For Republican hopefuls for Southeast Kansas seats in the state Legislature, the biggest issues in the Aug. 7 primary are economic development and taxes, with candidates agreeing that the area must become more competitive with communities across the border in Oklahoma and Missouri.
In the area Kansas Senate district, the incumbent is facing a familiar challenger, and only one of the three area House districts will see a primary race.
13TH SENATORIAL DISTRICT
In the recently reconfigured 13th Senatorial District, Republican incumbent Bob Marshall, of Fort Scott, will face challenger Jacob LaTurner, of Pittsburg. The district takes in parts of Cherokee, Crawford, Bourbon and Labette counties.
Marshall, a 74-year-old retired airline pilot, touts his life experience and his participation in the development of Highway 69 into a four-lane freeway, which he says will put $10 billion into the economy and create 175,000 jobs. He is a retired Marine Corps veteran, and a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
“I helped put out the governor’s tax reduction plan that became law this session,” Marshall said. “I’m also on the U.S. Highway 69 committee in which I was able to get that program through this last comprehensive plan bill, which will run through 2020.”
LaTurner, 24, is a congressional aide for U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, of the Kansas 2nd District.
Marshall defeated LaTurner in 2008. Marshall said his opponent lacks life experience, while LaTurner said Marshall is no longer endorsed by several special-interest groups that previously endorsed him, such as Kansans for Life, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association.
“I’m running on more competitive taxes because I think that’s what will grow the economy and put Kansans back to work,” LaTurner said. “If people from Southeast Kansas can afford to buy locally, our economy will prosper.”
The winner of the primary will go up against Democrat Gene Garman, of Pittsburg, in November. Garman, 76, is a retired letter carrier.