(Jason E. Silvers/Tribune photos)
Brownback, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, and several other Republicans joined Kansas Republican Party Chairwoman Amanda Adkins Thursday morning to kick off the "Road Map for Growth" Tour, which began at 8 a.m. at the Kansas Republican Party headquarters in Topeka.
"It's a meet-and-greet with candidates and to show support for an effort to get out the vote," Sherriene Jones-Sontag, communications director and press secretary for Brownback, said.
"It's about promoting the party and our growth agenda," Brownback said of the purpose of the tour and his stop in Fort Scott on Thursday. "We need to grow jobs in Kansas."
Brownback spoke with constituents, including a group of motorcyclists from the region, as well as Jenkins and several other Republicans, grabbed a quick lunch at Pizza Hut, then hopped back on his bike to continue his tour across the state.
"The tour has been good," he said. "This is our third stop today. I've met a lot of good candidates."
Brownback said the most common issues he has come across on the tour are "growth and jobs," and increases in K-12 school funding.
"Those are the two big ones people are talking about," he said.
Brownback said he thinks the Republican party is faring well heading into the Nov. 6 general election.
"I think it's doing well nationally and across the state," he said.
Candidates present at the gathering, other than Jenkins, who will face Democrat Tobias Schlingensiepen on Nov. 6, included Jake LaTurner, who is running against Democrat Gene Garman for the Kansas Senate District 13 seat; Jeff Locke, who is running against Democrat Bob Grant for the Kansas House of Representatives District 2 seat; Marty Read, who is taking on Democrat Shirley Palmer in the race for the Kansas House District 4 seat; Barbara Albright, who will face Democrat Clyde Killion next week; and Rhonda Dunn, candidate for Bourbon County treasurer whose opponent is Democrat Susan Quick. Jones-Sontag said Brownback personally endorses each Republican candidate who was present Thursday.
Locke said he supports Brownback's message, which is "about growing the economy."
"That's the road map for growth," Locke said, adding he especially supports job growth in Southeast Kansas because he wants to "help the region grow."
Locke said he wants to "block Obamacare because that's a job killer."
The event Thursday was about promoting the party and encouraging people to vote in the election, Locke said.
"It's about getting out to vote and getting them excited," he said. "If we don't vote, we're not exercising our citizenship."
Locke added it is important, as well as each voter's responsibility, to make an informed vote.
"That's what a citizen does," he said.
The Kansas House of Representatives District 2 includes a small portion of Bourbon County, which is why Locke present Thursday in Fort Scott. Locke said he also followed Brownback for support on his later stops Thursday in Crawford County.
Other stops on Brownback's tour included Leawood, an official visit to the Fort Scott Community College Harley-Davidson Facility in Frontenac, Pittsburg, Columbus, Independence, Winfield, Wichita, Hays, and Salina. The tour is scheduled to end this evening in Salina.