Letter to the editor – October 17, 2020

Dear editor,

I have known Mike Bruner for a very long time, clear back to our college days. Mike, his wife Glenda, and I are all proud to be members of the last graduating class of Kansas State Teachers’ College, now known as Emporia State University. 

Then, we each became public education teachers. I taught all but four of my 31 years in Iola. 

Even though I had grown up as the daughter of two teachers, I had no idea of the role politics plays in education. I soon learned. 

The negative influence of politics was worst my final years before retirement. Sam Brownback was governor. During his two terms, money for public education was reduced drastically, mainly because of income tax cuts. 

This affected more than just my salary. Student support services were also cut to fill the hole left by his infamous “tax cuts will grow the economy” experiment. 

I watched my classroom budget shrink from $200 down to zero. The supply closet became almost nonexistent, meaning anything I needed for my students came from my pocket. Teacher morale was really low. Even when it was painfully obvious that Brownback’s plan was destroying all parts of Kansas economy, the Republican legislature continued to back it wholeheartedly. Caryn Tyson was one of those Republican Senate supporters.

Public education must become a priority in Kansas again. We need legislators who understand that public education is vital to our democracy. Mike Bruner understands. He knows its importance, and he is a fierce defender of public education. 

Teaching history in Chanute for 40 years provided Mike the background in education Caryn Tyson will never have. It is time for change. I am voting for Mike Bruner for Kansas Senate District 12. Will you?

Respectfully,

Ona Jewell Chapman,

A former Iolan

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