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SPOTLIGHT
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New Jersey court plan? Forget about it

Published on -3/14/2013, 10:52 AM

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By ROCHELLE CHRONISTER

Why does Gov. Sam Brownback want to import the New Jersey law for filling Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court judicial vacancies to Kansas? It's a selection process that isn't used in any other state in the Union and one their own Republican governor says is rife with "abuses of power."

In fact, political gridlock caused by the New Jersey system has caused record numbers of judicial vacancies and has pushed their courts to the brink.

It is a similar result to what we see in the federal court system. It seems strange then that Gov. Brownback continues to support replacing time-tested Kansas laws with new ones from places like New Jersey, Texas and Washington.

The problem?

Kansas isn't New Jersey or Texas. And, we don't want to be like Washington.

Change is not a bad thing. However, we should be careful of "change" just for the sake of change. Gov. Brownback spent nearly two decades in Washington. Perhaps he has forgotten that life in Kansas is pretty good. It's a place where a handshake still means something and your word is still your bond.

In the governor's short time in office, he has brought Washington-style politics to Kansas and a Texas-style income tax that we can't afford and is bankrupting our state. Now he's attempting to bring New Jersey-style gridlock to our courts. Gov. Brownback is fond of talking about his Road Map for Kansas, but it might be time for him to get an actual map of Kansas -- visit our towns, talk to our people and worship in our churches.

Kansas is a great place. Unlike Washington, we know what it means to work hard and accomplish something. Unlike Texas, we don't throw tantrums and threaten to secede from the Union. And, when it comes to New Jersey, well, they should look at Kansas' current fair and impartial judicial selection process if they want to fix their broken political system.

What we do want in Kansas is humble leadership.

And, most of all, we want to ensure that Gov. Brownback's Road Map for Kansas isn't a map with one-way streets that take our children and our businesses out of the state for generations to come.

Rochelle Chronister, Neodesha, is chairwoman of Traditional Republicans for Common Sense, former assistant majority leader of the Kansas House of Representatives and former state chairwoman of the Republican Party. www.kscommonsense.com

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