By MIKE CORN
DIGHTON -- With his cellular phone to his ear, Kansas Rep. Don Hineman, R-Dighton, didn't miss a beat moving from his combine, where he was cutting milo, to a grain cart used to ferry the field's bounty to a waiting truck.
"It's worth about half as much," he said of the crop he was cutting, "but there's twice as many bushels."
In the rush to get a sharply improved and waiting crop out of the field, Hineman admits he's not been out in the nine counties in the 118th House District he represents as much as he'd like to be.
But, he's quick to say he stands ready to speak to community groups whenever they call.
And, he's planning to make the circuit of his home counties in November and December -- in advance of the January start of the legislative session -- to get a feel for what his constituents are thinking.
Hineman has served six years in the Kansas House, and his unopposed path to a fourth term will be sealed Nov. 4 when voters go to the polls.
He continues to set his sights on maintaining a strong educational program for the state and rural schools in western Kansas.
"I continue to be concerned about the future of education in western Kansas," he said, "and the future of rural schools."
There continues to be talk, at the legislative level, about changing the state's funding formula for education, he said, as well as concerns the current formula won't be fully funded.
If either happens, Hineman said, they could spell trouble for rural school districts.
While he favors efficiency, Hineman worries a school efficiency task force could offer recommendations heavily leaning and favorable to urban school.
Hineman also remains deeply concerned about the fate the "big tax cut of 2012" is going to have on state finances.
"I remain skeptical that it's going to deliver on those promises," he said of fueling a boom in new businesses and creation of a number of jobs. "It's my concern the tax cut of 2012 will be too much, too soon."
Already, state cash reserves are about half what they were when the bill was passed.
If revenue doesn't increase soon, legislators will have to take another look at the state's tax laws.
That issue, he said, will be high on his agenda when he travels his district in coming months.
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Name: Don Hineman
Running for: Kansas House, District 118
Political affiliation: Republican
Family: Wife, Betsy; two children, Andy Hineman and Sarah Werner; and three grandchildren.
Background: Owner Don Hineman Farms, general manager of Hineman Ranch LLC, and member board of directors of Lane County Feeders. Previously, he served on the board of directors of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, 2001 president Kansas Livestock Association, board member American Gelbvieh Association. Former Dighton City Council member and 15-year member of the Lane County Commission.