Local candidates give students a taste of American democracy

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TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW)-- Educations issues topped the topics local students wanted candidates to talk about Tuesday night.

Candidates running for seats in the Kansas House, Senate and School Board gathered inside Landon Middle School for the Topeka Public School's Education Issues forum.

"It's so important for kids to learn,” USD 501 School Board Vice President Michael Morrison said. “They need to learn from the time they are very young that it's very important, good citizenship is about voting.”

Local high school students served as moderators, asking candidates questions on the challenges affecting public and higher education.

Students say education is a topic that hits close to home.

"It's still my future at stake,” said Topeka West Junior Liz Freeman. “People are still discussing things that very much affect me. Like college is coming up for me really soon and higher education was a big topic tonight."

The 20th State Senate District was the only race with both candidates present. Incumbent Republican Vicki Schmidt and Democratic opponent Candace Ayars, agreed the topics brought up at the forum were critical issues affecting students.

"I think you have to talk about taxes and budget and schools and those are the three questions they targeted,” Schmidt said. “I think those are right on target and they are the questions they should be asking.”

"They are getting ready to go to post-secondary education and I'm sure with how they are going to pay for that and how schools are going to be funded are uppermost in their mind,” Ayars said.

With Election Day around the corner, both women say they are ready for Kansans to make a decision.

"(Voters) are ready for change and new ideas and are certainly ready to have someone stand up to the Governor and his policies,” Ayars said.

"It's time to sprint and put on your tennis shoes and keep knocking on doors and meeting and greeting voters and certainly taking care of business,” Schmidt said.

Advance voting is already underway around the state. The Shawnee Co. Elections Office plans extended hours next week to accommodate voters.