Kansas GOP candidates for governor differ on arming teachers, marijuana

Published: Jul. 10, 2018 at 10:38 PM CDT
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The five Republican candidates hoping to be the next Governor of Kansas faced-off in Wichita Tuesday night for a televised forum.

The conservative crowd diverged on issues from school funding to arming teachers as they stood side by side.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach said that he supports arming teachers because schools need "a good guy with a gun" in their buildings.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer says while local school boards should decide for themselves whether to arm individual teachers, they shouldn't offer extra pay.

"I believe teachers should be able to carry arms if approved by the local school board, that's a local school board decision," said Selzer. "But they should not be given cash incentives to carry guns."

Questions moved from teachers to families and if the Kansas Department for Children and Families needs to improve.

Kansas City-area evangelist and entrepreneur Patrick Kucera said a partnership between government and non-profit organizations, like the church, could solve their issues.

"I believe that's where the answer is because there's an army of people that want to do good work for God," Kucera said.

Governor Colyer, Kobach and Selzer say they agree with President Trump's stance on immigration.

"I am against in-state tuition for illegal immigrants," Colyer said.

"I offer a bill through legislators who work with me to stop in-state tuition for illegal aliens and to cut benefits that are going to illegal aliens," Kobach said.

"We will be, always be, supportive of fully screened legal immigration," Selzer said.

As Governor, Kucera says he would take the sanctuary out of the state. Former state Sen. Jim Barnett would keep families together.

"If I was governor and we had troops at the border separating children from families, I'd call them home," Barnett said.

When the candidates were asked their thoughts on legalizing medical marijuana, the two doctors disagreed.

Kobach and Colyer agree that they don't want to change the state's marijuana laws in an otherwise contentious GOP primary battle.

"I do not support changing our marijuana laws," said Colyer. "I think that is something that would really set our state backwards."

Barnett said the state should consider legalizing medical marijuana and that he would sign well-crafted and well-studied legislation.

"I think the time has come for our state to look at medical marijuana," said Barnett. "I think the legislature should take a very deliberate process of looking at that, listening to all sides including law enforcement."

Selzer, said he would favor legalizing marijuana for medical use but not recreational use.

Kucera also voiced support for legalizing medical marijuana, saying it's "on the right side of history."

The field of five will narrow down to one this August. Kansas could have a new Governor come November.

You can re-watch the forum in the links above.