Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A Lawrence Democrat who plans to run against Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback in the 2014 election has selected a Wichita businesswoman as his running mate.
Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, the current minority leader in the Kansas House, said Tuesday he chose Jill Docking, a former member of the Kansas Board of Regents, as his running mate because Davis plans to make education funding a major part of his campaign.
"I have grave concerns about what's being done to education in the State of Kansas," Docking said after a campaign rally in west Wichita.
Docking wanted to join Davis' campaign because, she said, cuts in education funding -- which Democrats blame on Brownback -- hurt the state's economy.
"If you look at the areas around the State of Kansas that have experienced an awful lot of growth in terms of jobs, you will find their educational systems are very strong," she said.
Davis said that belief and Docking's business background are why he wanted her on the ticket.
"She's been in business her entire life," Davis said. "She brings a business perspective and she also is very passionate about education."
Docking also has experience challenging Brownback. The two ran against each other for the U.S. Senate in 1996. Brownback won the seat and served in the Senate for 14 years.
"That was a long time ago," Docking said of the Senate campaign. "Our focus is on, 'What does Kansas look like over the next 10 years?' Not, 'What did Kansas look like?'"
Still, the former opponents seem ready for another campaign against each other.
"Jill's a sharp lady," Brownback said. "But the last time liberal Democrats ran the state, we were losing jobs (and had) deficit spending. I just don't think Kansas needs to go back to losing jobs and deficit spending."
Docking criticized what she believes is a too-partisan climate in Topeka.
"We have a governor who has found it impossible to work with people across the aisle," she said. "He's found it difficult, actually, to work with people down his own aisle. He ran people against his own representatives from his own party. That isn't the Kansas way . That's nonsense."