Kansas AG candidates clash at Wichita debate
In a side room at a local steakhouse in Wichita, in front of the Wichita Metro Crime Commission, two men, Chris Mann and Kris Kobach made their case to be Kansas's next attorney general.
Mann, a former police officer and prosecutor told the crowd “Public safety is my life’s work. That’s what my faith has told me to do.”
Mann has three priorities if he were to be elected. “One of the most important things we need to do is drive down the violent crime rate, it has increased dramatically over the past decade. We need to make sure that consumer fraud victims are helped because it often hurts our most vulnerable Kansans and we need to make sure that we're going after folks who are committing Medicaid fraud as well.”
Former State Secretary of State Kris Kobach positioned himself as a fighter for Kansans saying “Protecting our public safety, protecting our constitution and protecting our rights as Kansans, you need someone with experience and I will step up for that role.”
Kobach has built his campaign around plans to sue President Biden’s administration over various policies and executive orders. “When there is a threat from Washington to the constitutional rights of Kansas, there's only one official only one person who can step in and stop them and that's the Kansas Attorney General.”
The debate covered several issues, one of the most prominent being the growing crisis over Fentanyl. Mann says his office would support a bill that was discussed during the last legislative session that would legalize test strips. “From there, we need to work with law enforcement, improve our investigations, improve our prosecutions to hold offenders accountable.
Kobach says he wouldn’t necessarily oppose that move but needs to read more into the bill to make sure there aren't any unintended consequences. One option he does support is making it distributing the drug a more severe punishment. “I would ask the Kansas Legislature to add a penalty enhancer to our current drug statutes that basically says if death results from the sale of this drug, then the penalty of the person who sold the drug is enhanced.”
The two also covering marijuana laws. Mann says he is in favor of medical cannabis legalization but that the state would “need to put up some safeguards. We need to make sure we’re protecting vulnerable populations, protecting children, have more drug addiction help and see money go to law enforcement.”
Kobach opposes legalization of all types.
“You end up legalizing something that becomes a Pandora’s box because no state that has a medical marijuana law that allows medical marijuana has been able to confine it to purely medical cases," he said.