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The Dispatch Online - Jennison Makes Campaign Stop Here

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Jennison Makes Campaign Stop Here

March 08, 2006

A top priority for Robin Jennison is to keep what he labels "liberal activist judges" out of the Kansas court system.

Jennison blames Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for allowing the Kansas Supreme Court to enter into the school
finance quagmire.

"I think the court encroached on the Legislature's authority," said Jennison of the Supreme Court's decision that more money needs to be spent on education.

Jennison, a Republican candidate for governor, made a campaign stop at the Dispatch office after speaking about tourism at the Clay Center Area Chamber of Commerce's weekly forum coffee this morning at the depot.

"People have a recourse with their legislators; they don't with the courts," he said.

Jennison said Sebelius should have vetoed last year's school finance bill before it ever got to the Supreme Court.

"You've got a group of guys on the Supreme Court who make their decisions behind closed doors," he said.

As far as a solution, Jennison points to the present nomination commission composed of five lawyers and four lay people who select three Supreme Court nominees for the governor's selection.

Jennison said the lawyers on the commission represent a "narrow philosophy" of the law.

He advocates letting the governor pick the nominee, and then allowing the Legislature vote on whether to confirm the
governor's selection.

The 51-year-old Jennison is a Lane County farmer and co-founder of Kansas Outdoors, a company that promotes tourism and outdoor recreation in Kansas.

He served as a state representative from 1991-2000, as House majority leader from 1997-98 and speaker of the Kansas House from 1999-2000.

Jennison was president of the Kansas Water Congress from 2003-2006 and appointed by President George W. Bush to serve
as federal commissioner/chairman of the Arkansas River Compact Commission on which he has served since 2002.

"The Kansas economy and population are not keeping pace with the rest of the country," Jennison said.

He said Kansas tax policy keeps people from coming to the Sunflower State.

"There is too much reliance on the property tax in our state. I don't believe property tax increases are an option," Jennison said.

Nevertheless, Jennison sees some bright spots in the economic outlook, particularly for the rural areas of Kansas, in the
areas of ethanol and biodiesel fuels, wind power and tourism.

"We have the potential to grow so much energy. We have become too reliant on foreign oil," he said.

Now an advocate of gambling in certain instances in Kansas, Jennison said that was not always the case.

As a colleague of the late Rep. Steve Lloyd, R-Clay Center, Jennison watched as court cases allowed riverboat gambling
across the stateline in Missouri and Indian-operated casinos in Kansas.

Jennsion said those casinos "devastated parimutuel" wagering at horse and greyhound race tracks in Kansas.

Since leaving the Legislature, he began working as a lobbyist in Topeka for hunting and sportsmen groups and gambling

Jennison said he doubts that the latest gambling proposal that has surfaced in the Kansas Senate has the support of legislators.

"I think they're still votes short," he said.

Jennison also described it as a "tragedy" when gambling proponents promise that gambling revenues will be used to bolster education funding.

If elected, Jennison said his other top priorities will be reducing taxes, eliminating wasteful spending, ensuring local control of schools and creating a business environment conducive to economic development for all areas of Kansas.

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