Incumbent Republican Rep. Mitch Holmes is looking for long-term solutions as he prepares to start his fourth term as the representative from the 114th District that includes Pratt County.


Incumbent Republican Rep. Mitch Holmes is looking for long-term solutions as he prepares to start his fourth term as the representative from the 114th District that includes Pratt County.

Unlike other candidates this election, Holmes ran unopposed in the primary and has no opponent in the general election. He hasn’t let that fact decrease his desire to take action when he gets back to Topeka in January.

He anticipates the election of Republican Candidate Sam Brownback as governor and is anxious to work with a Republican governor.

“I want to work with a governor that’s on the same side,” Holmes said.

Among the long-term solutions is a comprehensive education-funding plan similar to the comprehensive highway plan. He favors a comprehensive plan instead of an annual debate.

“I want to see something like that. I want to know where we’re going rather than just take it as it comes,” Holmes said. “I want to see sustainable education in declining population areas that doesn’t result in outright consolidation.”

In 2006, the legislature tried to change the funding formula and instituted a three-year-plan that would hurt small rural schools because they wouldn’t qualify for high-density poverty weighting. Holmes spoke against the bill and swayed 15 legislators to vote against the bill and stopped it.

He also wants to see an Environmental Protection Agency resolution on the farm dust issue that doesn’t hurt framers.

“That’s just not good for us.” Holmes said. “It’s a non-problem but they want us to chase it do. They want us to all become vegetarians.”

Another long-term solution is needed for sediment filling up the state reservoirs. He wants to see sediment traps built on new reservoirs that would prevent sediment from filling reservoirs over a period of 50-year time frame.

The infrastructure of cities depends on those reservoirs and something has to be done about the sediment accumulation now.

“If we don’t address this now it’s really going to hurt us in the next 10 years,” Holmes said.

A change in the method Kansas Supreme Court justices are selected is also needed. Currently, when a position is open on the court, the governor gets a list of three candidates from the Kansas Bar Association and the governor has to choose from those three.

Holmes would like the governor to have the option to decline all three if necessary and be presented with another group of three candidates.

During his six years as a legislator Holmes has introduced legislation that closed a loophole that let juveniles walk free if they are over 18 and commit a felony while in the juvenile facility.

He also got the rights of sex predators at Larned redefined so they can no longer use phones and the mail to contact their victims. Sex predators were categorized as mental patients and they could use the phone and mail.

During his six years in the Legislature, Holmes has been an avid supporter for the development of bio diesel and wing generation. He favors the addition of another coal-fired generator at the Holcomb facility.

Finances will continue to be a challenge for the state. He doesn’t see a rapid turn around in the economy and expects another couple of years at least for tight budgets.

Perhaps the biggest issue facing Kansas’s legislature in 2011 is reapportionment. Holmes expects western districts to get bigger and eastern districts to get small as the state population growth continues to shift to the eastern part of the state.

“There’s going to be some movement but I don’t know what to expect,” Holmes said.

Holmes grew up in Hesston and graduated from Hesston High School, graduated from Hutchinson Community College and received a degree in human resource management from Friends University in Wichita. He earned a postgraduate degree in computer programming from DePaul University in Chicago.

He was active duty reserve in the Navy and spent four years in the Kansas Air National Guard.

He lives on a farm and has been married to Michelle for 25 years. They have five children, four girls and one boy, ages 5 to 19.