Tom Sawyer values hard work and believes we deserve a legislature that works together to solve our problems and is accountable to the public.
Tom Sawyer has earned a reputation in the legislature of being a consensus builder. He works across party lines to solve our state's problems and to improve the lives of working families. When he was House Majority Leader in 1992 many newspapers across the state hailed it as one of the most successful legislative sessions ever.
In 2012 Tom Sawyer was frustrated watching the legislature fight and fail to do its job. When the legislature passed a budget that will leave us millions of dollars in debt in a few years and failed to do its constitutional duty to redraw political boundaries, Tom Sawyer had enough and decided it was time to try to return to the legislature to restore it to a body that works together to solve problems.
Tom Sawyer values family and the value of a hard earned dollar.
He feels that the state should budget more like a family - a family lives within its means while taking care of its children and its seniors.
Tom Sawyer feels that the state budget needs to be on a low fat diet. During Tom Sawyer's last few years in the Kansas House, the state cut $159 million in waste out of the budget. Examples include: Closing little used state offices in rural areas saving the state $1.4 million annually, reducing the State Parole Board and State Board of Tax Appeals from 5 to 3 members each, changing the state supplies contract to save $100,000 annually, HB 2678 which saved the state $4.5 million by allowing the state to phase in new license plates over 3 years.
Tom Sawyer feels that we made some progress in cutting waste, but more work needs to be done. He feels we need to cut carefully so that we cut the waste but don't take a meat ax to vital state programs and our children's education.
Tom also feels that the state should pay its debts off during the good times so that we won't have to raise taxes or cut vital programs during the bad times.
Tom Sawyer values a good education system that is accountable to the public.
He believes the state could improve our children's education by reducing class sizes and directing more tax dollars into the classrooms by cutting waste. Tom feels that class sizes need to be small and administration should be even smaller.
Tom Sawyer values a society that takes care of its seniors.
He has fought to protect our senior citizens. He has worked to keep them from paying state income taxes on their social security, to increase their homestead tax refund and to allow them
to stay in their homes as long as possible by providing them access to vital services. Tom has received awards and honors recognizing him for his work in behalf of our seniors.
Tom Sawyer values good paying jobs.
When Tom Sawyer was in the house, he worked to pass a bill that could bring a thousand new high paying aircraft maintenance jobs to Wichita. Tom also supported the BioSciences bill that could bring us many high paying jobs in the future. And when Tom Sawyer found out that the State was outsourcing call center jobs overseas, he offered an amendment that put a stop to it!
Tom also feels that we need to make it easier for our kids to get a higher education. He feels that the state should use some of its lottery and gaming money for college scholarships. One of the best ways to attract new high paying jobs to Kansas is by providing companies with a well educated, highly trained workforce.
Tom Sawyer values a fair tax system that allows families to succeed and prosper.
In 1992, as House Majority Leader, he led the effort to rewrite our school finance formula that reduced our property taxes by 29%. In 1995, he led the effort that cut our motor vehicle taxes by 50% over 5 years. In 1996, he led the effort to give us a homestead exemption that cut every homeowners property taxes. Tom Sawyer has long called for the elimination of the sales tax on food. As the economy improves, he will once again push to eliminate this tax. Since 1999 our property taxes have risen by 94%. He wants to lead the charge to put a property tax lid in place so that property taxes don't go any higher.
Tom Sawyer values a safe community.
He feels that if we aren't safe in our homes nothing else matters much. Tom Sawyer is a strong supporter of Community policing and supports giving law enforcement the tools they need to keep us safe. The Kansas State Troopers Association recognizes his work and have endorsed him over the years.
Tom Sawyer values a good health care system.
Tom feels that Doctors and Patients should be in charge of health care decisions not insurance company bureaucrats. He is also working to make prescription drugs more affordable and to make health insurance more affordable and available to all Kansans.
Tom Sawyer values an open government that is accountable to the voters.
He has led the fight to improve the campaign and ethics laws in Kansas government. As chair of the House Ethics and Elections committee in 1991 he led the effort to pass the biggest ethics reform law ever passed in Kansas. He continues his fight to reduce the influence of special interest lobbyists and to make Kansas Government more accountable to the public. In the 2008 session he co-sponsored a bill that will make it easier for the district attorney to prosecute violations of the Kansas Open Meetings Act.
"Mr. Sawyer, a Wichita accountant, is the sort of citizen advocate you'd like to see in every race at every level of government. He is a quick mind. He's informed and opinionated. He comes up with good ideas, then sticks with them. He's also a nice guy with an engaging enthusiasm and respect for public service." -Wichita Eagle Editorial, 1998