Republican Primary Candidate questionnaire: Steve Fitzgerald, Senate Dist. 5
The following are Steve Fitzgerald's answers to The Chieftain's primary candidate questionnaire:
Why did you decide to run for this seat?
We need better representation in Topeka – we need a state government that actually represents Kansans rather than acting as a branch office of Washington DC. We need a free market that will encourage businesses and create jobs.
What will be your primary goal or goals if elected?
Improve the economy by encouraging businesses – getting Kansans back to work. Economic growth is essential and will help to reduce or eliminate our other problems. A continued economic decline will only lead to more difficulties. Other states have reversed similar declines and Kansas must as well.
Biographical information for Steve Fitzgerald
Years lived in district (Wyandotte County): Since 1985
Family: Wife Francie and five children
Retired Army officer; businessman; consultant with Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Political and civic experience:
Vice-president of school board; various elected positions within Republican Party including treasurer of the Kansas State Republican Party; participant in numerous political campaigns
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?
Good schools are essential to economic growth. Productive companies and families will not come to or stay in a place that does not have excellent education opportunities. Funding for education is a constitutional obligation of the state that must be balanced with local control. The proper level of funding provides at a minimum the basics to every student to prepare him for whatever field he might want to pursue after secondary schooling. However, we must realize that there have been enormous increases in funding for K-12 education without commensurate results. Improvements must be made – but, increasing funding is not likely to be any more able to improve performance than it has in the past. There must be improvements in education management.
Are there areas in the state budget that could be reduced? Please provide specifics.
The state has reduced budgets for several years and it appears that efficiencies might still be achieved in the further expansion of automation to increase productivity. We should do a review by agency to determine trends in employees and look at measures of effectiveness. For example, if an agency had four hundred workers ten or fifteen years ago and has since automated should we not expect that the workforce would decrease, all else being equal? I am not sure that we have actually reaped the benefits of our investments in automation. Everyone else is doing more with less – we need to check to see if our expectations are being met.
Why should voters select you instead of your opponent?
My opponent has had twelve years in the senate before being turned out by the voters. He was rated very low – at the bottom, in fact – by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) which is the voice of small business. This rating was in his last year in office in 2008 but his other years and ratings by other agencies are also disappointing. This is not surprising as he has had an entire career of over thirty years as a mid-level bureaucrat in county government and has never had to be concerned about starting or running a business or even working for a private firm. He has been very isolated from free market realities.
On the other hand, I have been a small businessman and have started and run two businesses creating jobs – as well as wrestling with all of the government regulations that are involved. I have also been an employee of small businesses and of a major corporation. I understand working for commission in a tight economy and I understand how hard taxes can be on a family and on a business. I have had to scrape and make do to make sure that the paychecks all cleared the bank.
I have been the worker and the boss. I know that both are better off in a good economy – I can help bring back the economic growth that we need.