Pratt Chamber of Commerce hosted Kansas gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly on Saturday and standing-room-only Republicans and Democrats turned out for the meet and greet occasion.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly received a warm reception at the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce office on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Local Republicans and Democrats filled the meeting room with attendance estimated to be more than 75 people.

“It feels like old home week here,” Kelly said, referring to seeing Linda Lanterman, Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism Director, with whom she worked in years past and Ruth Teichman of Stafford, who represented the 33rd District as state senator from 2001-2013. Kelly said the governor- ship of Sam Brownback was a dark time for Kansas.

“If Kris Kobach wins, we can kiss Kansas good- bye,” Kelly said. “Tax cuts didn’t work. Education will be the first thing we will work for.”

Kelly encouraged early voting at the Pratt County Courthouse during regular business hours. She also reminded the audience that free rides are available to city residents by Pratt Public Transportation on election day next Tuesday, whether it is to go to the polls or to the grocery store or on any errand.

“It’s time to get Kansas back on track,” Kelly said.

County Commissioner Glenna Boho asked Kelly if she would sign a pledge to not take funds from Kansas Department of Transportation. Kelly responded that she would not sign any pledge be- cause it is impossible to know what circumstances might be in the future.

When Kelly was asked about her position on abortion, she responded that she supports legalized abortions because the alternative is illegal abortions. Kelly said her focus would be on pregnancy prevention and family planning to reduce the number of legalized abortions.

Debra Lemon of Pratt asked Kelly what she could do to help the Kansas Department of Children and Families recruit and retain social workers. Kelly said that her goal would be to assure that the DCF programs were funded and had the needed resources. There was also discussion about the 2010 decision of Kansas legislators to reject expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as O’Bama Care, forgoing revenue to the state, amounting to billions, according to a 2015 Health News report by Maggie Fox. Kelly told the group that the Kansas legislature passed Medicaid expansion in 2017, but that then-Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed it.
Kelly said she would sign legislation to pass Medicaid expansion.

 Martha Wade, vice chair of the Pratt County Democrats, helped organize the reception, together with Ruth Ann Barker, Pratt County Democratic Chairman Kermit Brown and several volunteers.

Wade expressed thanks to Kelly for her visit and also to Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce Director Kim DeClue and the Chamber Legislative Committee for use of the office for the event.

“I like her common sense approach,” said Nancy Kerr, whose husband Fred A. Kerr served as Kansas state senator for 16 years, from 1976 to 1992, including four years as the majority (Republican) leader.