When voters head to the polls Nov. 3, they’ll have to decide between two candidates vying for the Kansas Senate District 12 seat.

Republican incumbent Sen. Caryn Tyson of Parker is facing Democratic challenger Mike Bruner of Humboldt.

In an effort to better inform voters, The Miami County Republic recently sent both candidates a series of questions, and their responses are printed below.

Name: Caryn Tyson

Age: 57

Occupation: While working as a software engineer and project manager for over 30 years, I continued my education, completing a Master of Science Degree in Engineering Management at Kansas University and Project Management Certifications to enhance my two Bachelor of Science degrees from Kansas State University — one in Math and one in Computer Science. Throughout my career, I have been recognized for work, including awards from NASA (National Aeronautical and Space Administration) and others for achievements, and teamwork. My problem solving skills and management background has saved Kansas taxpayers in securing cost-efficient solutions. My conservative values stem from working in my youth at my parents’ business followed by 25 years in the ranching operation co-owned by me and my husband, Tim.

Family/Interests: Tim, my husband of 31 years, and I are fifth generation Kansans, managing a fifth generation ranch — just one more important part of our lives. I enjoy spending time with family and friends when I’m not working.

If elected/reelected, what would be your top three priorities?

One of my priorities is to protect the Constitution. I will stand against government overreach and fight to protect our liberties and God given rights. I have been successful in helping to protect our 2nd Amendment rights, life, and free speech, while also passing legislation for transparency to give you a voice before your property taxes increase. The Governor vetoed this legislation at the request of taxpayer funded lobbyists. Many have asked me to work on this issue again, to override a Governor who stands between us and transparency. Another priority of mine is communicating with you. I want to hear from you and I will update you on issues in the legislature. It has always been my priority for a smaller more efficient government. Elected officials must streamline government to reduce taxpayer burden, especially during these difficult times.

What strategies would you implement to get Kansans working again and put the economy back on track to overcome layoffs and shutdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic?

It is critical that we promote capitalism over socialism and remove useless bureaucratic red tape in order to put the economy back on track. Capitalism allows for basic freedoms, innovations, and private property ownership, while socialism squelches liberty and innovation. Democrat Governors’ throughout the nation are promoting fear by their strict shutdowns and catering to extremist groups that promote socialism. I will fight to protect and promote capitalism. I will work to get our economy back on track by promoting legislation that reduces government bureaucracy and reduces some of the highest tax burdens in the nation, including sales tax on food, income tax, and property taxes. I will work on solutions for all Kansans, not government picking winners and losers.

What is your position regarding Medicaid expansion in Kansas?

Medicaid expansion, also known as Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, or KanCare expansion, that has been proposed by the Governor would force a tax increase or budget cuts on other programs such as education (which is approximately 60% of the state budget) or both. Currently, the federal government pays a large part of the expansion, but that is not set in stone. That could change and Kansas taxpayers would have to pay a greater percentage, possibly 100% — it’s happened before with federal programs. We need a Kansas specific plan the state can afford. Last year we passed legislation that allows the sale of customized health plans based on need and we passed legislation providing telehealth, allowing patients to video conference with doctors for an appointment. More innovative ideas like these and lowering the cost of medicines by cutting out the middleman will help improve our healthcare system.

What are your thoughts about the proposed K-68 expansion in the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program? Do you think funding will remain in place for the K-68 project in Miami County or do you anticipate funding will be cut as it has been in the past?

Transportation is critical for the Kansas economy, which certainly includes the expansion of K-68. Traffic has increased considerably on this highway and others. It is important that highways K-68, K-69, K-169 be a top priority for our state. The funding will remain in place if we have legislators who understand the need for safe ways to transport our families and transport products to market, including agriculture.

Why do you think voters should choose you?

My record in the Kansas Senate, strong Kansas values, and real-world experience make me the best candidate. I support our 2nd Amendment rights, I am pro-life, and I support your right to privacy. I have a proven track record and strong conservative values, which are needed now more than ever in this time of extreme government overreach and heavy tax burdens. I will not let socialism creep into Kansas on my watch. I have passion caring for those with the greatest needs, who are unable to help themselves. I will work diligently to represent you. Together we can and do make a difference. I ask for your vote. Thank you.

Name: Mike Bruner

Age: 69

Occupation: Retired teacher

Family/Interests: Travel, reading, exploring restaurants, spending time with my wife, children and grandchildren.

If elected/reelected, what would be your top three priorities?

• I will work to create a more positive and civil environment in our political arena. I was a negotiator for many years and learned that it is possible to be a tough advocate for a position and still work with others in good faith, find common ground, and work our agreements to benefit all sides. We need those skills and that attitude in Topeka.

• I will work on the basic quality of life issues including Strong Public Schools, Healthcare (including Mental Health) and Medicaid Expansion, Infrastructure including rural broadband, and protecting our children, elderly and disabled.

• I will fight to reform the tax system to correct the imbalance which burdens working people, the elderly, and small businesses and farms at the expense of those with very high incomes. I am very committed to reducing sales taxes, especially on food.

What strategies would you implement to get Kansans working again and put the economy back on track to overcome layoffs and shutdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic?

This is a science and personal responsibility issue more than a political matter. We must, as a community, practice the 3 Ws: Wash your Hands, Watch your Distance, and Wear a Mask. Viruses don’t pay attention to political squabbling or county lines. They function according to the laws of infectious diseases. We must adjust the policy to the science, not to wishful thinking. Until a vaccine is widely available, an almost universal compliance with these simple public health precautions will allow us to have a more normal level of social and economic interactions.

What is your position regarding Medicaid expansion in Kansas?

I have been active as a citizen lobbyist for Medicaid Expansion for some time, and it was the major issue that brought me into this campaign. The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas estimates that Miami County would see 492 more insured citizens, 85 jobs created and an annual economic impact of $3,292,000. It will benefit the people and economies of all six counties in Senate District 12.

What are your thoughts about the proposed K-68 expansion in the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program? Do you think funding will remain in place for the K-68 project in Miami County or do you anticipate funding will be cut as it has been in the past?

I am very supportive of the Eisenhower Legacy Program and completely understand how vital the K-68 project is. I might add, the neglect of our infrastructure and the “stealing” from the KDOT budget under the previous administration was unforgivable. I will oppose the kind of irresponsible policies which did so much damage to our schools, roads and bridges. As the Franklin and Miami County economies become increasingly integrated with the Kansas City Metro Area, the K-68 project becomes more essential to long term economic development. I absolutely will fight hard for it.

Why do you think voters should choose you?

If elected I will listen to and be available to the citizens of Senate District 12. I will study the issues, work hard to build positive working relationships with my fellow legislators. I will put the public before party, cooperation before conflict, and work hard for those who can’t afford to make large campaign contributions or hire professional lobbyists. I will advocate for the citizens of Senate District 12.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.