State Senator Tom Holland and Representative Anthony Brown faced off in Eudora at the Meet the Candidate Forum.  (Photos by photojournalist Mark Moore)

Story by  Scott Rothschild,  courtesy The Lawrence Journal-World

State Sen. Tom Holland and state Rep. Anthony Brown traded sharp verbal blows Sunday over school funding, safety improvements on Kansas Highway 10 and tax cuts in the 3rd Senate District race.

Holland, D-Baldwin City and Brown, R-Eudora, faced off in a debate at Eudora Middle School.

Holland said the tax cuts pushed through by Gov. Sam Brownback and supported by Brown will lead to big cuts to public schools and higher property taxes.

Once the tax cuts take effect, schools, which have already been hit with state funding cuts during the recession, will see state funding cuts of $350 million to $400 million per year, Holland said.

“That will affect the future earning potential of your kids,” said Holland, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate tax committee.

But Brown defended the tax cuts, saying it will put more money into the pockets of all Kansans. Referring to Holland, Brown said, “His solution to everything is what? More money.”

The state is decreasing its individual income tax rates for 2013, with the top rate dropping to 4.9 percent from 6.45 percent. Also, the state will exempt the owners of 191,000 partnerships, sole proprietorships and other businesses from income taxes.

The Legislature’s research staff projects the tax cuts will create collective budget shortfalls approaching $2.5 billion over the next six years. But supporters of the tax cuts say the package will boost the economy and create jobs.

On school funding, Brown said two Eudora school board members told him that recent budget cuts in the Eudora school district were needed to cut “some dead weight.”

During a question and answer period, Bob Sailler, an eighth-grade English teacher at Eudora Middle School, said budget cuts have forced the district to lose 10 jobs, and have larger classroom sizes. He said the “dead weight” comment offended him and he asked Brown who were the two school board members who said that.

Brown declined to reveal their names.

Holland also said the tax package approved during the last legislative session was unfair, benefiting mostly wealthy Kansans, while eliminating for low-income residents the food sales tax rebate and a homestead tax credit for renters. “I think that is very shameful,” he said.

In his opening statement, Holland said when Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson sought help to improve safety on K-10, in the wake of a fatal accident, Holland responded with assistance.

Hopson has publicly criticized Brown, saying Brown did nothing to help get a cable median barrier on K-10 approved by the Kansas Department of Transportation after the death of 5-year-old Cainan Shutt. “He basically left us high and dry,” Hopson said of Brown.

But Brown said he worked “tirelessly” behind the scenes on the issue, and he noted a July letter he received from KDOT Secretary Mike King, in which King thanked Brown “for your ongoing concern to see this project through.” Brown said, “When you use the death of a 5-year-old to make political points, that is wrong.”

Holland and Brown appeared at the Meet the Candidate Forum, sponsored by the Eudora Chamber of Commerce and

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8 Responses to State Senate Candidates go head to head in Eudora

  • I am not into politics… But the comment about “dead weight” um, if it were your job on the line and someone thought you were dead weight, how would you feel to the two un named school board members??? Dare you to come forward and reveal yourselves on this question.. Also, makes me infuriated to see how some throw their money around to certain causes when people are going without, hmmmmm…. probably the reason why I had to open the store downtown, could not afford to do this on my own had to do something. There are some important causes to support that help our community, this is what I choose to support, not a bunch of candidates who give “lipservice” and say hurtful things like dead weight. Ever been without a job, how about homeless, on welfare, food stamps, living in a trailer, etc… How about all that…. Does anyone care????????????????????? Besides me… At least I can post my name and brave enough to do so..

  • on the comment dead weight I was not referring to the candidates making this remark. They say enough hurtful things during their campaigning, and God knows I am past sick of seeing their signs all over the landscaping, be glad when its over… I vote, but go on what I trust, what I gather, not what I read or hear on the streets. I gather my info a little bit different, I am whomever is for the people who struggle to make ends meet, and those who are still down to earth enough to still speak to us common folk and live up to the word.. Word to me is still the gospel, if you tell me your going to do something, like say support the clothing closet then I take your word, when you dont I call it lipservice. Just saying…
    This goes out to anyone over the last 3 years who has given lipservice to my worthy cause of helping our community. Not by building expensive bldgs without our say/vote or raising our taxes, etc. but by really stepping up and doing something.

