Democrat Primary candidate questionnaire: Mario Escobar, Senate District 6
Democratic primary candidate Mario Escobar answered the following questions for The Chieftain.
Biographical information for Mario Escobar
Years lived in district: 35 years
Family: Wife Loretta, two grown children, six grandchildren
Professional experience: Project Coordinator, Time-Warner Cable, 31 years
Political and civic experience: First run for public office. Civic experience is extensive, including (previously or presently): Argentine Neighborhood Development Association, BOD; El Centro, BOD; Operation Brightside, BOD; Silver City Days Committee; Argentine Christmas Lighting Chair; Leadership 2000, Class 17; Unified Government Planning & Zoning Commission; Argentine Business Association; Beans & Greens volunteer; Grand Knight; Knights of Columbus.
• Why did you decide to run for this seat?
A tremendous momentum has been created throughout District 6, and it is imperative that these efforts -- capital improvements throughout, notably in Argentine and Turner, the new public library on Strong Avenue, the new Argentine grocery store in what has been a food desert, development around KU Med -- be continued and supported from Topeka. Projects such as these help address the real life concerns of working families...such families are my focus.
• What will be your primary goal or goals if elected?
As always, the overriding question in Topeka is funding: How do we fund the programs and projects that make a difference? Government at every level has learned that heavy dependence on taxpayer revenue is a thing of the past. No matter what Republicans say, we cannot tax cut (especially for the wealthy) our way to success. We have, I believe, created a template for addressing this key issue in my community, where success has come from establishing innovative partnerships between the private sector, government and the non-profit community. Such partnerships, I believe, can be central to addressing the larger issues of economic development, jobs, public education and safety...and more.
• Do you think schools are adequately funded? If not, what would be a proper level of funding and how would the state get that revenue?
Of course they're not adequately funded. That said, establishing what's "proper" as a spending level is a complex challenge...one that must accommodate the great diversity of communities that comprise "Kansas." What's clear is that this issue and, more specifically, the issue of funding public schools isn't going away. An aggressive approach to tax base-building is the best long-term approach.
• Are there areas in the state budget that could be reduced? Please provide specifics.
No doubt such areas exist. Specifics can come only when current revenue data are presented to the new legislature.
• Why should voters select you instead of your opponent?
I believe one does more than just "show up"...that one must work. And that we all must work together. The voters who know my opponent best dismissed her from elected office just last year. I believe they, in looking at surrounding neighborhoods, saw what was possible...and then noted that few substantive changes had occurred during her 14 years as a UG Commissioner. My campaign is about residents of the 6th District...NOT about extending a political career.