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Boldra eyes state position

10/31/2012

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Sue Boldra's 2010 run for the Republican nomination for the First District in the U.S. House of Representatives came up short -- Tim Huelskamp won U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran's open seat -- but it was a worthwhile experience, she said.

"Kind of realized during that race maybe a federal position was not what I wanted," Boldra said. "It became obvious my heart really was in Kansas and more local politics."

In the 2012 election cycle, Boldra, a Hays resident, first targeted a run at the state Senate in the 36th district before dropping out to challenge incumbent Eber Phelps, D-Hays, in the Kansas House from the 111th district. After redistricting, new maps relocated the 36th Senate district, putting Ellis County into the 40th district, already represented by Ralph Ostmeyer, R-Grinnell.

Boldra, who favors lower taxes, is aware Democrats have expressed concern about the tax cuts signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback, believing they could lead to a budget shortfall.

"If I have the opportunity to get there, we're going to hold his feet to the fire on that one," Boldra said of the tax cuts. " ... I want a seat at the table; doesn't mean I'm going to rubber stamp."

Boldra is counting on the tax cuts to produce a growing economy. She said state funding "depends on if we're going to have a dynamic economy or a static economy."

"We hope it's as dynamic as (Brownback) thinks it's going to be," she said.

Brownback himself described his tax cuts as a "real live experiment."

"I know that this is being called an 'experiment,' " Boldra said. "I'm a little troubled by that terminology. ... We cannot continue on the path we've been."

If the tax cut "experiment" fails, and there is a static economy with a budget shortfall, "I can't tell you today what I will do," Boldra said.

A mailer sent out by the Kansas Chamber PAC said Boldra would do everything she could to eliminate President Barack Obama's health care plan. Boldra admitted as a state legislator there would be little she could do in that effort.

"My ability there is very, very limited," she said. "But again, the questions people are asking me are mostly on the national level."

Boldra, also a real estate agent, has been an educator for 40 years both at Hays High School and Fort Hays State University. She said the state doesn't spend too much on education, "but I think we ought to look at how we allocate those dollars."

"I think we ought to look at a new finance formula," she said.

Pressed to name her differences with Phelps, Boldra pointed to his voting record.

"Even though he says he is pro-jobs, he's not pro-business," Boldra said.

Political action committees, or PACs, made up approximately half the contributions to Phelps' campaign, as of Thursday. The rest of the donations were nearly evenly split between businesses and individuals. Approximately 90 percent of Boldra's contributions, as of Thursday, came from individuals.

With few Democrats in the western part of the state, Phelps -- who first was elected in 1996 and now is the minority whip -- sides with eastern Kansas Democrats, Boldra said.

"He has not been representing us; that's the way I feel," Boldra said. "I realize it's because of his job. He's been there a number of years. He's very well-liked. He does his job very well.

"He's the minority whip -- that's his job, to get all the Democrats to vote together. There aren't many Democrats in western Kansas, so he is voting with Johnson County, the greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Lawrence and Topeka."

Boldra, if elected, wants to serve on the small business, agriculture and education committees.

"I want to be on the committees that really represent us, the things we do here," she said.

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Candidate at a glance

Name: Sue Boldra

Age: 63

Education: Education degree from McPherson College. Master's Degree in political science from Fort Hays State University.

Family: Husband, Carl, sons Jeremy, Brandon, and daughters Amber Paquette and Chelsea Anderson.