A few weeks ago a “dark money” group used a technique called “push polling”in Ellis County. A push poll is a fake poll in which the caller makes sensational and untrue claims about a candidate and then pretends to objectively ask if the person being called would vote for the candidate being criticized falsely or the innocent candidate who is actually being promoted by the special interest group. It is an underhanded campaign tactic, like campaign mailers filled with untruths, blatantly attempting to mislead voters.

Unfortunately this is the first of many such underhanded campaign tactics we will see in our community. The Kansas Chamber and its eastern Kansas partner “dark money” groups have targeted Eber Phelps, our State Representative for defeat. Why, because he joined over 85 other Republican and Democrat Representatives to vote to end the Brownback failed Budget Experiment.

I do not care what Eastern Kansas “dark money” groups want. To get my vote a candidate will have to support better funding for our local schools and Fort Hays State University....not cuts. To get my vote the candidate will have to support the expansion of Medicaid which will provide $1 million more per year for Hays Medical Center and local healthcare. To get my vote the candidate will need to support funding for our basic roads and highways and support a balanced budget that does not raid funds from retirement accounts or other pre-existing obligations.

The Kansas Chamber PAC and its “dark money” partners are endorsing, planning and funding of Eber’s opponent but they do not support education, medicaidexpansion, roads or a true balanced state budget. These are the very goals and investments that protect our quality of life in western Kansas. The Kansas Chamber Agenda is not a pro Hays agenda and may be the reason why the Hays Chamber and so many local Chambers do not belong to the Kansas Chamber.

After 28 years of watching the shenanigans of the Topeka political environment and no longer an administrator at the University … I urge you to support candidates that defend our western Kansas way of life. Join me in supporting representatives like Democrat Eber Phelps and Republican Don Hineman (that’s right Democrats and Republicans) who are not controlled by the “dark money” groups of eastern Kansas. Representatives that will work for our Hays and western Kansas’ best interests.

Edward Hammond,