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Dear Friend:

A lot has happened over the past month as I’ve ramped up my campaign! My campaign’s website ( was launched; I’ve had dozens of meetings with constituents, city leaders, and other stakeholders; and had my first public interview about why I’m running.

In addition to teaching my two classes at KU, I’ve attended a wide variety of community events and have enjoyed every single day! I’m meeting so many people in my district who are tired of what’s going on in Topeka and they are ready to support moderates who will stand up for fiscal responsibility, local control, and fully funding public schools. It makes me more hopeful than ever that we can turn things around for Kansans before it’s too late!
While hopeful, it’s hard not to be concerned with the flurry of legislative activity these past few weeks in Topeka!  It seems they just can’t work hard enough and fast enough to destroy all that we love in this state.

In February, the Kansas Center for Economic Growth called Gov. Brownback’s tax policy a “
failed experiment.” The Kansas City Star concurred in March, noting the February budget shortfall was almost $54 MILLION below estimates.  The same sentiments were echoed in The Garden City Telegram, The Hays Daily News, The Hutchison News, and Lawrence Journal-World, just to name a few.

About the 28th District

Voter Resources

Legislative Information

Contact Joy
3310 W. 137th St
Leawood, KS 66224
Sadly, the response from the Governor wasn’t to rethink his tax policy. Instead, he implemented a 3% ($17 MILLION) “allotment” cut from our state universities and began looking for other ways to “plug” his deficit.  These cuts bring a whole new meaning to the idea of “bleeding Kansas.” And, that was just a start!
School funding continues to be an issue, as legislators ignore the Supreme Court’s order to rewrite the school funding formula. Even as some have begun
sounding the alarm, noting that SCHOOLS MAY NOT OPEN IN AUGUST, legislators seemed perplexed for almost two months. Attacking the judicial branch of our state government seemed their most consistent approach, but in the past few days there has been some discussion that a couple of bills may be introduced this week. Whether they will satisfy the court or Kansas citizens remains to be seen.
Other bills to watch:

SB 463 - Permanently transfers more than $500 million annually from the highway fund to the general fund. The bill also abolishes the Kansas Endowment for Youth Fund (KEY), the Children’s Initiative Fund (CIF), and the Economic Development Initiatives Fund (EDIF), placing all revenue that those funds now receive into the general fund.

SB 311 – This bill was actually pulled from the floor on March 10th due to the backlash from parents and teachers (woohoo! A win for the citizens of Kansas!). The bill would have moved the administration of school finances from the Kansas State Department of Education (controlled by the local board of education) to the Governor’s Department of Administration. Nothin’ like having the fox in the chicken coop!

HB 2292 – Using a tactic called “gut and go,” Jerry Lunn (my opponent) supported a bill that would have repealed the common core standards. Fortunately, the bill was defeated on Friday, March 11th. But, not before Lunn called the common core standards “
indoctrination” ~ of what, I’m not sure.

HB 2719 – would remove the taxing authority from library boards and regional library systems and require a public vote every year to fund the regional libraries. If passed, it would likely mean the end of our incredible regional library system and the look of regional sharing of library resources.

HB 2207  – Ironically called the “Ethnic Studies” bill, this bill sought to develop standards for teaching kids in grades 7 through 12 about diversity. The only problem was that, well diversity would be limited only to the experiences of African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos and Native Americans. Interesting limitation when you consider 65 languages are spoken by students in the Blue Valley School District.  The bill also limits discussion on topics of social justice. OY!
I could go on and on and on….. but, you get the picture.
In addition to following the action in Topeka I’ve been busy stirring up some of my own action!

So far, there have been three “meet and greet” house parties held on my behalf, allowing others to learn about my background, why I’m running, and what I’ll fight for once I’m elected. Thank you to Ron and Barbra Bronstein, Erica and Chris Massman, Judie Black Becker, Jannie Cubbage, and Judy Sherry, for opening your homes to me and allowing me to hear your concerns and the concerns of your family and friends.

Here are some photos from the various events!
Becker, Cubbage, Sherry meet and greet
Bronstein meet and greet
Massman meet and greet

Seven more house parties are scheduled over the next two months. Follow my campaign’s Facebook page (JoyforKansas) for details. Bring your friends and family!
I spend a lot of time at community events, meeting and listening to constituents in my district and assuring them that I will be accountable to them even after I’m elected- I will show up, just as I'm doing now. I attended the:

  • Leawood State of the City Luncheon (Jan. 28)
  • Stand Up Blue Valley meeting to discuss education funding (Feb 4)
  • Blue Valley School Board Meeting (Feb 8)                       
  • Various Leawood Chamber after hours events
  • Reception for incoming Blue Valley School Superintendent, Dr. Todd White (Feb 24)
  • 5th annual Leawood juried art show, Arti Gras ~ hosted by the Leawood Foundation and the Leawood Arts Council (Feb 26)
  • Greater Kansas City Hadassah Women’s Health Symposium at the Jewish Community Center (Feb 28)
  • Mainstream Coalition Forum on education funding (Mar 1)
  • Blue Valley Educational Foundation’s An Artistic Evening of Thanks (Mar 3)
  • Overland Park State of the City Luncheon (Mar 9), and

Finally, I had a terrific day at Olathe Northwest High School, judging debates for the Olathe Northwest Speech and Debate Invitational Tournament, featuring high school students from Blue Valley, Shawnee Mission, and Olathe! Thanks to Dr. Josh Anderson, 2015 National Debate Coach of the Year, for his dedication to teaching kids the value of a well-reasoned, well-delivered argument.

Grassroots efforts are popping up all over Kansas to push back on the extreme policies of Gov. Brownback and his minions. Here are some you may want to “like” or follow on Facebook:

  • Stand Up Blue Valley
  • Game on Kansas
  • Women for Kansas
  • Moderate Kansas
  • Game on for Kansas Schools
  • Mainstream Coalition

News organizations watching and reporting on legislative actions:

  • Kansas City Star 
  • Hutchinson News
  • Prairie Village Post
  • Lawrence Journal World
  • The Wichita Eagle
  • The Hays Daily News
  • The Garden City Telegram

Get angry! Get engaged! And, get behind moderate candidates wherever you live!!!  Most important ~ VOTE on August 2nd!

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or comments about these or other legislative issues. I look forward to the opportunity to represent you!

At your service,

Dr. Joy Koesten, Candidate
Kansas House of Representatives
Serving Leawood and Overland Park
Copyright © 2016 Paid for by Joy for Kansas, Bob Regnier, Treasurer, All rights reserved.

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