  • I have a question.. How come they said they were going to use West after 2 yrs and now they are not, I realize at least two places use it but is this bringing the school district enough revenue. Is there possibly another way to solve the so called “dead weight” issue like sell one of the schools that sit there almost empty.. Put the historical museum and greenbush and whatever the other place is called ran by Bert Nash together in one bldg and sell the other to help out? There has to be a better solution, put a woman in charge of figuring this out, they are awesome at planning… I know that would make some of the good ol boys real mad though, so probably wont happen.. We have at least 2 prime locations for bldg on and they set there gathering weeds and dust… I love having the museum although I have only been once, and hardly ever see anyone there, but come on, does it need the whole school? When I asked to be in Nottingham with the clothing closet no was the answer and we are getting ready to tear it down, and then the bldg on the top of Main after 20 yrs of rumors of it being torn down for one reason or the other it finally was. It looks an awful lot like most of you dont know what the heck your doing? Does not make our school district a very great place to come if your a new teacher, having to always look over your shoulder and wonder is my job secure? or for the ones who have put in many years of dedicated teaching to have to worry if they are on the chopping block this year or next… Someone needs to get it together… I see some dead weight and it is not just in the school district!

  • ME ME ME, MY MY MY, I have it so hard hard hard… You talk about lip service and then you turn around and say ” word is gospel ” You might be better off not listing your name on here.. then not everyone will think your crazy

  • Blah, blah, blah… pot calling the kettle black… Your so funny. I bet you do a whole lot for the community.. WOrd is gospel, mine is anyway, when I say I am going to do something I am.. You may think I am crazy and that is fine by me, a lot of people sure dont and the ones that count most so blah blan on you. Let us talk about crazy, right. I dont give lipservice doe doe, everyone else does. like you. call me and we can talk about this personally..

  • I agree 100% with blahblahblah.
    The problem with Christine’s rants are they go on and on. It’s all about “woe is me” and “tooting my horn” and “look at what I’m doing for the community”. What you are doing is great and it is great for the community, but you really need to check your ego and attitude.

  • I would like to shed a bit of light on this if I may. I have personally known Christine for several years and I can assure all she is not crazy, just guilty of being a bit overly passionate in what she does. I believe when she read about the “dead weight” comment she became angry someone would be labeled as this. I have told her several times to leave her endeavors out of these types of venues but apparently to no avail.However to call someone crazy is a bit harsh and unjustified. She again is zealous in her endeavors and will work her butt off to find things people need. she hears a plethora of truly sad stories of job and personal loss so the dead weight hit her wrong. She really has no ego and her attitude stems from none of the local churchs being willing to help her get started and several occasions business people turned politicians and local city officials telling her they would help somehow with nothing coming to fruition. That is why the attitude sometimes erupts. It’s the forget you I did it myself syndrome we all can have time to time. Forgive my long windedness, I felt I needed to help fend off some of this hurt and try to lend a little understanding to this onslaught. Thank you. Nobodyspecial

  • christine zimmer: Is using here rights to tell the school district to p*** off and i like it,
    This district wastes SOOOO much money and is the most bogus i have ever seen. West EMPTY EAST 1/3 full , but yet they lied and lied and lied ” we need another school ” and cost us 45 million in total BULSH&T taxes… thats 45 million dollars yea 45 frikin million dollars !!!!!!!!
    Every single person on the school board is dead weight and should resign. NOT one does what is right for the district, just what makes them famouse with there 3 friends.
    It will be a cold day in hell when the district sells Laws fied or Nottingham or West, not one of those will EVER get sold, those greedy basta$ds wont let go of anything.
    any comments ?????