Last night’s meeting of the Sedgwick County Republican Party featured speeches by two candidates for the Republican party nomination for the Kansas House of Representatives from the 87th district. Democrat Raj Goyle is the incumbent, and he is not seeking re-election.
Eric Payne (campaign website) and Joseph Scapa (campaign website not available) each spoke for about 15 minutes. Both are young businessmen running for office for the first time. The filing deadline is not until June, so more Republicans could enter this race. No other party has announced a candidate. Payne has been running for six months and has raised substantial campaign funds. Scapa announced his candidacy at the end of January.
Payne, who works in his family’s propane business, told of growing up in Salina and graduating from Kansas State University. He said that after building a house in the 87th district, he became concerned about Goyle’s representation of the district.
Payne said that Kansas government needs to be run as he does his business, keeping expenses low and running as efficiently as possible. He noted the all-time high number of Kansas government employees, presently numbering 40,000. He noted that Kansas government spending has increased rapidly since 2004 while revenue increased at a slower pace, which he called unsustainable. This happened while the Kansas economy and population remained relatively stable, he said.
He spoke in favor of limited government, mentioning four core principles: lowering the tax burden, refocusing government agencies on their core missions, improving efficiency and transparency in spending, and promoting a common sense government.
Payne said that Kansas needs to be a leader in attracting business and driving our economy through entrepreneurship and productivity, two concepts he said were not foreign to Wichitans.
He called for simplification of the Kansas tax structure, one that would have low rates on a broad base.
Payne said he is a pro-life Republican, committed to protecting traditional family values. He supports the second amendment right to self-defense.
Scapa said he was born and raised in Wichita, attending North High School, Wichita State University, and Tabor College. He was president of Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs at WSU. He said he learned about marketing and business during this time. After working in Management for three years, he has worked as a real estate agent for ten years. He has also served as a substitute teacher in the Wichita public school system.
Scapa said the he’s been planning to run for office for about two years. He said he is a Todd Tiahrt conservative. He wants to make Kansas one of the most business- and family-friendly states. He said the current representative of the 87th district doesn’t represent the values of the district.
He said we should reduce the size of government, which has increased the tax burden on individuals and business. We’ve moved too far away from the Constitution, he said, and we need to return to sustainable government and the Constitution.
People need to know that their tax dollars are being spent wisely, he said, and this requires transparency and integrity.
Reducing the tax burden would help create jobs, and he said he would sign a no new tax pledge.
He said that he is in favor of consolidating school districts to reduce costs. Other agencies could be consolidated where there are duplication of services. He referenced the quote: “Nobody spends someone else’s money as carefully as he spends his own,” saying that if we did that with the Kansas budget, we’d start cutting a lot of things.
On education, Scapa said we need to produce students that are competitive in the job market. Parents need to control the direction of their children’s education, and he supports school vouchers. He said that financial literacy is important to teach. Citing his experience helping young couples buy their first home, he said this is not being taught in schools.
Scapa said he believes in the second amendment and is strongly pro-life.