John consistently receives an A rating from the National Rifle Association for his record protecting our fundamental right to keep and bear arms. He believes strongly in the U.S. Constitution and the right to keep and bear arms and will oppose any attempts to restrict our 2nd amendment rights. He has been endorsed by and is a proud member of the NRA and the KSRA.
Kansas needs innovative budgeting strategies to address today’s economic challenges, without resorting to economically damaging tax increases. Priority-based budgeting has to be the model for our state’s long-term financial stability and Topeka should maintain a citizen-focused perspective. During the 2016 legislative session John voted for HB2739 which ensures that state agencies provide legislative budget committees with complete program service inventories including program function and history; intersections with other state programs; federal funding and associated requirements; priorities; potential impacts if not funded; and statutory authority.
Crime & the Courts
As chairman of the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards & Training and a member of the Wichita Crime Commission, John knows first-hand what it takes to keep our neighborhoods safe. He will advocate strongly for tough laws that keep dangerous criminals off our streets and the proper funding for law enforcement and KLETC. Rep. Whitmer assisted with the implementation of the Kansas Highway Patrol recruitment and retention plan that resulted in one of the largest recruiting classes in history at the KHP Training Academy in Salina. It was because of his support for law enforcement that John recently received the endorsement of the Wichita Friends of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Judicial activism is a real threat to our state constitution. The current judicial selection process at both the Supreme Court and District Court levels in Kansas utilizes a nominating process that is controlled by a small band of lawyers and is largely conducted in secret. Kansans have had no idea who is selecting the majority membership of these powerful commissions. John supports the effort to change the judicial selection process to the Federal model or to direct elections by the people.
All of our children deserve a quality education which is why Kansas invests half of our state general fund each year on our schools. Kansas currently spends just over $13,000 per student and state aid is up 8% and continues to increase. At the same time it is irresponsible to merely focus on funding levels without any discussion of how those funds are spent or student achievement.
John’s goal in Topeka is to ensure more of those education dollars are spent on teachers and in the classroom – reducing waste and improving results for our children. As a parent whose daughter attended Wichita public schools, John knows that parents must re-establish the control of our education system at the local level – with all parties working together to provide the best solutions for our communities.
Kansas is too diverse for a one-size-fits-all common curriculum and the solution is to put the control back into the hands of parents and local school boards.
Taxpayer dollars should not be spent on illegal immigrants, but instead on the hard-working Kansans who are here legally. The first step to immigration reform is for the federal government to secure our borders and ports of entry. John is adamantly against any taxpayer subsidies for those who break our nation’s laws, including in-state tuition for illegals and John strongly opposes blanket amnesty.
The state has a responsibility to provide a healthcare safety net for the poor, disabled and elderly. However, John has serious concerns about expanding that to include able-bodied adults with other health care options. Kansas currently has roughly 425,000 people on Medicaid, nearly 1/6th of the population. Based on the Aon Hewitt study, Medicaid expansion would result in an additional 151,200 applicants. That would mean that close to 20 percent of our population would be on Medicaid. John believes that any discussion of Medicaid expansion must be done in a revenue neutral context ensuring we have a way to pay for these new applicants.
John believes that Obamacare was a massive government intervention, complete with mandates for all participants in the market, including providers, insurers, and consumers. Congress must repeal and replace the A.C.A. with a more patient centered option.
Infrastructure & Natural Resources
We have much to be proud of in regards to our Kansas roads. Our state is consistently ranked in the top five states in the nation with the best highway system, in fact a 2016 study found Kansas’ highways ranked 3rd in US in condition & cost-effectiveness. Maintaining great roads is not easy during tough economic times but Rep. Whitmer is dedicated to getting the best value for Kansas tax dollars. The KS Dept. of Transportation’s 2016 annual quality assessment ranks our highways at 96.7%, exceeding quality targets and KDOT spends $1.9 billion annually to keep our roads in top shape.
Transportation issues affect all Kansas citizens and John’s goal is to have the best road system that the Kansas budget will allow and Kansas’ top 5 ranking for the quality of our roads compared with expenditures shows how effectively we are achieving this goal.
