Thursday, July 31, 2014

Senate challenger: Kansas needs an advocate, not labels

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 6/25/2014

The best public policy has been through compromise, Chad Taylor, Shawnee County District Attorney and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, said.

Taylor visited the Herald Tuesday afternoon to discuss his campaign. Asked about his chances for success in a Republican-dominated county in a red state like Kansas, Taylor said party politics and labels are used to divide Americans.

The best public policy has been through compromise, Chad Taylor, Shawnee County District Attorney and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, said.

Taylor visited the Herald Tuesday afternoon to discuss his campaign. Asked about his chances for success in a Republican-dominated county in a red state like Kansas, Taylor said party politics and labels are used to divide Americans.

“It’s the idea that if ‘we’ win, ‘you’ lose,” he said. “The only people losing are the American people.”

Taylor is challenging U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, for a seat in the U.S. Senate, but will have to wait for the outcome of the Aug. 5 Republican primary, which pits Roberts against conservative challenger Milton Wolf, a Kansas City-area radiologist, and two lesser-known candidates, D.J. Smith, Osawatomie, and Alvin E. Zahnter, Russell. Taylor himself faces Democratic primary opponent Patrick Wiesner, Lawrence.

Taylor was elected as Shawnee County district attorney in 2008 and ran unopposed in 2012. He said he decided to run for U.S. Senate because he thinks Roberts has adopted extreme positions that his constituents do not support, according to campaign materials.

Kansas has not elected a Democrat U.S. Senator since 1932, but Taylor said it’s false for people to assume he’s in league with Washington Democrats with whom many Kansans disagree. Critics already have lumped him in with President Obama, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, Taylor said, but he has never met any of those politicians.

“I’ve never been in the same state as them, let alone the same room,” Taylor said. “I’m not going to be a representative for Kansas, I’m going to be an advocate for Kansas.”

Although he’s a Democrat in the Republican stronghold, Taylor said he has much in common with Republican and Democrat lawmakers from across the region. A Republican from Nebraska and a Democrat from Kansas, for example, would have more in common when it comes to politics than two Democrats from completely different backgrounds, he said.

“We’re dividing people with labels and creating a substantial disconnect,” Taylor said.

One of the biggest issues facing the country is the number of naysayers, he said.

“Our country is thirsting for leadership,” Taylor said. “We have found ourselves with people who are just saying ‘no’ rather than offering new ideas.”

Taylor’s priorities include reinvesting in local universities and the bioscience industry.

Because of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Taylor said, the area between Columbia, Missouri, and Manhattan is developing as a bioscience corridor that should help spur job growth in Kansas. The bioscience industry, coupled with top-level education, are the future of economic development, he said.

“[We need] to continue to reinvest in major universities for job growth to occur with jobs that can’t be exported,” Taylor said.

Another avenue toward growth, he said, would be raising minimum wage to stimulate the economy. A higher working wage would help poorer citizens immediately rather than waiting for economic growth to trickle down from the top.

“I want to move our country forward out of the doldrums,” Taylor said.

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