Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Chair Joan Wagnon: MY RESPONSE TO BROWNBACK'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS @ Kansas Democratic Party

Dear Michael,

The Governor's Inaugural statement, once again, is designed to make people feel good about him, his leadership and living in Kansas. But he ignores the reality that has been created by his policies of the last four years. He idealizes the family and ignores the alienation that people feel because of the hateful politics that have created such divisions in our state and country.

He says, 'we must substantially reduce poverty', but ignores that poverty in Kansas increased dramatically during his first four years in office.

He says, 'Too many people have not progressed in recent years, in many cases held back by an economy that is growing too slowly or an overly paternalistic big government'. And yet his tax policies have failed to grow the state's economy, and in fact, job growth in Kansas lags behind all the surrounding states. His tax policies have worsened the divide between rich and poor and have benefited the wealthy and well off while reducing programs for the poorer Kansans such as homestead relief for renters and food sales tax rebates. These policies are the source of the alienation that voters felt when they failed to register or vote or participate in government.

He says, 'we have to admit there is a crisis of the family in our country;' yet he defines family in such ways as to exclude same sex families and single parent families. They deserve protections in law just as everyone else does.

He says, 'Our culture is at its best when we protect and encourage the weakest.' Kansas Democrats agree; But Brownback doesn't want government involved in those protections. You only have to look at the drastic changes he made in state social services that have forced poor people off the welfare rolls and increased the numbers of children in foster care.

Kansas Democrats do believe that we should make Kansas the best state to raise a family and start a small business--we just call on the Governor make his actions meet his words; to examine his proposals in light of what he says he believes.

Governing, like raising a family, also takes character and courage, strength to meet obligations and accept responsibilities. Governor, we hope you find the character, courage and strength in your second term you need to meet the largest fiscal and constitutional challenge Kansas has ever faced.

Joan Wagnon
Chair, Kansas Democratic Party

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