Democratic candidates for KS governor make voices heard during forum

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WICHITA, Kan. Wednesday night, Democratic candidates for Kansas governor gathered at KWCH for a forum, discussing and debating key issues facing the state.

The Democrats took center stage a night after Republican gubernatorial candidates gathered for their forum at KWCH.

Wednesday, the topics ranged from school funding and arming teachers in schools to marijuana legalization, abortion and reaching voters in a highly Republican state.

Friends University Political Science Professor Dr. Russell Arben Fox says it's important to notice the Democratic party has a Primary this year. In 2014, Paul Davis ran uncontested until the general election against Republican Sam Brownback.

In Wednesday's forum, Fox says he was looking for candidates to step outside the box from the normal responses people may expect to hear from Democrats. While he didn't see a lot of that, he says there were a few instances that stood out.

One point of contention Wednesday was on the topic of abortion. State Sen. Laura Kelly, a leading Democratic candidate for governor suggested one of her main rivals is misleading voters about his stance on the issue.

She made the comment about former Kansas Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty.

Kelly has had a strong abortion-rights voting record in the Legislature. Another major Democratic candidate, former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, also has been vocal in supporting abortion rights.

Svaty served seven years in the Kansas House before becoming agriculture secretary in 2009 and consistently supported anti-abortion legislation. But he has promised to veto any new restrictions if elected.

He said during the forum that he would support the right of women to make their own health care decisions.

For the most part, the five candidates gathered Wednesday shared similar stances on topics related to school funding, protecting public schools and marijuana legalization.

You can re-watch the forum in its entirety in the links below: