Pilcher-Cook said “left-wing Republicans and left-wing Democrats are holding together” to block passage of a map preferred by 18 members of the Senate Republican caucus. Pilcher-Cook said these groups “hold onto tax increases and more spending, which has basically put us in the economic crisis that we’re in today.”
After attending Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s press conference about redistricting Pilcher-Cook said she “didn’t have a clue” what might happen in the Senate yet this week in approving new maps.
In his press conference Kobach said intervention by federal courts might not be necessary if the legislature could approve redistricting maps yet this week.
In the video Pilcher-Cook describes a map preferred by 18 members of the senate Republican caucus:
“It’s a real shame that Senate Leadership refuses to work with the majority of its own caucus. There are 18 of us in the caucus who all agree. We just need a few more, and then we would get a vote of the House and we would get the Governor’s signature.”
“We were very careful to have a fair map. We don’t even know who are opponents are. We don’t take any precautions of drawing out opponents, or drawing in opponents. What we do is try to maintain each senator’s district as much as possible — the way it already is — give or take adjusting the population based on the census data.”
“It’s a fair map. It’s a fair map to every senator in the body. It’s a real quandary to many of us of why this map does not get more votes.”
“He blew up”
Pilcher-Cook said that Senate redistricting chair Tim Owens (R-Overland Park) “blew up” during Senate caucus redistricting discussions on Tuesday, a meeting that Senate President Steve Morris (R-Hugoton) and Majority Leader Jay Emler (R-Lindsborg) did not attend.
In the caucus Pilcher-Cook said Owens “lost his temper” as he was fielding questions, which she said were being asked respectfully. Pilcher-Cook said some of the questions were about why senate leadership was not at the meeting.
Pilcher-Cooks said Owens had been challenged about population differences between certain senate districts in his plan that other senators thought were unnecessary and harmful in the re-election of some senators who had served for years.
Pilcher-Cooks quoted Owens as saying “I don’t have to listen to this garbage” before he walked out the door.
State Senator Owens declined to make comments on video but agreed to be interviewed at his capitol office on Wednesday.
Owens said his behavior was “out of character” and similar to “battle fatigue” in the legislature. Owens said it had been a “most difficult year” in the legislature. He acknowledged he left the caucus meeting when he didn’t want to “listen to the garbage” being discussed.
According to Owens Kansas conservatives were trying to control all three branches of government without checks and balances being in place. Besides the Kansas House and the Governor’s office, Owens said conservatives had their sights on the Judiciary and the Kansas Senate.
Owens objected to discussions in the caucus meeting that the Senate was not conservative enough.
Owens said he opposed changes proposed by conservatives for judicial selection. He said the proposals would make the process more political but did not explain why the proposals were made by conservatives who thought the existing process was hiding the politics behind the judicial selections.
There is a “dichotomy in the Republican Party” in this philosophical battle according to Owens. He described the split as “conservative” vs. “moderate” with Democrats “caught in the fray.”
Owens said “we’re all Republicans” and pointed to the picture of Ronald Reagan in his office. Owens claimed Reagan would not be a “conservative” using today’s definition.
- Kansas remapping flap is constitutional crisis, elections chief says, Kansas Watchdog, May 16, 2012.
Contact: Earl F Glynn, email@example.com, KansasWatchdog.org
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