Eleven candidates have been invited to speak at the first ever Kansas Forum on Public Safety and Justice
. The event will begin at high noon on October 31, on the south steps of the Kansas State Capitol. Since the day will also be Halloween, and just days before the election, attendees in the crowd are encouraged to dress in patriotic or Kansas themed costumes and bring American and Kansas flags.
Candidates qualified for the event by completing a candidate survey on public safety and justice issues. Those survey responses have been published to a dashboard on Free State Kansas. A list of candidates who responded to the survey can be found here.
The speakers include nine Republicans and two Libertarians. All candidates for state legislature were invited to complete the survey, but only four Democrats did so, and none of them opted to participate in the forum.
John Carmichael, a Democrat from Wichita running in House District 92, wrote to Free State Kansas saying "I have been advised by my caucus leadership not to participate in this poll. Pending further instruction from Leader Sawyer's office, I will be unable to participate."
Another Democrat, Aaron Coleman, from Kansas City, who is running in House District 37, said there was no need for him to complete the survey since he is the only candidate on the ballot. Coleman, 20, has been under scrutiny for posting revenge porn of former girlfriends, but defeated incumbent Stan Frownfelter in the August primary. Frownfelter and Republican Kristina Smith are now running write-in campaigns against Coleman. Both were invited to complete the survey, but neither did.
In addition to legislative candidates, the two candidates for Shawnee County District Attorney were invited to complete the survey and participate in the forum. Current District Attorney Mike Kagay did complete the survey and will speak at the forum. Joshua Luttrell, the Democratic candidate, started the survey but did not finish it. Luttrell had expressed his intention to complete the survey and participate in the forum as recently as yesterday (October 22).
The invited speakers are:
- Mathew Clark (L), Overland Park - House District 23
- Jeff Coen (R), Topeka - House District 53
- Greg Conchola (R), Kansas City - House District 32
- Geoffrey Gawdun (R), Topeka - House District 58
- Timothy Johnson (R), Bonner Springs - House District 38
- Mike Kagay (R), Topeka - Shawnee County District Attorney
- Mike Kerner (L), Lenexa - House District 17
- Jordan Mackey (R), Bonner Springs - House District 33
- Michael Martin (R), Topeka - House District 57
- James Todd (R), Overland Park - Senate District 8
- Janlyn Nesbett Tucker (R), Topeka - House District 55
Event updates and the event schedule will be published to the event pages on Free State Kansas and Facebook.