Wichita candidate for Kansas House focuses on transgender rights, healthcare, business

LAWRENCE – Kansas House candidate Jeline Abeg said her consideration for public office began while advocating earlier this year in Topeka against Senate Bill 160, which would prohibit transgender athletes from playing sports at school.

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Abeg went to Cowley College and received a degree in criminal justice. She served as a police officer in Caldwell for a short time before becoming a radio host. From there, Abeg found a career in audio production and hopes to pursue his passion for audio production for the rest of his life.

Abeg said she was motivated to help people in their professions – whether serving the public as a police officer or as a radio host.

As progressive, Abeg said that her job is “to cooperate, not to compete and be able to come up with solutions that work for everyone.”

“As a transgender woman, I am very much interested in defending trans young people from what I consider to be a coordinated attack on them, directly against their existence,” Abeg said.

Abeg was referring to legislation vetoed at each of the last two sessions by Governor Laura Kelly that would restrict transgender women and girls from participating in school activities. The Kansas Senate overturned the veto this year, but the House of Representatives did not have the necessary two-thirds support to complete the repeal.

Abeg said she was disappointed by the negligence of the majority of the legislature to consider and hear the evidence presented by opponents of the bill.

“It’s a very ideological thing for them,” she said.

Abeg said the legislature’s idea of ​​blocking access to gender-sensitive care for transgender youth was also a “scary prospect”. Abeg said he knew clients at a Kansas clinic who traveled for hours to receive health care for transgender people because they could no longer receive them in their home state.

“Now that we have the vocabulary and the knowledge to help children live their fullest and most authentic lives, to see it really quite maliciously removed from them, it’s just infuriating,” Abeg said.

Abeg also wants the state to expand access to health insurance for low-income families, an option provided through the adoption of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

“In the last few years, the legislature has failed to expand Medicaid and take advantage of some of the federal dollars that are available,” Abeg said.

She said the lack of quality health care available to Kansans was a problem, especially mental health care, which Abeg said was a personal problem close to her heart.

“I would really like to see as many opportunities as possible for all kanzans to have access to quality health care, and I just don’t see that happening,” Abeg said.

According to Kansas Hospital Association9% of Kanzans were uninsured by 2018, which is equal to the national average. Compared to the rest of the country, Kansas had a lower unsecured rate than 15 other states. Of those insured in Kansas, 55% received employer-based insurance.

Abeg, who has been in Kansan all his life – except for a few years in New York – and has lived in several cities in the state, said the return of business to Wichita is important for her area.

Abeg said there was a “relocation of companies” in Wichita. She cited the closure of the Boeing facility in 2013 and the loss of small business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“(Business loss) isn’t necessarily unique to Wichita, but as a place where larger corporations can call, I feel there isn’t much incentive for businesses to move to the area right now,” Abeg said. “It’s something I definitely intend to look at.”

Abeg said he saw MP Stephanie Byers, a Democrat from Wichita, as a role model. Byers was the first transgender MP in Kansas and a member of the Chicago nation. Abeg is a citizen of the Cherokee nation.

“(Byers) and I are probably doing things a little differently, but I know we agree on many points,” Abeg said. “We’re both very committed to the things that interest us.”

Byers has decided not to run for re-election this year after serving his first term.

Abeg said that in addition to focusing on transgender equality, she also wants to represent the American Indian population, preserving cultures and celebrating heritage.

Abeg believes there are inherent challenges that come with living in a Republican-oriented area. Abeg compared running to Landwer to “the situation of David and Goliath.”

“I would say, however, that there are almost as many non-aligned voters in this county as there are Republicans, and I don’t consider that a lost cause at all. “I understand that this competition will be a learning process for me,” said Abeg.

Landver served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 1995 to 2012, returned in 2017 and has been in office ever since. She did not respond to requests to comment on the story.

Abeg said he expects Landver to “use every tool in his box to try to minimize” who Abeg is and to try to drag her down “into the minds of voters.”

“The main challenge, I think, is just to maintain optimism and the strength to overcome it, because I know it can be done,” Abeg said.

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