funds budget – and state revenues have been reduced by the economic recession. What my opponent fails to say is that all but one of the cuts she refers to were done under a Democrat governor and while she was in the legislature. Yet, she somehow wants to blame the current administration and me for her own failed record.

But with all the increases in spending that we have seen in more than a decade we have seen virtually no increase in student scores. Since 1998 spending per pupil has almost doubled while all measures of student performance have remains essentially the same.

The increases in spending have more than compensated for inflation – much more – as shown on the chart below.

So, where is the money going? That question is not really answered in the chart below as it is not clear what is in each of the categories but it seems that funding of “instruction” has been rising pretty well as in 2011 it is over nine thousand a pupil while in 2005 it was under six thousand – a huge increase. But spending on instruction is not keeping up with the pace of increase in overall spending. In other words, the schools seem to not be getting the money to the classroom because of other priorities. As mentioned, what is in each category is not clear and the composition of the categories could be different in each year – and in each reporting district.

Let’s take a look at the history of school funding at the local level. The chart below reflects two things only: headcount by year and spending by year for the Leavenworth School District. I am proud of the school district and I can brag on the district for many things – and I often have. My children graduated from Leavenworth schools and got fairly good to excellent educations – a lot depends on the child.

We should keep in mind that Leavenworth has large special education expenditures – and has for all the years covered by the chart. Nonetheless, the chart reflects total expenditures against total attendance with information from the Kansas Department of Education.

Yet, Leavenworth School District is one of the districts using taxpayer money to fund a lawsuit against the taxpayers of Kansas for more money.

We should be talking about how to get more students performing better, more students completing successfully, more students achieving at the top of their capabilities. We should be finding ways to let teachers actually practice their profession, ways for building principals to do their jobs better.  Instead we are locked into satisfying the never ending demand of the union and its allies for more and more and more while they hold our children’s futures hostage.

Money is not the problem and money is not the answer.  Education must be adequately funded but we cannot ignore our responsibilities by just writing bigger and bigger checks. We must demand better value for our money – for our kids. We can do better and we must. Our children’s future and ours depends on it.

Fitzgerald – Gilstrap

What’s the Difference?

Many people have been wondering just what the difference is between myself and Mark Gilstrap.  It is in fact a very good question; one I hope to shed some light on here.  Both Mark and I are pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment Republicans.  The real difference between us lies in our positions on the government spending, support to small business, and illegal aliens.  Allow me to explain those differences and why we need a different kind of leader in the State Senate.

 

Pro-Life? – We are both endorsed by KFL

I am a co-founder of the local chapter of the KFL, the pro-life coordinator for my church, and a frequent pro-life writer in local newspapers.

 

Pro-Gun? – We both have been rated “A” 

NRA and KSRA have given us both an A rating. I am strongly in favor of recognition of our Constitutional rights regarding firearms.

 

Government Spending, Support for Small Business? – Big difference

In 2008 Mark was rated by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) as being the worst senator in Kansas. Mark scored a 50 – no senator scored lower. But Mark had often scored low on such ratings. Kansas Taxpayer Network scored him at a 20 one year and even 10 another.  I started two small businesses – creating jobs that provided income to Kansas families. In 2008 while Mark was getting low scores, I was endorsed by NFIB.

Illegal Aliens? – We have a different history

Mark voted in 2004 to provide instate tuition to illegal aliens and in 2008 he helped to successfully defend it against an act which would have ended it – while at the same time denying this benefit to ROTC cadets who are American citizens. 1 He now claims he voted in 2008 to end all benefits for illegal aliens – but that vote was on an  amendment that was never going to pass and everyone knew it.

Leadership – Making a difference, getting things done

 Leadership is setting goals and objectives and finding ways to achieve them – getting others to help. Starting businesses demanded leadership. I helped start the local Kansans For Life, co-founded The Leadership Series for Republican men, and am working to unify the Republican Party for victory in 2012.

Experience                                                                       

My experience is as an Army officer and a businessman in the private sector and in grass roots Republican political activity. I have been elected to the school board and as vice president of the school board. I have also been elected as the treasurer of the Kansas State Republican Party.            

