Friday, October 31, 2014

Jones focuses on how state spends money

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 5/30/2014

With his first term under his belt with admittedly some ups and downs on issues, Kevin Jones said the state budget continues to be the heart of the issues that concern him.

“Overall, this term feels good,” Jones said. “There was some frustration on how slow some things get done, but it’s been good. Working at being more responsible with our money as a state, that’s what I’m worried about.”

With his first term under his belt with admittedly some ups and downs on issues, Kevin Jones said the state budget continues to be the heart of the issues that concern him.

“Overall, this term feels good,” Jones said. “There was some frustration on how slow some things get done, but it’s been good. Working at being more responsible with our money as a state, that’s what I’m worried about.”

State Rep. Jones, R-Wellsville, filed for re-election for the 5th district in the Kansas House of Representatives in February, and is currently running unopposed. An opponent only has until June 2 to file for election.

Jones was elected to his first two-year term in the 2012 elections, unseating long-time state Rep. Bill Feuerborn, D-Garnett. Jones said his first term had its ups and downs but he said he was happy with the two legislative sessions overall.

“If I looked at it from start to finish it feels good. I had people who told me that the learning curve was enormous,” Jones said. “I have a lot better grasp of how things work at the capitol. Just the ends and outs I have a good grasp on.”

One of the accomplishments he’s proud of is working on a bill to help strengthen anti-terrorism, a bill that helped teach him that legislators may have to pick and choose between which bills to work based on their possibility of passing. He said legislators can waste time if they are working on a bill that won’t have a chance of passing.

“I learned you can focus all of your energy on laws that will never get passed, or you can focus on things that can get passed,” Jones said. “I tried to do that, especially in my second year.”

The state’s budget continues to be one of his main priorities, he said.

“One of my focuses is how the state spends money. When people are struggling with money — education, health, whatever — and were spending money on brand new vehicles, I struggle with that,” Jones said. “I think as a state, how we handle our money is super important.”

Jones said the biggest issue to him is the fiscal responsibility of the state, and the possibility of over-spending on the state’s budget. He said in the future he would like to be on the appropriations committee to help address those issues.

“I would really like to get on appropriations committee,” Jones said. “I think a lot goes through appropriations, and that’s what I said in the beginning is that I will not shy away from the tough issues.”

Jones would like to someday reach house leadership positions, but doesn’t think it will be possible in just one more term, he said. He hopes to be in the Legislature long enough to make it up the leadership ladder.

“If I was in a leadership position, that would be great,” Jones said. “That’s not a goal that I could think of to achieve this year, but I would like to be on appropriations committee.”

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