Name: Mark Samsel

Age: 33

Occupation: Attorney/Basketball and soccer referee for KSHSAA

Family: Single, no children.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?

1. My biggest goal is to inspire Kansans to change the culture in which we interact with one another and focus on problems and solutions to the serious challenges we face, such that all ships rise together. In going door-to-door, District 5 has made it clear that it demands a leader and problem-solver who is focused on moving Kansas forward, working as a team, and helping Kansans, rather than dividing our state with extreme political ideology.

2. Fixing our tax structure to provide a fair and balanced system that cuts the burden of property taxes and sales tax on food that hits most Kansans and our seniors the hardest, while making sure we return Kansas to solvency and restore basic state services such as mental health and transportation, all of which provide quality jobs.

3. Supporting our educators and students from early childhood education to K-12 to vocational and trade schools and higher education. We need to continue on our recent path of properly funding our schools and increasing community involvement and support as we prepare our students and citizens with a 21st century education.

What do you think is the biggest issue impacting Miami County residents at this time?

Continue to grow our economy and jobs, including in the construction, agriculture, education, and health care areas, specifically including Osawatomie State Hospital. It’s critical that we leverage growth from expanding infrastructure in the KC metro area to grow our local communities with good-paying jobs. For example, the intermodal in Edgerton and a new KCI airport provide strong opportunities for growth by continuing to use our Kansas values of hard work and integrity. Growing up on the farm and working other hands-on jobs, our students are well-equipped to fill the growing need for good-paying trades and careers, and allowing them to stay in or move back to our local communities rather than moving to KC.

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision that has again determined school funding to be inadequate, what strategies would you implement to find a solution to this long-standing problem?

Since 2017, as the Supreme Court recognized, Kansas has made great strides to properly fund our public schools, and is very close to solving this problem. The solution is simple: We must continue that momentum on both sides of the aisle to adequately fund our kids’ future. We can’t allow the 2018 election to reverse our positive direction.

What do you think of the proposed privatization options for mental health and the potential impact of this on Osawatomie State Hospital?

The Osawatomie State Hospital is critical not only to providing necessary healthcare for Kansans, but also quality and rewarding jobs in our community. We must work proactively to support and fund these services, which is why restoring Kansas to solvency and supporting basic state services are among the top reasons I’m running for public office.

How important is it to you that safety improvements are made to Kansas Highway 68 between Paola and Louisburg?

I have been traveling K-68 since we first started playing Louisburg and Paola in soccer when I was a child. It is an important transportation route for our area, and continuing safety enhancements are vital. This is among the reasons we must continue to restore our state to solvency and restore basic state services and transportation funding.

Why do you think voters should choose you?

I’m a problem-solver — an attorney by day and referee by night. I work to build bridges and bring people together to find common ground and solutions. I’m not running to be a politician, but rather serve the public and actually help people. Kansas is at a crossroads and has serious problems to solve. Just like on the basketball court or in the legal profession, understanding and empathy for all sides of an issue helps to arrive at a better solution for all Kansans--and for the Fifth District.

Name: Renee Slinkard

Age: 69

Occupation: Semi-retired business owner

Family: Husband — Don; Son – Jay and wife Christine; Daughter – Melissa Greer and husband Shawn Greer; 4 grandchildren

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?

1) Reduce spending in our Government and have transparency and accountability on what is spent. Start from scratch on budgets; this will show transparency on what is truly needed. We need to cut spending while cutting taxes. In the past, Kansas has increased spending while trying to cut taxes. It is necessary for both spending and taxes to be cut.

2) Stop sanctuary cities in Kansas and stop subsidies for illegal aliens. We have spent approximately $400 million a year on illegal aliens since 2010. These funds could go toward veterans and other needs, as well as back to the taxpayer.

3) Reduce regulations and red tape in businesses and more jobs will be created. The more costs in managing a business takes away time and productivity.

What do you think is the biggest issue impacting Miami County residents at this time?

Taxes and jobs. We need to have economic growth in our cities. Reducing the burdens of taxes and business regulations will provide economic growth. We also have to reduce spending in our government entities and stop the increase in taxes that are going on now. This will provide more money in taxpayer pockets. Kansas is one of the highest states in the nation on taxes and we have got to reduce this to grow our economy. One of the ways is to reduce government spending.

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision that has again determined school funding to be inadequate, what strategies would you implement to find a solution to this long-standing problem?

Kansas Supreme Court judges should not be deciding on funding for schools. This is a legislative issue. As I have previously mentioned, all government entities should go to zero base line budgeting; start from scratch on a budget, this will show transparency on spending. Quality education is necessary for our future leaders. Funding needs to go toward classroom learning and quality teachers.

What do you think of the proposed privatization options for mental health and the potential impact of this on Osawatomie State Hospital?

Privatizing the State Hospital is not good for the patients and the residents of Miami County. I would like to see the state continue operations at Osawatomie State Hospital in Miami County and should try to reduce outsourcing from other counties unless necessary, but do not risk quality care for the patients.

How important is it to you that safety improvements are made to Kansas Highway 68 between Paola and Louisburg?

Our Transportation Department has had money taken away to pay other debts, so it is necessary that we get back to better highways and roads.

Why do you think voters should choose you?

Getting back to common sense values for Kansas is necessary. We have well meaning people that think government can do everything and that is not true. My business-minded values and belief in limited government will bring Kansas back to a prosperous state where economic growth as well as a safe place to live will bring families and businesses to Kansas to prosper and enjoy.

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