Kelly, Schmidt differ on priorities at debate

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly tried to tie her opponent, Republican Derek Schmidt, to former Gov. Sam Brownback, while Schmidt tried to tie Kelly to Democratic President Joe Biden at Wednesday’s debate in Overland Park.

Kelly said her first priority after being re-elected would be to continue economic development, fund schools, continue road improvements and continue reforming foster care. Her administration reversed the cuts of the Brownback administration to schools and the use of state highway funds for other purposes. Kelly also said she would continue her efforts for Medicaid expansion.

Schmidt said his first priority would be to send to the Legislature a state budget to decelerate the rate of state spending growth that has occurred during the past four years. He said state spending was up 35 percent from when Kelly first took office.

While Schmidt said the influx of federal money into Kansas would not last forever and would require cuts, Kelly said Kansas is sitting on a $1.5 billion surplus with a large rainy day fund as a result of good fiscal management.

Several other topics also were discussed at the debate at the Double Tree Hotel in Overland Park. The debate was sponsored by the Johnson County Bar Association and will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday on KCPT-TV, Channel 19.

The debate was livestreamed at