Republican gubernatorial candidates clash over key issues in forum

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Update Tuesday night.:

Five Republican candidates for Kansas governor expressed differing takes on several key topics during Tuesday evening's forum at KWCH.

Among the areas they differ is on whether the state should encourage public schools to allow teachers to be armed to stop shootings.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Tuesday that he supports arming teachers because schools need "a good guy with a gun" in their buildings.

Kobach is trying to unseat Gov. Jeff Colyer in the Aug. 7 primary. Colyer said arming teachers is a local issue and he would support decisions by local school boards to do so.

Former state Sen. Jim Barnett said he opposes the idea. Insurance Commissioner

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer said he favors making sure that each school has an armed officer and local school boards should decide for themselves whether to arm individual teachers.

Colyer and Kobach also clashed over spending on public schools. Colyer touted a school finance law enacted this year that phases in a $548 million increase in education funding over five years. The governor noted that the state did not raise taxes to pay for it.

Lawmakers passed the law in response to a Kansas Supreme Court order in October, and the court said last month that the new spending still is not sufficient.

Kobach said Colyer paid a "$500 million ransom" by signing the new law and said the Supreme Court is wrong in its latest order.

When it comes to school funding, Kansas City-area evangelist and entrepreneur Patrick Kucera said the focus needs to shift to what's being taught in the classroom. He said public schools should focus on teaching students how to earn money and have an "entrepreneurial mindset" once they graduate high school.

Kobach and Colyer agree that they don't want to change the state's marijuana laws.

Both said they oppose legalizing marijuana for medical use.

Voters in traditionally conservative Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana last month.

Selzer, said he would favor legalizing marijuana for medical use but not recreational use.

Barnett said the state should consider legalizing medical marijuana and that he would sign well-crafted and well-studied legislation.

Kucera also voiced support for legalizing medical marijuana, saying it's "on the right side of history."

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







Want to make sure you're making an informed decision in the Aug. 7 Primary?

Tune in for tonight's Republican Gubernatorial Candidate forum at 6:15 p.m. on KWCH 12.

We will also stream this forum LIVE here on and on the KWCH 12 app.