The duties of the Kansas State Treasurer’s office call specifically for someone like 12th District Kansas Senator Caryn Tyson, and her time in Kansas public office proves she’s particularly suited for that post. Her opponents in both the Republican primary and the general election this fall – well, not so much.
In other industries they refer to such proficiencies as core competencies – the idea that an individual or an organization possesses not just one or a few of the qualities that lend toward accomplishing a task, but that the summation of myriad points predicts a high probability of success. Her degrees in computer science and math and an advanced degree in engineering management alone don’t foretell the job she’ll do as state treasurer – until we consider her education in the context that she’s the only candidate in the race that’s all ready actually saved you money.
State Treasurer is an office like others in state government – like Secretary of State and Commissioner of Insurance – that doesn’t draw the spotlight unless something goes wrong. Most people really have no clue what Kansas’ official chief financial officer does or what responsibilities go along with the office.
The state treasurer is tasked with managing the public funds of the state – all the money collected by Kansas from property taxes to investment interest to sales taxes to fishing licenses – and managing that cash to ensure it comes from where it’s supposed to and gets to where it’s supposed to go – to your city, your school district, payrolls for highway workers and state employee retirement funds. It’s a multi-faceted organization that also includes its own administrative division, a municipal bond services division that approves, monitors and pays any bonded indebtedness in the state, as well as an unclaimed property division that aims to find owners for abandoned assets left idle by businesses and individuals.
Similarly as interesting is the fact that the Kansas State Treasurer’s office is a fee-funded agency, meaning it’s paid for by user fees for services statewide and not by taxes.
Tyson’s work in the Kansas Legislature has never been high profile, but instead always focused on the meat and potatoes of conservative state management and traditional Kansas values. She’s been a solid pro-life vote and a stalwart Second Amendment and personal protection supporter. She broke from other Republicans in 2015 and 2017 to oppose tax increases that still drain Kansans’ wallets to this day, and months ago she passed legislation that exempted the first $100,000 of residential property value from the state’s 20-mill school finance plan.
The other Republican in the primary ace, Representative Steven Johnson of Assaria, voted against a provision that defined concealed carry in Kansas; supported Kansas taxpayers funding illegal immigrants with in-state college tuition and supported taxpayer funds for abortion in the state. By voting for the 2015 and 2017 tax increases, Johnson chose the path too often selected by Democrats toward the easy fix – taking more of your money as opposed to making hard leadership decisions to reduce spending.
Lynn Rogers, the sole Democrat and the incumbent treasurer in the race, has been as much a stealth state treasurer with his appointment since Jake LaTuner left the office to become 2nd District U.S. Congressman as he was as lieutenant governor (yes, Rogers was(italic) lieutenant governor under Laura Kelly). Rural Kansas is still waiting for the rural initiative package Rogers and Kelly trumpeted when he made his grand fact-finding tour of small towns in the state in 2019. We got what we expected – nothing.
That Rogers was Kelly’s selection, and knowing the degree to which the governor embraces Joe Biden’s affinity for economic and cultural disaster as it’s currently playing out on the national stage, it’s clear Rogers is not a choice for Kansas.
We want better than that for Kansas State Treasurer, and we’ll vote for Caryn Tyson.
– Dane Hicks is publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Kan.