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Our voice in Topeka

Representative of District 70

By Feb. 20, you should receive a survey from me. I hope you will fill it out and send it in as soon as you can. I look forward to finding out what the folks of District 70 think before I am called on to vote on various matters before us this session. Even if you and I have corresponded about an issue, please fill out the whole survey. It will make tallying constituents’ thoughts more accurate.

It is possible you won’t receive the survey, because of an incorrect address on our part. We are using the best constituent list we can compile, yet it is not likely to be complete. Anyway, if you don’t get a survey by Feb. 20, please stop by the office of the Hillsboro Star Journal, Marion County Record, Peabody Gazette-Bulletin, and other newspapers to pick one up, fill it out, and mail back to me.

If you prefer anonymity, that’s fine, but if you are comfortable letting me know who you are, I’d appreciate your name, an e-mail address, and your mailing address. There are places on the survey for this information. If you picked up a survey from the newspaper office, I will need your name, mailing address, and e-mail address so I can add you to the list.

The survey will also have a place to explain your answers and write your comments, including suggestions for spending cuts in state government. We are not finished with cutting, that will continue, and if you have ideas I can pass on to the appropriate committee, let me know.

On the subject of state spending, I am truly excited about a new proposal being considered in the House. Rep. Lee Tafanelli, Jefferson County, has introduced House Bill 2442 to establish a commission similar to the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission, used by Congress for over 30 years in analyzing whether to close or keep open some of our military bases. We will likely consider it on the floor of the House in the near future. Our Legislature has a difficult time analyzing and determining when a state department or a specific program has outlived its usefulness, so the BRAC-style analysis ought to be a huge help. The bill would form a broad-based commission composed of Kansans from across the spectrum, to look at all parts of our government one by one. The commission would not look for small savings or efficiencies; it would look for total programs that are obsolete, ineffective, or simply not a Kansas priority. This could help us combine departments and programs to save on administrative costs, too. The commission would recommend action we ought to consider, and we in the Legislature would have to vote yes or no — no amendments, no provisos, no alterations, simply vote to agree or vote to do nothing about the proposal. Sounds great, and I hope we get this program adopted.

You may e-mail me at Brookens70@sbcglobal.net or write me at either 201 Meadow Lane, Marion or at Kansas State Capitol Building, 300 SW 10th St, Topeka, KS 66612. You may also call me at (620) 382-2133 or (785) 296-7699.

Last modified Feb. 11, 2010

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