Only One Candidate for Governor Responded to AOK's Questions About Wildlife & Prairie Conservation

  Black-footed Ferrets need your support, and support from our elected officials. Photo by Ron Klataske

Black-footed Ferrets need your support, and support from our elected officials. Photo by Ron Klataske

Prior to the primary, letters with a questionnaire regarding important wildlife conservation questions were sent to all Kansas gubernatorial candidates by Dick Seaton, vice-chair of the Audubon of Kansas Board of Trustees. It was sent to Democrat Laura Kelly, Republican Kris Kobach, Independent Greg Orman, and all of the other registered candidates.

Laura Kelly was the only candidate who responded. She responded in the affirmative (Yes) to all five questions. Shortly before the primary election, we sent a reminder to other candidates, but still none responded. The questions and Laura Kelly's answers were as follows:

QUESTIONS FOR GOVERNOR CANDIDATES

1. The three previous governors all supported protection of the tallgrass prairie from industrial windpower development. Will you commit to keeping the Tallgrass Heartland designation in place and urging the industry to honor it?  Laura Kelly: Yes.

2. Conservation easements currently protect 130,000 acres in Kansas. Will you protect the integrity of the Uniform Conservation Easement Act (58-3810) from amendments that undermine its effectiveness?  Laura Kelly: Yes

3. Will you support repeal of the antiquated statutes adopted in 1901 and 1903 which compel landowners to eradicate prairie dogs even if they don't wish to do so?  Laura Kelly: Yes.

4. Quivira National Wildlife Refuge has been determined to be seriously deprived of its water rights, which provide critical habitat for migratory birds. Will you support efforts to restore these rights?  Laura Kelly: Yes.

5. The current secretary of KDWPT has refused to accept available federal funds designated by congress for preservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species. Will you support selection of a secretary who will work to conserve nongame, threatened and endangered wildlife?  Laura Kelly: Yes.

  The future of Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is in peril. We need leaders that support restoring senior water rights. Photo by Ryan Klataske.

The future of Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is in peril. We need leaders that support restoring senior water rights. Photo by Ryan Klataske.

Audubon of Kansas does not endorse candidates for public office. However, we do encourage voters to seek information on the positions that candidates take on important subjects, including those dealing with stewardship of the state's natural resources, environmental concerns, and conservation of wildlife resources. We urge citizens to independently follow up with inquiries to candidates regarding their positions and plans on subjects of importance--including those outlined in the questionnaire.