Politics
6:56 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Brownback, Santorum Greeted By Protesters In Visit To Wichita

Members of the Kansas National Education Association were joined by other local unions and voter rights groups in their protest of Gov. Sam Brownback.
Members of the Kansas National Education Association were joined by other local unions and voter rights groups in their protest of Gov. Sam Brownback.
Credit Sean Sandefur

The Kansas gubernatorial race is in full swing—incumbent Sam Brownback took his campaign to a movie theater in east Wichita Monday afternoon. Joining him was former presidential hopeful and Republican senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum. Greeting them were teachers protesting an education bill signed into law in April.  

Members of the Kansas National Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, gathered at the entrance to the Warren Theater along E 13th St. They say they’re unhappy with the changes Gov. Sam Brownback has made to public education. Dave Kirkbride is a former educator from Wichita and now works with the KNEA. He says that due process for public teachers, removed as a result of April’s education bill, will be sorely missed.

“Before 1975, we had people fired for no good reason - some for political reasons, some because one person in the community got upset with them,” Kirkbride says. “It was a protection against that kind of behavior that was the motivation behind the due process act and it should still be enforced.”

Inside the theater, Gov. Brownback was joined by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum. Brownback says he stands by the decision to remove due process.

“I signed the bill that removed a state mandate on state tenure, but they can fight for that locally. There’s just a point of disagreement - they would like to keep tenure as a state mandate, and we’re saying that should be a local decision,” Brownback says.

Despite varying polls, Brownback says he’s confident in winning a second term against Democratic challenger Paul Davis.

Follow Sean Sandefur on Twitter, @SeanSandefur