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County delegates participate in selecting senate candidates

Staff writer

Republican Jeff Longbine and Democrat Jerry Karr will face each other in the race to replace State Sen. Jim Barnett to represent the 17th District.

Both parties had conventions in Emporia — Republicans, Thursday, and Democrats, Friday — to nominate replacements for Barnett, who will resign Oct. 1.

Jeff Longbine

Longbine is in his fourth year as a city commissioner in Emporia. He said he has three areas he wants to focus on: education, economic development, and efficiency in state government.

Longbine said the Kansas school-funding formula should be reviewed because it doesn’t adequately address the differences between large and small school districts.

“What concerns me is the disparity in K-12 education,” he said.

Marion County Republican Party Chairman Todd Heitschmidt said he appreciated Longbine’s focus on economic development, and not just for Emporia and Lyon County.

“We need to create opportunities for our young people to return home,” Longbine said.

Jerry Karr

Karr represented the 17th District for 18 years in the 1980s and 1990s. Because the election comes midterm, he said that experience would help him be an effective senator from the beginning.

“I kind of know the territory,” he said.

Marion County Democratic Party Chairman Harry Bennett said he was pleased that Karr accepted the nomination. He said Karr has always been a strong advocate for school funding. Bennett also said Karr is familiar with the issues important to Marion County residents.

“You just have to look at Jerry Karr’s background,” he said.

Karr, of rural Emporia, is a farmer and rancher.

Last modified Sept. 22, 2010

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