Large Crowd Gathers For Candidate Forum

Local candidates on the ballot for the upcoming August primary election gathered in Salina Thursday night to answer questions.

Over 150 people gathered on the campus of Kansas Wesleyan University for a candidate forum, hosted by the League of Women voters.

To begin the evening, county commission candidates spent an hour and a half answering questions. They answered a dozen questions. Topics included jail overcrowding, the health department, women’s health issues, the expo center, voting machines, employee raises, and revenue questions.

County Commission candidates who attended include Robert Vidricksen, Jim Gile, David Nichols, David Smith, Mike White, and Randy Duncan. James Weese could not attend, but had a proxy there in his absence. Barth Crouch also could not attend. He chose not to have a proxy. Democrat Courtney Train was also at the event. She did not participate because she is not facing a challenge in the primary election.

After a short break, two candidates for Senate District 24 spent an hour answering question.  Randall Hardy and John Price both participated. Incumbent Tom Arpke is also on the ballot, but did not attend because of a prior commitment.  Democrat Don Merriman was also at the event. He did not participate because he is not facing a challenge in the primary election.

Hardy and  Price answered numerous questions. Questions included things like education issues, gun laws, health issues, marijuana, and the minimum. Both candidates were critical of Governor Sam Brownback, and of Tom Arpke for supporting the governor’s education and tax policies.

Price was also critical of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Price said “I have no respect for the man, none whatsoever.” Price, a current county commissioner, said that he has reached out in that capacity to Kobach multiple times for guidance with local election issues. He said that Kobach has never once responded back to him.

Salina Community Access TV recorded the forum, and plans to play if back multiple times leading up the primary election.

The primary election in Kansas will be held Tuesday, August 2nd.