John knows that government can make the lives of Kansas farmers and ranchers more difficult by creating uncertainty and passing needless regulations, taxes, fees and restrictions. He believes that regulators and bureaucrats need to let farmers and ranchers be the responsible stewards of the land that they always have been. Having served for years on advisory boards where flooding and water resources have been a primary concern, John understands the complexities relating to the water needs of our state. John will fight for funding for the long-term water supply our state needs to remain a dominant economy throughout the 21st century, as well as the transportation infrastructure necessary to transport people and goods in a vibrant growing economy.
A long-term vision must include increased access to technology and crop varieties that improve water efficiency and conservation, the extension of the Ogallala Aquifer and tools and incentives to encourage reduced water consumption. In addition, we should look at new sources of supply and focus on technology that makes the best use of water resources.
Government is getting bigger and more burdensome by the minute – making it harder for employers to keep people on the job. In order to help grow our economy we must decrease over-reaching regulations and mandates and push tax rates lower. John knows small businesses create jobs, not government. Small businesses employ over half of all private sector workers and are responsible for 44% of private sector payrolls in Kansas. They have also created 64% of the private sector jobs over the past 15 years. John will work to support and promote new and growing businesses.
Having spent the last few years caring for his own parents, John knows we must promote senior independence by keeping our promises to those who’ve served our state by securing the KPERS retirement system. Though our KPERS market value has gone from $12.5 billion in 2011 to $16.3 billion in 2014 we must do a better jog of ensuring the long term health of the program.
Because the current format is not fiscally sustainable for future employees, John believes one option we should consider is replacing our defined-benefit pension plan with a 401(k)-style defined-contribution plan for new employees. This would empower new employees with secure and portable retirement assets and keep the state from increasing the unfunded pension liability facing our children.
Limited Government & Spending
John has made a commitment to the people of Kansas to root out government waste and hold government agencies accountable for every dollar spent. That commitment is being kept through thoughtful study of how our government agencies operate and where we can provide better service at a lower cost. As Kansans, we know the value of hard work and we expect sound budgeting practices from our government. John shares your values and is working toward budgets that are balanced and free of unnecessary, wasteful spending.
Rep. Whitmer helped commission the first ever efficiency audit of state spending – which found over $2 Billion in savings, not by cutting programs but through better management practices. He is committed to opposing reckless spending and reining in big government in a fiscally responsible way to help Kansas families and businesses.
Preserving Traditional Marriage & the Family
The institution of marriage is under attack and John believes we must actively work to protect and preserve it. He will fight any legislation that would change our constitutional definition of traditional marriage as between one man and one woman and that is one reason John is endorsed by the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas.
John also believes that the privacy, safety and dignity of ALL Kansas children should be protected and our schools are not the place for social engineering.
Property Tax Reform
Rep. Whitmer voted to require a public vote on property tax increases, ensuring taxpayers have a greater voice in how their tax dollars are collected. Because of this, Kansas taxpayers are projected to save $1.6 billion.
Protecting the Sanctity of Life
John believes life is precious and will defend the vulnerable with action, not just words. Every life is created for a purpose and as such, Kansas should be known not just as a state that protects life, but one that actively promotes a culture of life. John is a proud supporter of Kansans for Life and is endorsed by the KFL PAC.
Transparency in Government
The government of a free people should be open to those people and open and transparent government is essential to the democratic process. In 2016 John introduced the Kansas Transparency Act (HB 2573) which enables Kansans to be more engaged in their government and follow along with what is happening in the legislature. His bill, which passed with unanimous support, provided for the online live-streaming of Legislative committee meetings.
John also voted for and supports the “Rubin’s Rules” proposal to record all votes and he voted to close the private email loophole to ensure that state business conducted on private devices is still subject to the Open Records Act.
Upholding the Tenth Amendment
The federal government is expanding and intruding on our constitutionally-guaranteed states’ rights at an alarming rate and Rep. Whitmer is passionate about fighting further efforts to erode the rights granted to the states under the Tenth Amendment.
Government assistance often does everything but actually “assist” helping people find their way out of poverty. Instead of allowing Kansans to become trapped in that cycle of poverty, John has chosen to promote employment and offer support that helps people thrive, rather than merely survive. John knows the most effective way to help someone improve their future is to give them the ability and training to hold down a job.