My leadership is driven by Kansas and American values.
Public engagement right now is negative and toxic, driven by the anonymity that social media provides. Yes, people have a right to be rude but people also have a duty to be civil. We must raise the level of conversation so that it honors common decency and leads to understanding.
Disinformation and misinformation have become a central element in Republican politics, so much so that it is accepted, expected, and even encouraged. Out of this mess have grown innumerable conspiracy theories that take an ounce of truth and wrap it in a pound of lies. Never in our lifetime have conspiracy theories been such a clear and present danger to the very fabric of our society. Leaders have a duty to call out conspiracy theories about issues related to the health of our people and our democracy, such as vaccines and elections.
When I was Mayor, I understood that there is no Democratic or Republican way to pave a street. Our federal government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, for the people—to solve problems for Kansas and America. Instead, our current Senators are more interested in obstructing. The focus for them is re-election, not good governance. We need to elect a new generation of leaders who will work together for the people.
Breaking Down False Dichotomies
Divisions, brought on by fear rather than facts, are ruling Kansas and America right now. The most critical issues facing our state and our nation are lost in a pointless culture war. It doesn't have to be either-or. We can do both.
We can protect the environment AND grow great new jobs
We can expand access to healthcare AND keep costs under control
We can protect the right to own guns AND keep our schools and communities safe
We can support the police AND hold individuals accountable
We can expand voting access AND keep our elections safe and fair
We can celebrate America AND learn from our history
We can reduce abortions AND protect a woman’s fundamental right to decide
We can manage immigration AND keep our borders secure
We can protect public health AND honor privacy
I firmly believe in a cornerstone of the First Amendment, separation of church and state, or a common sense way to ensure everyone can practice whatever religion they want, or no religion at all. I get frustrated with people who claim that their particular brand of Christianity is the only voice that matters, and I think it is important to push back on this narrow thinking and focus on our shared values.
In public office, I never have and never will lead with my particular Christian or United Methodist beliefs. I will instead lead with Kansas values and American values.