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SPOTLIGHT
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Don’t forget to consider those little things

Published on -6/12/2012, 8:35 AM

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Statehouse insiders still are measuring the effect of the federal court panel’s reapportionment of Kansas House and Senate, congressional and even state Board of Education districts

Candidates for election in those newly drawn districts are either just realizing what they’ve signed up for or are wondering how they’re going to make enough new friends to get elected.

And, with any luck, “regular” Kansans — we voters who elect those candidates — are starting to think about an issue or two that are important to us.

There are Kansans who will vote for anyone with an “R” or a “D” behind their names on a ballot, probably just like their parents or grandparents did.

Then there are Kansans who look at the candidates regardless of party and try to figure out whether the candidate is for the things the voter favors.

Oh, and we’re not talking about the bumper sticker stuff.

If abortion is the only issue you care about, then it’s easy to find a candidate who is either anti-abortion or pro-choice as you are, and you’re done. Same with guns. Same with immigration.

If that’s all you want, you’ve made it easier for a candidate on your doorstep to win your vote than you probably did for whoever asked you to the prom.

This might just be a good time, with the Legislature adjourned, and — despite that inaction on reapportionment — to figure out what the lawmakers did, what impacts you and what you like or don’t like about it, or some issue that was either handled badly, or right.

Because, while those bumper-sticker issues are important, you probably need to care more about what’s going to happen to your local school district, whether the roads are going to be plowed next winter, whether sick people get health care and whether poor people get the help they need to get jobs and take care of themselves.

Oh ... and then, there’s whether the parks will be open and such.

It’s the little things — when’s the last time you saw a bumper sticker about meat and poultry inspection or regulation of barbers? — that probably affect us more than abortion or guns or immigration.

The candidates on your doorstep? It’s easy to nod as they talk about those big emotional issues but they also live relatively nearby, and ought to know or at least promise to learn about why the local school district closed a school or raised class size, or whether someone ought to stop people from feeding geese and causing those unfortunate splats on sidewalks and car hoods.

Don’t forget the local issues, whatever they may be, when those candidates show up on your stoop. Because while they’re going to be making laws that affect all of us, you have a right to make sure that your legislator looks after the local issues that aren’t big deals everywhere.

That’s local representation, bringing your issues to the Statehouse and trying to fix them. And, that’s what the candidate should be willing to talk about through the screen door.

Syndicated by Hawver News Co. of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report. To learn more about this statewide political news service, visit www.hawvernews.com.
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