Photos by Grace Goldman
Class of 2011 East Graduate Logan Heley won the August primary election for Kansas Senate District 21, making him a candidate in the general election this fall. Of the nearly 3500 primary voters, Heley collected 82% of the votes.
Heley is pleased with his win but is even more pleased with the total number of Democrats who voted: nearly 3500 showed up to the polls on August 2, about three times more than in the last election for this position. He believes this increase in participation is associated with dissatisfaction with current Kansas legislature, namely Governor Sam Brownback.
If elected, Heley is fully prepared to represent his district by challenging Kansas’s current policies, including the decrease in public school funding, taxes on groceries and income tax inequality.
“I’m the best candidate in this race to take our collective voice as Kansans to Topeka and represent us in the state legislature,” Heley said.
Heley will face Republican Dinah Sykes and Libertarian Michael Kerner in the general election for District 21’s sole senator position. Though this will be a different race entirely, Heley’s strategy is still largely the same.
“It’s going out, meeting voters, making sure they know who I am and what I stand for,” Heley said.
This election differs from most in that none of the candidates have any elected experience. The incumbent, Republican Greg Smith, was defeated in the primaries, leaving the seat vacant for one of the three hopefuls. Only 23 years old, Heley is the youngest candidate, which some may equate to inexperience. Heley, however, believes this is to his benefit, as he is seeing younger voters become more engaged in the political process than ever before.
Senior Mazie Brooke has made an effort to get involved, despite being four days too young to vote on Election Day this fall. She believes in the importance of student involvement because of how state-level decisions affect our everyday lives.
“I don’t think that a lot of students are aware of how important state-level elections are,” Brooke said. “The decisions of governors, representatives and senators affect our daily lives much more than those of the president do.”
Heley is trying to absolve this unawareness by connecting with students and other young voters. He believes that this is key to creating lasting leadership for our state.
“I think this election presents us with a really good opportunity to get not only a new voice but to give a new generation the opportunity to be leaders in our state and country,” Heley said.
Creating a new, collective voice for Kansas has been his message all along, and he hopes Kansas voters of every party will identify with this.
Heley is very pleased with the success of his campaign so far and is optimistic about the general election. Though he is at the origin of it all, he credits most of his accomplishment to his team of interns, donors, callers and other various contributors.
“I’m glad that [voters] have faith in me, but beyond that, this is a team effort,” Heley said. “We have the best team to not only win this election, but help get Kansas moving forward again beyond Governor Brownback.”
Heley highly encourages all eligible voters–of any beliefs and party affiliations–to let their voices be heard by casting their votes on November 8.