Kansas Senate 13th District candidates weigh in on reasons for running

Jonathan Riley
Sen. Richard Hilderbrand of Galena was the only Republican to file as a candidate in the party primary for the Kansas Senate 13th District seat while retired attorney Nancy Ingle of Pittsburg was the only Democrat to file.

With the Kansas Democratic and Republican primary elections approaching in August, there are many interesting races to watch, but following the candidate filing deadline earlier this month, party nominations for some offices have emerged as uncontested — including the Kansas Senate 13th District seat, which represents Crawford and Cherokee counties as well as parts of Bourbon and Labette.

The only candidate to file for the Republican nomination in the 13th District was incumbent Sen. Richard Hilderbrand of Galena. On the Democratic side, meanwhile, the only candidate to file was retired attorney Nancy Ingle of Pittsburg.

“After a lot of prayer, careful thought, conversation with my wife, and a lot of encouragement from my constituents I have decided to run for reelection,” Hilderbrand said in an emailed response to questions from the Morning Sun.

“Kansas currently has a lot of issues that need to be addressed, in the upcoming session. The foster care system in Kansas has to be fixed. There are too many Kansans that are still unable to receive their unemployment checks. Businesses are struggling to reopen after being forced to close.”

Ingle said in a press release, meanwhile, that she decided to run because she is tired of the continuing discord in Topeka.

“It isn’t even about being a Democrat or Republican anymore,” she said. “It’s just plain petty politics. The people of SEK don’t have anyone who will stand up for their interests in the Senate.”

Ingle said the recent vote by the Kansas Senate to strip Gov. Laura Kelly of her emergency power in response to the COVID-19 pandemic before quickly vacating the capital was an example of this.

“If you are serious about governing and representing the people, you don’t treat a legislative bill like a hand grenade; throw it over the fence and run,” she said. “If you believe what you are doing is right, you stand your ground, you don’t have to sneak out the backdoor.”

Hilderbrand cited budget issues and reopening businesses, meanwhile, as important priorities for the state amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

“The state of Kansas is facing an unprecedented revenue shortfall. It is more important now than ever, that we focus the limited funding that we have on the core functions of government, protect the most vulnerable citizens, without raising taxes on our already over taxed Kansans,” he said.

“As a small business owner, I know how important it is to get the businesses that were forced to close back open, and employees who were forced out of their jobs back to work.”

On the topic of medical crises, Ingle said Medicaid expansion is an example of an important issue that’s been held up for years by bickering in Topeka.

“It shouldn’t matter whose idea it is,” Ingle said, “if it’s good for your people and the State you need to get behind and push.”

Hilderbrand, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of focusing on economic issues, but also echoed Ingle’s comments about working across the aisle.

“My priority is to create opportunity for every Kansan to prosper, both today and for future generations,” he said. “That means rising above the political mudslinging, and instead working together with a focus to achieve real results that matter for Southeast Kansas.”