Connie Brown founder and president of the Voters Rights Network of Wyandotte County and her team of volunteers were responsible for the great planning of this successful event. Connie introduced herself, the panelists, which were all legislators, and the moderators. This event was well attended, and several members of the Justice and Equity Coalition were present. Rev. Ricky Turner, pastor of the Oakridge Missionary Baptist Church hosted this monumental event. Several other pastors were present in solidarity with information sharing and supporting this event.
Mayor Tyrone Gardner was one of the first speakers and emphasized the importance of voting. He mentioned if you do not like the folks who are in elected positions now, vote them out, and get people in these elected positions that are "for the people" they represent. He also encouraged the Voter's Right Network to continue the important work that both educates and advocates for the community around legislative bills, initiatives, and voter empowerment.
Dr. Valdenia Winn, State Representative was very knowledgeable as she has been a legislator in Kansas for over 20 years. Dr. Winn spoke about several issues on the floor in Topeka. (1) She mentioned that there is no action on the "Safe and Welcoming Act", it has basically been shut down. (2) She also mentioned that there is no push for more affordable housing in the state. Instead, the focus appears to be on improving housing in rural areas of our state. (3) The "Critical Race Theory" has not been embraced by the current legislation so there is no movement on that issue. (4) Regarding Roe vs Wade legislation, there is distrust in the legislature to make decisions for women and their doctors. Giving local control to women (which could restrict women's decisions). In Kansas, there is 60/40 in favor of abortion right among voters.
Senator David Haley and a member of the State Board of Education and other legislators were present. It was mentioned that in the November 2022 elections in Wyandotte County, out of 77,000 registered voters, only 34,000 registered voters, voted.
Medicaid Expansion has not been favorably addressed by the legislature. It was reported that over 150,000 Kansans are without healthcare. Medicaid expansion could help by providing Kansans with needed medical access. Eighty-five percent (85%) of Kansans support Medicaid expansion. Because of the lack of Medicaid expansion hospitals around the state are closing.
It was mentioned that by 2030 all Baby Boomers will be out of the workforce. We need immigrants. We need the "dreamers". Legislation is hesitant to address these issues.
There were other topics mentioned such as 1) transgenders in sports, with little or no resolution. 2) The decrease in food taxes across the state, will take place over several years. 3) There is still concern over fraudulent voting in the legislature, which continues to look for ways to hinder the voting rights of all citizens in our state.
For more information on the Voters Rights Network in Wyandotte County contact:
Connie Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org