Summary: While the nation largely felt a Democratic swing, Kansas’ state government remained quantitatively the same, as the ratio of Republicans and Democrats in the Kansas House and Senate didn’t change. Qualitatively, Kansas may have more of an ultra-conservative bent as some moderates lost spots in the Kansas Senate. The election results signal strong support for Governor Brownback[RFS1] in both houses.
KS Senate: 32-8 (Republicans to Democrats), same as[RFS2] last year. But 10 Republican and former state Reps. now can call themselves Kansas Senators. These members include a number of ultra-conservative Republicans, adding to the deficit of moderate Republicans that either retired or lost in the election. There are 4 Republicans that will be first-timers as Kansas legislators. KANSAS SIERRA CLUB won 8 of 17 endorsements.
KS House: The count so far is 92-33 (Republicans to Democrats), but there are a handful of tight races that may continue to count provisional ballotsor review votes. 70 of the 125 house members kept their spot as a state representative. 40% of the House will be new, first-time legislators (55 new legislators total, but 5 have served terms previously). KANSAS SIERRA CLUB won 20 of 35 endorsements.
SIERRA CLUB House Winners (20) [*=endorsed] SIERRA CLUB Senate Winners (8)
District #3 Julie Menghini (D), Pittsburg District #2 Marci Francisco (D), Lawrence
District#10 John Wilson (D), Lawrence District #3 Tom Holland (D), Baldwin City
District #22 Nancy Lusk (D), Overland Park District #7 Kay Wolf (R), Fairway
District #33 Tom Burroughs (D), Kansas City District #18 Laura Kelly (D), Topeka
District #34 Valdenia Winn (D), Kansas City District #19 Anthony Hensley (D), Topeka
District #37 Stan Frownfelter (D), Kansas City District #20 Vicki Schmidt (R), Topeka
District #41 Melanie Meier (D), Leavenworth District #29 Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D), Wichita
District #44 Barbara Ballard (D), Lawrence District #31 Carolyn McGinn (R), Wichita
District #46 Paul Davis (D), Lawrence
District #53 Annie Tietze (D), Topeka
District #55 Annie Kuether (D), Topeka
District #58 Harold Lane (D), Topeka
District #66 Sydney Carlin (D), Manhattan
District #83 Carolyn Bridges (D), Wichita
District #84 Gail Finney (D), Wichita
District #86 Jim Ward (D), Wichita
District #88 Patricia Sloop (D), Wichita
District #92 Nile Dillmore (D), Wichita
District #96 Brandon Whipple (D), Wichita
District #103 Ponka-we Victors (D), Wichita
Interesting Facts regarding 2012 Election:
- Only 48 of 125 House members won their original district after redistricting and the election.
- Only 23 of 40 Senators were unaffected by redistricting and the election.
- Senate Democrats:
- Lost (2): Kelly Kultala of Kansas City, and Allen Schmidt of Hays;
- Gained new (2): Pat Pettey of Kansas City, and Tom Hawk of Manhattan
- House Democrats:
- Lost (8): Doug Gatewood of Columbus, Bill Feuerborn of Garnett, Jerry Williams of Chanute, Mike Slattery of Mission, Ann Mah of Topeka, Sean Gatewood of Topeka, Judith Loganbill of Wichita, Melody McCray-Miller of Wichita, Eber Phelps of Hays
- Gained new (11): Julie Menghini of Pittsburg, John Wilson of Lawrence, Nancy Lusk of Overland Park, Emily Perry of Overland Park, Virgil Weigel of Topeka, John Alcala of Topeka, Carolyn Bridges of Wichita, Pat Sloop of Wichita, Roderick Houston of Wichita, Tom Sawyer of Wichita, and Brandon Whipple of Wichita
- ALEC Members known in House (21[RFS3] ):
District #16 Amanda Grosserode, District #18 John Rubin, District #20 Rob Bruchman, District #23 Kelly Meigs, District #27 Ray Merrick, District #30 Lance Kinzer, District #48 Marvin Kleeb, District #49 Scott Schwab, District #61 Richard Carlson, District #72 Marc Rhoades, District #74 Don Schroeder, District #76 Peggy Mast, District #82 Pete DeGraaf, District #85 Steve Brunk, District #90 Steve Huebert, District #91 Gene Suellentrop, District #94 Mario Goico, District #98 Phil Hermanson, District #101 Joe Siewart, District #106 Sharon Schwartz, District #115 Ron Ryckman
- ALEC Members known in Senate (12):
District #1 Dennis Pyle, District #9 Julia Lynn, District #10 Mary Pilcher-Cook, District #14 Forrest Knox, District #16 Ty Masterson, District #26 Dan Kerchen, District #28 Mike Peterson, District #33 Mitch Holmes, District #34 Terry Bruce, District #38 Garrett Love, District #39 Larry Powell, District #40 Ralph Ostmeyer
Opportunities for Both Parties[RFS4] : No matter the party affiliation, the opportunity for environmental leadership exists for all legislators in the Kansas legislature. Economic, health, and environmental benefits await those who push for more water conservation, better and cleaner energy production, reviving energy efficiency programs, passenger rail transportation, local and sustainable food/farming, and smarter environmental regulations. Kansas is a beautiful state with many natural features and resources. We ought to compliment our great state by building a green economy and safeguarding our natural resources from corporate or government exploitation. Preserving Kansas (our home) ought not to be a partisan agenda, just a common sense decision.
What’s[RFS5] good for the environment is good for the economy: The Sierra Club supported candidates in this year’s elections who understand the economic benefits of environmental stewardship. Despite the electoral setbacks we’ve had in Kansas on environmental issues, the winds of change are blowing through our state. The national elections revealed how out of touch conservative extremists are—and how ready mainstream America is to be led on planning a future based on clean renewable energy and responsible stewardship of our water, air, soil, and wildlife. Hurricane Sandy has elevated the issue of climate change in a way that years of lobbying could not, though were it not for all of those years of effort and activism, Americans would not be as prepared as they are to recognize and understand the issue. Kansas faces vital issues of water conservation, clean energy production, energy efficiency, passenger rail transportation, local and sustainable food/farming, and smarter environmental oversight. Kansas is a beautiful state with many natural features and resources. We must continue working to educate the public about the threats to our natural world from over-development, irresponsible industrial and agricultural practices, and especially the need to shift our economy away from fossil-fuel dependency. We must also keep legislators on both sides of the aisle informed on these issues. Our supporters need information and tools to make the case, and our opponents need to know that we are building constituencies even among their own supporters to bring about responsible environmental practices.