             

Summary

When did Mark start claiming to be a conservative Republican? In 2008 Mark was all about being a Democrat, claiming “I’ve been in the senate for 12 years [as a Democrat].  I haven’t changed” and “a more than 92 percent agreement between the votes of [Senator] Hensley [Democrat Minority Leader] and himself. “2   But, after the Democrat voters handed him a 22% defeat he changed parties.

Win or lose, I am and I have been the Conservative Republican candidate for the 5th District Senate seat. My positions have not changed – my affiliations have not changed. The real difference between us is that with me you can be sure of who and what you are voting for.

1 Journal of the Kansas Senate, Wednesday, March 26, 2008

2 Basehor Sentinel, Thursday, July 17, 2008

The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken.  “Obamacare” is Constitutional and it is the law of the land.  The issue is settled and done, right?  Not a chance!

The reason the Supreme Court said Obamacare is Constitutional is because it falls under Congress’ power to levy taxes. No matter how many times the Obama administration and the Democrats try and hide or downplay it by calling it a “penalty” or a “payment” or an “investment” the MANDATE that every citizen must purchase health insurance is a tax. And a HUGE one at that. In fact, it is THE largest tax increase in US history.  Yes, you read that right.  This President is responsible for the largest tax increase in history–  and that’s beside the MOUNTAIN of debt he’s accumulated AND the Bush Presidency tax cuts he is allowing to lapse (which is the second biggest tax increase if it lapses).

But regardless of whether or not it is called a penalty or a tax, it is an attack on YOUR liberty, YOUR freedom, YOUR property. Definitions of the word MANDATE include: an official or authoritative command; an order or injunction; an often controversial government requirement for the purchase of goods by individuals; an obligation handed down by an inter-governmental body. A MANDATE, by definition, is an attack on YOUR freedom and liberty to do as you choose.

At its core, this legislation is a massive overreach by our federal government into our personal lives.  Government emanates from the power of “We the People” and the Constitution describes the powers of a REPRESENTATIVE government that “We the People” loan it from our power, our rights and how “We the People” intend to limit it.  When the federal government exceeds its bounds it’s up to the people to correct the government’s over-reach.  Under the 10th Amendment in the FEDERAL constitution Kansas has an obligation to defend its residents from federal government intrusiveness and imposition as it states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The federal government has a role.  It needs to provide for the common defense, to regulate interstate commerce, to protect our currency, provide for post offices and roads etc.  In other words, the federal government has the responsibility and authority to do for the common interest of the country what the States and “We the People” cannot do for ourselves. The decision and freedom to buy health insurance (or not to) is a personal one, NOT one for a FEDERAL government to dictate, and now MANDATE. Kansas legislators and we Kansans can solve our own problems and we have one last opportunity in the November election to do exactly that.

U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. ...

U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

The Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of Obamacare – at least part of it. But, where in the Constitution does the federal government, including the Supreme Court, have the authority to even address the subject? The real question is not what is in the Affordable Care Act or what the Federal Supreme Court says about it or what the Department of Health and Human Services does when implementing it. The real question is by what authority are any of them doing this?

Where is it among the enumerated powers of the federal government to dictate our healthcare or how we pay for it? The tenth amendment is clear: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Until recently the power of regulating healthcare and its financing belonged with the people and, to the degree the people of a state wanted it, with the several states.

We do not need an examination of the history of this over-reach of the federal bureaucrats – we need it stopped and we need it reversed. Yes, the cost of healthcare has skyrocketed. Yes, much of that cost is due to better technology and drugs which are more expensive. But, much of the increase is due to government programs that separate the patient from the ability to control payment as well as from the huge costs incurred by providing free medical care to illegal aliens and others. Healthcare providers are being stiffed for their costs and are passing it on to their paying customers. In short, we see how expensive free healthcare can be. Increasing free healthcare will only make all healthcare more expensive.

To a large degree, government caused this problem and federal government action to solve it has only made it worse to the point that they are now dictating who will get what and who must pay. This gets beyond healthcare to the unlimited power of the federal government. What next? Mandatory pet insurance? Why not. If it increases the power of the government over our lives and gives the bureaucrats more government jobs then it is not beyond them to cram it down our throats.

We have only one hope. That hope is that enough state legislatures refuse to allow this travesty to continue. We need states that are willing to stand up to the federal government and re-establish the constitutional limits on that government. Otherwise we have unlimited government and that is not what the American Republic is all about.