Candidates for the 22nd District Senate seat take on issues of education, taxes

By Katherine Wartell

The candidates in the 22nd District Senate race are Republican Bob Reader, a local business owner, and Democrat Tom Hawk, a former member of the Kansas House of Representatives from the 67th district. Here’s a synopsis of their positions on various issues.

Backgrounds and qualifications

Reader: He has worked as the president and founder of Flint Harvest LLC, a company that builds private equity funds for investment in start-up companies, from 2010 until the present. Prior to that, he worked at K-State’s Institute for Commercialization from 2000 to 2009 as the vice president of startups and licensing. During that time, Reader also taught patent law at Washburn Law School and business strategy at Kansas State University.

Previous to 2000, Reader worked as an environmental professional for Union Pacific, Praxair and the United States Army.


Hawk: He was elected to represent the 67th District in the Kansas House of Representatives in 2004 and served until 2011. While a state legislator, he served in several committees and was a part of the Higher Education and Bio-Science caucuses.

Hawk worked in the Manhattan/Ogden public schools for 33 years. He started as a math teacher and counselor before becoming a curriculum director and assistant superintendent for personnel and finance. In 2000, Hawk worked as superintendent for that school year. He also owned a local photography business, Tom Hawk Incorporated Professional Photography, for 43 years.


Public education

Reader: Like Hawk, Reader has said that public education is one of the top priorities in the election. He has pledged not to vote for further cuts to K-12 funding and said he believes it is the state’s responsibility to fully fund public education.

Reader said he is against a cap on state support and he advocates for more money in the classroom by repealing federal and state mandates and giving more local control and local discretion in how to spend the funds.

But Reader, whose wife home-schools their children, also advocates for school choice, saying they have thoroughly enjoyed the time they get to spend with their children.

Hawk: The Democrat has said he has serious concerns about Gov. Sam Brownback’s agenda in regards to public education, and has criticized cuts made to public education funding. Hawk said that although the statutory budget per pupil is $4,492, the figure for 2012 is $3,838.

Hawk said the critical issue in funding schools is providing equal opportunities for education, encompassing at-risk and autistic children.

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