October 21, 2008
Written by Hutchinson News Editorial board
Hutchinson News

The two candidates in the 101st House District race both have energy on their minds.

The incumbent, Rep. Mark Treaster, D-Pretty Prairie, and Joe Seiwert, the Republican challenger, agree energy tops the list of constituents' concerns. But that is where agreement between the two candidates ends.

Treaster's more studied approach toward energy needs, his moderate stances on most issues and his four years of experience as a state representative make him the best choice for Reno County residents this election year.

During the 2008 legislative session, Treaster favored a compromise proposal offered by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for the Sunflower Electric coal plant expansion in western Kansas. The governor's plan encouraged more wind production. Seiwert said he supported Sunflower's original plan to build two coal plants and produce minimal wind energy.

Seiwert says he supports wind energy but then gives all the reasons he thinks it doesn't work well. And beyond the energy and abortion issues, he doesn't have much of a platform.

Treaster first was elected in 2004. At the beginning of his first two-year-term, he wisely listened to veteran lawmakers and studied the legislative mechanism. He was re-elected in 2006, and over his four-year career representing Reno County, Treaster has demonstrated the ability to listen and respond to constituents as well as support needed legislation. His experience as an educator and small business operator serves him well in the Kansas House.

Treaster favors a graduated driver's licensing law for teens and believes the Legislature will pass such a measure in the next year or two.

He favors all-day kindergarten in public schools but readily admits that the present economy likely will prevent the state from paying for that initiative.

He favors legislation that would restrict the number of payday loans given to individual borrowers.

And Treaster says additional toll roads might be the best and cheapest option for taxpayers so that the state can continue financing new highway projects.

Seiwert, also of Pretty Prairie, is a worthy opponent for Treaster, and competition in political campaigns forces incumbents to be responsive and responsible.

Treaster has demonstrated both traits during his four years in the House and on the campaign trail in 2008. He has earned the respect of his constituency and fellow lawmakers, and he deserves to be re-elected Nov. 4.

Note: The News will not make endorsements in other Reno County state House races because the incumbents do not face major party opposition. The News also does not offer candidate endorsements for Kansas House and Senate races outside of Reno County.

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