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Pratt candidate Hoener-Queal wants to fix a broken system

Courtney Blankenship
Pratt Tribune
Donna Hoener-Queal is counting on her background in the judicial system and strong farm values to help her fix a broken system, if elected.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to create uncertainty and economic instability through the months, Donna Hoener-Queal, a republican candidate for the Kansas House of Representatives 113th District, said that one of the biggest challenges in the upcoming legislative session will involve managing resources and keeping commitments to schools and highway plans. 

The 113th District covers all of Pratt and Stafford Counties, and portions of Pawnee, Barton and Rice Counties.

Hoener-Queal said the pandemic has especially shown the importance of schools, healthcare, small businesses, and the ag-industry to communities, as well as the need to continue building and investing in Kansas infrastructure.

Born and raised on a farm north of Iuka, Hoener-Queal graduated from Pratt High School and received her degree in Administration of Justice from Bethany College.

“Following graduation from college, I became employed with the Kansas Judicial Branch as a Court Services Officer,” Hoener-Queal said. “During my employment, I was responsible for the supervision of juvenile and adult offenders, preparation of pre-sentence investigations, and for the last 15 years of employment, was the Chief Court Services Officer for the 30th Judicial District, which entailed managing and evaluating staff.”

Hoener-Queal retired after 34 years with the Judicial Branch. 

While with Court Services, she received her certification in mediation, which allowed her to work with high-conflict, divorced families in custody situations to develop parenting plans.

Throughout her career, Hoener-Queal said she has served on numerous committees, state boards and advisory positions.

“I am currently the Vice-President of the Pratt USD 382 school board, a board member of DCCCA, which provides substance abuse treatment and foster care, as well as other services that are provided to our youth and communities,” Hoener-Queal said. “I am an active member of Ascension Lutheran Church in Pratt.”

Hoener-Queal and her husband, Don, have been married for 25 years, and have one daughter, Meredith, who is a junior in college. Together, they own an agriculture related business called Gyp Hills Cedar Co./Queal Enterprises, Inc., which is located in Sawyer and serves farmers and ranchers throughout the area.   

“I made the decision to run for this position for several reasons:  Schools are a priority,” Hoener-Queal said. “I know how important it is to maintain local control of our schools and the challenges our rural districts face every day in our classrooms, by our students, our teachers and our administrators. The urban areas of our state don’t understand the challenges of rural Kansas.”

Part of keeping the economy strong in rural Kansas, Hoener-Queal said, means keeping hospitals open and providing healthcare to everyone, as well as fighting for the agricultural industry and supporting small businesses.

“All are vital parts of our communities, and we will not be able to attract people to rural Kansas without those being in place,” Hoener-Queal said. “We need to create a stable tax environment by fostering job growth and the creation of jobs, as well as nurturing our investment.”

In terms of revenue, Hoener-Queal said it is important to ‘protect the three-legged stool,’ so that sales, income, and property taxes are carefully balanced.

“Relying too heavily on property taxes would be devastating for our community,” Hoener-Queal said. “I would like to make our tax code a little more fair by leveling the playing field between the out-of-state online retailers and our local brick and mortar stores.”

On the budget side, Hoener-Queal said there is a need to ‘find more efficiencies’ in the budget through reform and avoid cutting the budget just ‘for the sake of cutting.’

“I spent my career working with people attempting to make them whole again,” Hoener-Queal said. “Our political system isn’t working for me and it’s time to make it whole, by listening, compromising and working toward solutions that will work for the 113th District and all of Kansas.”