I believe it’s vitally important to be honest about where I stand on the major issues facing our community and state. Even if we disagree, please know that I am always willing to listen, and to consider new perspectives and ideas.

Here are what I see as some of the most important issues facing Kansas. If you’d like to know my stance on any issue not covered on this page, please email me at matt@matthewcalcara.com or call me at 913-353-8033.

Education

Strong schools are Kansas’ most important asset and the key to a prosperous future. We must properly fund and support public education, and abide by the decisions of the Kansas Supreme Court in terms of school funding.

I oppose any attempt to siphon funds away from public schools under the guise of “school choice” vouchers. Johnson County voters have consistently shown they want high-quality public schools, and the Kansas Legislature should heed them.

Kansas also needs to expand the scope of public education on offer. Free, universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds is an investment in our future we must begin to make, for the sake of kids and working parents alike.

Similarly, we must begin to address the issues surrounding higher education affordability. Kansas should offer 2 years of free post-high school education to all Kansans who choose to continue their education in our state, whether that’s a public university, community college or vocational education.

A pinpoint distribution of the unemployed in the United StatesEconomy

The tax policies of Gov. Brownback have been enormously regressive, and counter-productive to economic development. Middle-class families have been hit hard by sales and property tax increases, while favored businesses and some of the richest Kansans have used Brownback’s changes to the tax code to avoid paying their fair share… or anything at all.

Returning to a fairer, more progressive income tax system would benefit Kansans most in need of relief. Another growth-boosting policy change would be raising the minimum wage to $15/hour to stimulate real, lasting economic growth as more money lands in the pockets of middle- and working-class families.

Infrastructure

Our 30th district contains I-435, I-35 and K-10 highways, and is home to a large number of logistics, transportation and construction firms. These businesses have been hit hard by Brownback’s enormous funding cuts (aka – “sweeps”) at the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). Delaying critical road and bridge maintenance hurts our economy, locally and statewide. Delays mean that repairs ultimately end up costing much more money in the future. These cuts are the opposite of fiscally conservative.

strongly oppose ‘sweeps’ of the KDOT budget, so we can begin to address our infrastructure maintenance backlog.

Along with road maintenance and upkeep, Kansas must begin to think strategically about our transportation investments. As a former travel and transportation researcher, I’ve seen how even relatively tiny investments in transportation options such as Amtrak service, commuter rail, protected bike lanes and even express buses can offer residents and employees more options at a relatively low cost. These investments also move us toward a more sustainable future, boost local property values, and make our communities more attractive places to live, work and invest.

Go in-depth on the issue of guns with our 11-point plan to reduce gun violence here.

Voting Rights

Our current Secretary of State Kris Kobach is known throughout the country for his efforts to disenfranchise voters. While serving on President Trump’s Voter Election Integrity Commission he has pushed for the same policies that prevent new voters from registering nationwide that he pioneered here in Kansas.

As a former organizer for the non-partisan Kansas Voter Registration Project, I strongly support efforts to make voting easier for Kansans, including expanded early voting, same-day registration, automatic voter registration and offering improved vote-by-mail options. I also strongly oppose Kobach’s “show me your birth certificate” requirement, which places undue burdens on Kansans who simply want to exercise their right to vote.

Healthcare

Medicare for All with heart hand and rose logoExpanding Medicaid is a good start, but we need to move toward Medicare for All, beginning with reversing the privatization of KanCare. KanCare’s three private healthcare contractors increase their profits when they deny sick Kansans care. This is exactly the wrong incentive structure for our healthcare system. Medicare for All has the provision of affordable healthcare as its goal, not profits. Medicare for All may be a national system, but we can lay the groundwork for its implementation here in Kansas by offering a public healthcare option through the state exchange. There are too few private insurers operating on the healthcare marketplace, leading to poor coverage and rising costs. A public option would allow for more competition and choice. We should also be administering our own healthcare exchange, which was an idea promoted by former insurance commissioner Sandy Praeger. Many of the states that manage their own marketplaces were able to use their state authority to create flexibility this past enrollment period, when President Trump’s administration intended to create confusion by changing enrollment dates. 

MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION

Kansas should move to decriminalize cannabis immediately. States that have allowed medical marijuana have lower rates of opioid overdose. Marijuana can also be used to treat a plethora of other ailments like seizures, Crohn’s disease, and muscle spasms.  I don’t believe we will ever become the marijuana tourism destination that Colorado is, but we have an excellent opportunity to produce industrial hemp in Kansas that would boost our economy. I also believe that the agricultural research capabilities at K-State combined with the medical research capabilities of KU Medical Center would make Kansas an amazing place for cannabis research.   

GUN VIOLENCE

As a fourth-generation Kansan who has spent a significant amount of time in rural parts of the state, I am comfortable with firearms and I support responsible gun ownership. Nevertheless, the stark reality is that thousands of Americans die every year due to violence, suicide, or accidents involving firearms. Our leaders’ unwillingness to address this problem leaves our citizens and our children vulnerable. We must work together to address this epidemic. Enough is enough. 

Read more about our plans to reduce gun violence with our 11-point plan to improve gun safety. 

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REform

Seattle's Democracy Voucher Program LogoOur campaign is the ONLY one for the 30th District that does not accept donations from PACs or corporations. ALL of our donations come from individuals: Every. Single. Cent. That’s why you can trust me to work to clean up our campaign finance system, and press for policies such as banning all corporate donations, or forbidding donations from businesses whose owners have already maxed out to a particular candidate. I also support innovative campaign finance reform ideas like Seattle’s “democracy vouchers”–a voluntary system of campaign finance which bans big money, and where everyday voters decide which campaigns deserve financial support, instead of the Koch brothers.

In Conclusion

If there are any issues that are important to you that you’d like to see addressed here, please email me at matt@matthewcalcara.com. I can also be reached by phone at 913-353-8033 (please leave a message including your name and number so that I may return your call).

While I may respectfully disagree with you on some issues, I will always consider the thoughts and opinions of any constituent with whom I happen to disagree.

Respectful dialogue is how we make democracy work, and we should demand nothing less from our elected officials.