Questionnaire from Rep. Jeff Pittman, candidate for state Senate, 5th District

Name and office sought
Rep. Jeff Pittman, seeking state Senate District 5, Democrat
http://www.votepittman.com

Age
49

Occupation and experience

I am currently a supply chain engineer at a software company. I have worked there applying algorithms, technology and industry best practices to save companies hundreds of millions of dollars, while enabling them to deal with major disruption and uncertainty.
I was formerly a big data technology consultant, focused on creating data intersections and analytics used to help drive insights into companies bottom lines. My wife and I also have a small business around property rentals.
Serving two terms as a state representative, my experience and education have helped position me well for handling the current state challenges around budgets, technology and working through the challenges of the pandemic.

Education

Graduated high school, Leavenworth High
Bachelors of Arts Degree from NCF
Masters in Engineering, MIT
Masters in Business Administration, Oxford University, UK

Organizations, clubs, groups to which you belong

VFW Post 56 Auxiliary Officer;
Honorary Member of American Legion Post 94;
Rotarian;
Criminal Justice Chair of the Leavenworth Chapter NAACP;
Member of the Lansing High School Site Council;
PTA;
Ducks Unlimited Leadership team;
Member Chamber of Commerce of Leavenworth/Lansing;
Member Chamber of Commerce of Bonner Springs/Edwardsville;
Member Chamber of Commerce of KCK ;
Board member of Unity in the Community;
Past board member of the Leavenworth County Humane Society;
Leavenworth Main Street Investor (Downtown development organization);
Parents As Teacher Advisory Board;
Member of Leavenworth County Mental Health Task Force;
Member of Kansas Information Technology Executive Council;
National Legislator of the year from Educational Theatre Association;
Kansas Legislator of the Year from Kansas Thespians;
Buffalo soldier award from the Local Buffalo Soldier Club;
Richard Allen Cultural Center member;
Leavenworth/Lansing Young Professional Club member;
Leavenworth County Historic Society member;
Traveling Youth Baseball 13-14 coach
Leavenworth-Wyandotte Caucus;
Democratic Military & Veterans Caucus;

Endorsed by:
Firefighters #64 Covering EMT and Firefighters in LVCO, WYCO and Edwardsville;
Fraternal Order of Police #4;
Fraternal Order of Police #40;
Kansas Mental Health Coalition;
Kansas Hospital Association;
KNEA Teachers;
KC Biz Pac of the Greater KC Chamber;
Main PAC;
3.14 Organization Promoting Science in Politics;
Equality Kansas;
Laborers 1290;
Operators 101;
IBEW Local 51;
UAW local 31;
AFL-CIO;
Kansas AFT;
SMART;
KSRA;
and more

Reasons for running

The state Senate needs a change. I have enjoyed my time as a state Representative and developed skills and understanding I can bring to this broader area, my home town area, in the state senate. We need more voices like mine of moderation and of solutions. I have fought for and will continue to build on a proven track record of supporting properly funded public education. During this time of crisis, we need proven, trusted, reliable leadership, and that’s what I bring. We need to make sure that people can go back to work, that they can reopen their businesses, and we need to do it so that everyone feels safe. From our manufacturing industries, to small businesses in our downtown. We need to make sure businesses have access to the capital they need to stay afloat, and we support workers getting back employed as long as they are safe, so they can provide for their families.

What are the three most important issues facing this district and how would you handle them?

One of the biggest issues facing us now is getting through this COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has hit our jobs and businesses hard. Making sure our citizens are safe, and balancing that with ensuring our economy gets ramped back up. Small business needs access to capital. Our schools are affected by it; our ability to provide for our families is affected by it; our socializing is affected by it. By working together we can recover from this and pandemic and move our economy forward. My professional background is in helping businesses find innovative solutions to challenges they are experiencing. I am uniquely qualified to help our local businesses navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and get our economy thriving again.

As I talk to citizens at the door (at a distance), I also see affordable healthcare as a major challenge for our citizens who are not retired military. Whether it’s those on a fixed income facing increasing pharmaceutical costs or workers making minimum wage who can’t take care of their chronic conditions, healthcare costs are making access increasing difficult for many people. Rising healthcare costs drive workers from local businesses to bigger businesses that offer health insurance benefits—and that makes it harder to find stable workers in local businesses. An educated workforce is good for business. I stepped up before to ensure our education system was funded and provided every student an equitable education no matter their zip code. We face a new crisis as students go online for education during COVID. Students who are most at risk are even more at risk. Whether access to internet, quality of homelife, self-discipline or unfortunately abuse, we must work toward better solutions and be willing to flex our public education system.

Lastly innovation fuels growth. We need to encourage entrepreneurialism and business to business innovation. Collaboration between local businesses fosters cross-marketing and regional identity building. Unaffordable healthcare plagues many people. Simply stated, the Chambers of Leavenworth and KCK have jumped on board and understand that Medicaid expansion is a workforce development tool and infrastructure stimulus. We have given up $4 billion in federal funding over five years. It’s time to get past the politics in the Senate and move forward. Regarding fostering growth, the government should have bipartisan stability. We must foster innovation, show economic leadership and develop strategic long term plans in conjunction with local, state and federal partners.

If you are an incumbent, list your top accomplishments in office. If you are not an incumbent, what would you change if elected?

The state of Kansas was in a financial crisis with our credit rating dropping 3 times in 18 months during Governor Brownback’s tax experiment. I promised to put fiscally responsible measures in place to properly fund public education, support funding our KPERs promise to the people, supporting investment in roads and I kept that promise. I have served on the following committees: Veterans and Military Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation, Publics Safety Budget, Joint Committee on IT, and the Information Technology Executive Committee. I have sponsored in my time over 18 bills, many bipartisan in nature. I was a key driver in the Cybersecurity Act creating a framework for security. I positioned amendments for COLA (cost of living adjustment) increases in KPERs repeatedly. I brought forward increased funding amendments to meet our federal special education funding requirements. I fought to ensure Corrections workers infected with COVID that died would have automatic death benefits for their families from workers comp. I repeatedly fought to get rid of the sales tax on food, and to allow itemization of tax deductions at the state level, even when taking the federal standard deduction. And being from Leavenworth, I introduced numerous bills, one of which ended up working in the budget to stablize lottery fund disbursement resulting in hundreds of thousands more each year to be used for military service organizations like VFW and American Legion, giving restitution to Native American veterans and being the first to introduce two bills that would start the process of bringing a new veterans home to Northeast Kansas.

Have you run for elected office previously? When, results?

Yes, I’m proud to have been elected in a general election twice for Kansas State Representative. My first term was in 2016 when I promised to reverse Governor Brownback’s tax experiment and we did so. I was then re-elected in 2018. Raising my family here with my wife Holly, we have been heavily involved in our community. I understand the unique needs of our area. I have worked on behalf of my constituents every day. I hope for your support as state Senator.

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