State legislators will need courage in the next two years to cut funding for programs that are unnecessary or ineffective, state Rep. J. Robert Brookens, R-Marion, said June 30.
The legislature will certainly face other issues, but none will approach the importance of the budget, he said.
“That will be by far the most important overriding issue,” Brookens said.
He thinks the legislature should make targeted cuts because any more across-the-board cuts will hurt unnecessary services. For example, he said the state had to restore corrections funding because prisons couldn’t afford enough staff.
“I’m not interested in setting people loose,” Brookens said.
Jobs are a big concern in Kansas right now, and the state has a duty to try not to cause a loss of jobs, he said.
“Jobs will always be an important thing, but during a recession, it’s especially important,” he said.
Brookens said his first term as state representative of District 70 has solidified his view of what makes a good representative. It is the job of a representative to give the people of the district a voice in government. That is the reason he wrote a column during the legislative session and why he conducted a survey seeking constituents’ opinions on issues.
“I believe it is very important that a representative stay in contact with the folks in the district,” he said.
Brookens grew up in Westmoreland. He attended the University of Kansas before studying law at Washburn University. After passing the bar exam, he moved to Marion where he has lived and worked the past 32 years.