Monday, October 13, 2008

Voter Empowerment Weekend wrap-up

This weekend's Voter Empowerment efforts were a great success. On Saturday, 93.9 KDGS Radio, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Sunflower Community Action, and the Wichita NAACP partnered to host our very first Voter Registration Party. Outback Steakhouse was on-site with a mobile grill, 93.9 was remote broadcasting from the party, and Rudy Love Jr. provided live musical entertainment. We were even joined by Mayor Carl Brewer who assisted in registering voters. Concurrently, there were also voter registration tables set up on 13th street, and at St. Paul AME Church and jointly, we registered a few hundred new voters. Special thanks are due to Greg "Hitman" Williams from 93.9 and JJ Selmon from Sunflower Community action. It was good to work with you...

Yesterday, the Voter Empowerment Coalition hosted its General Election Candidates Forum, moderated by Amani Myles; President of the Kansas State NAACP Youth Council, and yours truly, K Myles of the Wichita Branch NAACP. The forum was well attended and saw great participation from candidates for National, State and Local Offices... The forum also featured the first and perhaps only actual exchange between Congressman Todd Tiahrt, and State Senator Donald Betts, both vying for the 4th Congressional Seat.

Both Senator Betts and Congressman Tiahrt's comments focused with great passion and detail on the recent Federal Bailout plan. Congressman Tiahrt explained his "No" on the bail-out plan, stating that it failed to identify or address the underlying issues and problems with the economy; equating it with putting a shiny new roof on a building with a crumbling foundation. Tiahrt also argued that the plan would take taxpayer dollars and give them to people already living the lifestyle of the Rich and Famous. Betts argued that Tiahrt voted against the Bailout plan for purely political reasons, alleging that he did so only because this is an election year and plan itself was not politically popular. He then produced a highlighted and annotated copy of the bail-out plan and highlighted several key provisions that were intended to address the needs of homeowners along with providing for Katrina relief efforts and victims of natural disasters in Kansas and elsewhere.

The Forum also featured a very spirited exchange between Representative Oletha Faust-Goudeau and Kenya Cox, each vying to fill the 29th District Senate seat formerly held by Sen. Donald Betts. Faust-Goudeau argued that her experience in the State House of Representatives would make her an effective legislator in the Senate; citing her work on the Grandparents as caregivers bill. Kenya Cox argued that with a Republican dominated Kansas legislature, if we want to bring about change in our community, we should act strategically and secure actual representation on both sides of the aisle so that we can have a voice in all legislative discussions and decisions.

Not surprisingly, some of the evening's most passionate questions were directed towards the SRS system and the DA's race. These issues were well represented by the DA candidates and also, the Juvenile Court Judges in attendance as well as Candidate for District Judge and Former Senator Phil Journey who authored several parts of the Kansas State CINC law.

Here is a complete listing of the Candidates in attendance:

Jim Slattery (D) / Candidate for US Senator
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Susan Ducey (Reform) / Candidate for US Representative; District 4
Donald Betts (D) / Candidate for US Representative; District 4
Todd Tiahrt (R) / Candidate for US Representative; District 4
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Kenya Cox (R) / Candidate for State Senate; District 29
Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D) / Candidate for State Senate; District 29

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Gail Finney (D) / Candidate for State House of Representatives; District 84 (unopposed)
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Melody McCray-Miller (D) / Candidate for State House of Representatives; District 89 (unopposed)
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Carol Bacon (D) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 1
Phillip Journey (R) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 1

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Dan Brooks (R) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 3
Loren Houk (D) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 3

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David Calvert (D) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 9
Chris Magana (R) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 9
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Bruce Brown (R) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 10
Sharon Dickgrafe / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 10
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Rebecca Pilshaw / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 14
J Patrick Walters / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 14
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Karen Langston (D) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 25
Warren Wilbert (R) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 25
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Jama Mitchell (D) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 27
Jeff Syrios (R) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 27
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Eric Commer (R) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 28
Michael Foster (D) / Candidate for District Court Judge; District 28
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Representative on behalf of Nola Foulston (D) / Candidate for District Attorney
Mark Schoenhofer (R) / Candidate for District Attorney
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Walt Chappell (D) / Candidate for State Board of Education; District 8
Dennis Hedke (R) / Candidate for State Board of Education; District 8
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Paul Casanova (D) / Candidate for State Board of Education; District 10
David Dennis (R) / Candidate for State Board of Education; District 10
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Genine Ware (D) / Candidate for County Clerk
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Ramona Becker (D) / Candidate for Register of Deeds
Bill Meek (R) / Candidate for Register of Deeds
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Bob Hinshaw (R) / Candidate for Sheriff
Walt Kuykendall (D) / Candidate for Sheriff

On behalf of the Voter Empowerment Coalition, we would like to thank each of the candidates for attending the forum and addressing the questions and concerns of Central Northeast Wichita.




The Voter Empowerment 2008 Coalition:
The Wichita Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, The Tabernacle Bible Church Women of Promise, St Mark UMC Political and Social Action Ministry, The Beta Kappa Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, The Wichita Black Nurses Association, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, The Wichita Chapter of Links, The Wichita Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, The Wichita Chapter of the National Council of Negro Women, The Wichita Baptist Ministers Union, The Wichita Ministerial League, The Sedgwick County Black Republican Council, The Wichita Sedgwick County Council of Elders, Alpha Phi Apha Fraternity, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, The Wichita Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, St Mark COGIC, The Urban League of Kansas Guild, The Sigma Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, and The Wichita Branch NAACP

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