January 18, 2007

District 107 Constituents,

It is with great pride that I write to you after my first week as your state representative. It was a busy week full of orientation meetings, opening ceremonies, and the governor’s state of the state address. I am serving on three committees that meet four times a week: The House Taxation Committee that meets at 9:00am, The Federal and State Affairs Committee that meets at 1:30, and The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee that meets at 3:30. I am pleased by my committee assignments and feel that they will allow me to represent all of my constituents.

It was an honor to have former Senate President Ross Doyen as my guest. He was seated personally by House Speaker Melvin Neufeld on the house floor for the swearing in ceremony. I also had several of my family members, Cloud County Republican President Charles Johnson, his wife Marsha and Dr. Paul and Peggy Nelson.

During this busy week, I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Rick Underbakee from Cloud County Community College and discuss how our community college may impact the future of wind technology and training as both parties have stressed the importance of renewable energy in Kansas. We heard briefings in the Taxation committee on the reductions of the Kansas Franchise tax, State Unemployment Tax and a general overview of taxes in the state of Kansas. And many of the briefings in Agricultural and Natural Resources have been from the Secretary of Agriculture and his staff with an outline of the state's programs. Federal & State Affairs had a meeting to introduce the staff and committee members.

Last week the governor addressed the Kansas Legislature outlining her priorities for the legislative session. I was pleased with her proposals that include reducing the tax burden on Kansans and increasing economic development in rural areas. Much of the proposals Governor Sebelius outlined were included in the House Republican Agenda that I will work to pass this session. Items on the House Republican Agenda that I look forward to working on include:

-Repealing the State Franchise Tax retroactive January 1, 2007

-A constitutional amendment to ease the property tax burden on Kansas citizens. Especially those reaching the maximum social security retirement age

-Exempting Social Security income from the state income tax

-Protecting Kansas natural water resources including the Republican River Basin

-Alexa’s law (unborn victims of violence act)

-Ensuring vocational training and workforce development programs meet the ongoing needs of the Kansas business community and ensure efficient use of state and local resources

-Establishing a probation and parole program to reduce the number of offenders who violate their sentences and are sent back to prison. This will reduce the number of prison beds needed

This is just a sample of legislation that I will be working on to improve the quality of life for all of you in the 107th district and the State of Kansas. Please feel free to contact me at my capitol office if I can ever be of service to you. I look forward to working with the governor and other legislators across the state to pass good policy for all Kansans.

Elaine Bowers
Representative, 107th District