Editor's Note: This is the first of four in the primary election candidate profile series. It highlights the candidates for Kansas House of Representatives Ron Highland (I) and his challenger Gary Schuetz.
The candidates were asked about (#1) their reasons for filing, (#2) measures the state should take to recover from COVID-19, and (#3) how to foster bipartisanship. A fourth question, the candidate “soapbox” is online only.
Mr. Schuetz did not provide a photo for this profile.
Question 1: I filed for the position at the request of the leadership of the moderate wing of the Republican Party. They, like I believe that there are a fair amount of voters in the 51st district who don't necessarily align with the bases of either party, but lean somewhere in the middle, and I wanted to give them the opportunity to vote for a person who shares their views. Question 2: I think Governor (Laura) Kelly did a good job in being ahead of the curve nationally, and shutting things down, before it was fashionable to do so. This is reflected in the lower number of cases than most of our neighboring states, who chose not to do so. Now I think there is a balancing act between doing our best to limit another outbreak, and putting our economy and small businesses in a position to recover and succeed. I would listen to both scientists, and economists in trying to achieve that balance. Question 3: I think that adopting a more moderate, centrist position is a start. If either side of the political debate had all the answers, we would have ceased to have two parties a long time ago, and we would all be living in a utopia. But of course, neither is the case. I personally believe that the bases of both parties represent a small percentage of people who identify as either Republicans, or Democrats, and to only represent either extreme wing is to ignore the opinions of a large number of Kansans. Question 4: I believe we need to do more listening to poll numbers from the electorate, and less to the lobbyist organizations that take extreme and polarizing positions. For instance, I own a number of guns, I'm sure considerably more than the average citizen. But I agree with the majority of Americans who support expanded background checks. Does it guarantee that no one is ever going to use a gun for evil purposes again? Of course not. But if there is a chance that it can stop some, or even one person from taking another human life, what does it hurt? Most of us have nothing to hide, and taking a few minutes to get checked out wherever we are attempting to purchase a gun, is a small inconvenience if it could save a life. I support concealed carry, but I think issuing concealed permits without any training is stupid, and dangerous, and only pandering to the the extreme organization of a powerful lobby. If I have to go along with something I find ignorant to get elected, then a private citizen I will remain. Furthermore, I think the desire to open carry weapons into public places is nothing more than an act of intimidation, and I think we saw the ignorance of the law when assault rifle wielding protesters stormed the Michigan Statehouse. I'm glad the security guards showed restraint in allowing it to happen, as it is legal as is it in Kansas. But you're looking at a potential powder keg waiting for a spark to ignite it. Finally, it seems to me that if a person is deemed too dangerous to board an airplane for fear they will try to blow up the plane, then that person is too dangerous to purchase a firearm. These are what I see as common sense compromises that don't interfere with a law abiding citizens right to own firearms, while also respecting the desire of others to know that the person purchasing it is responsible, and trustworthy enough to make the purchase.