Derek Schmidt

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Derek Schmidt
SchmidtDerek15th.jpg
Attorney General of Kansas
Incumbent
Assumed office
2010
Current term ends
2014
Political party Republican
Website Official Kansas Attorney General website
Derek Schmidt (born January 23, 1968, in Independence, Kansas) is the current Republican Attorney General of Kansas. Prior to this, he had served as a member of the State Senate for ten years; for five of these years, specifically from 2005 until 2010, Schmidt held the position of Senate Majority Leader.

Education

  • Bachelor's degree, University of Kansas in journalism
  • Master's degree, University of Leicester in international politics
  • Juris Doctorate degree, Georgetown University Law Center

Political career

While in pursuit of his law degree, Schmidt served as an assistant to both the former United States Senator Nancy Kassebaum and Senator Chuck Hagel. Once he graduated, he served in a number of public official positions including as an assistant to the state attorney general and special counsel to the Governor.

State Senate

Committee assignments

Senator Schmidt served on the following legislative committees during his tenure:

Policy Positions

State Senator Derek Schmidt supported the following issues:

  • Increased state funding for education
  • Increased eligibility of children for health care
  • Nuclear-powered energy
  • Tougher punishments for repeat felons
  • Legislative spending restraint

He had also sponsored/co-sponsored these pieces of legislations:

  • Senate Bill 584 to consolidate the food inspections agencies,
  • Senate Bill 531 to increase K-12 educational funding,
  • House Sub. for SB 81 to increase child health care,
  • Senate Bill 586 to create financial incentives for nuclear power plant expansion,
  • House Bill 2707 to create tougher punishments for three-time thieves,
  • Senate Sub. for HB 2006 to create incentives for the aviation industry

Attorney General

On September 16, 2009, Schmidt announced his candidacy for the statewide office of attorney general, challenging Democratic incumbent Stephen Six, who was appointed by then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius in 2008. [2] He easily captured the Republican nomination in the state's primary on Tuesday, August 3, 2010, receiving over seventy-six percent of the vote. [3] Three months later, Schmidt's upset of Six in the general election was just one of several major political victories for the State Republican Party that included gaining control of both the governorship and the secretary of state office. [4] He then announced his resignation from the State Senate effective January 10th, 2010; this, in turn, set in motion "the process for selecting a replacement to serve the remaining two years of his current Senate term." [5]

Controversies

KTRM support

The State Senate Majority Leader in 2008 "approved of the donation of thousands of dollars of Senate Republican Leadership PAC money" to the Kansas Traditional Republican Majority (KTRM), "a small but well-funded group of Republicans who support judicial activism, oppose school choice, support tax increases, and are generally liberal on social issues." [6] [7] Additionally, KTRM has often targeted conservative Republicans during heated primary contests, even going so far as to label them as "racists" as they did in August 2008 to former Congressman Jim Ryun and Phill Kline for their association with the Family Research Council Action (FRCA); KTRM had claimed that the group's executive director, Tony Perkins, had "ties to the Ku Klux Klan and other white-supremacist organizations." [8] [9]

Tax increases

Though Schmidt advocated during the course of his attorney general campaign that he had protected state taxpayers throughout his state senatorial career, a local newspaper, The Kansas Free Press, revealed that his argument was not entirely accurate. When the state faced a $300 million budget shortfall in 2002, a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans, Senator Schmidt among them, passed a $252 million tax increase that included "a sales tax increase, an inheritance tax increase, a cigarette tax, and an increased franchise tax for businesses, among other things." [10] State legislators who pushed for the tax increase argued that the decision was made in order to prevent massive cuts to education, social services, highways and law enforcement.

Political issues

Healthcare reform

See also: State Attorneys General Against Obamacare

Not long after the dust had settled following the contentious 2010 midterm election, in which Democrat Stephen Six was removed from office as the state's top attorney, former Republican State Senator Derek Schmidt, who was declared the winner of the contest, announced that he expected "to bring the state into a legal challenge to the new federal health care law soon after taking office." [11] He rebuffed criticism that there was no "legal reason to get involved at all" in the suit, noting that while he expected his office a few thousand dollars on the legal challenge, "the outcome could define the relationship between the states and the federal government for a generation." [12]

Two days after being inaugurated as the state's forty-second attorney general, Schmidt requested that Pam Bondi, the Attorney General of Florida, who was also elected to office for the first time in the 2010 midterm elections, to "file a motion to allow Kansas to join the 20 states that originally brought the lawsuit" against the federal government over the health care reform law. [13]

Other roles

  • Trustee, Eastern Kansas Branch of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Member, Independence Chamber of Commerce
  • Director, Independence Industries Incorporated
  • Advisory Council, Kansas Geological Survey
  • Board of Directors, Kansas Legal Services for Prisoners Incorporated
  • Director, Kansas State Historical Society
  • Trustee, Leadership Kansas
  • Community Advisory Committee, Public Television Station KTWU
  • Member, Rotary Club of Independence

Campaign contributions

2008

According to Follow the Money, Schmidt raised $119,229 in 2008 for his state senatorial campaign. [14]

Listed below are the top five contributors:

Donor Amount
Kansas Association of Realtors $2,000
Kansas Contractors Association $1,500
WATCO Companies $1,500
Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry $1,500
Koch Industries $1,500

2010

According to Follow the Money, Schmidt raised $233,352 in 2010 for his state attorney general campaign. [15]

Listed below are the top five contributors:

Donor Amount
Monsanto $2,000
John Deere & Co. $2,000
John D. Pinegar $2,000
BF & Rojo, LLC $2,000
Paula Downing $2,000

Electoral history

2000

2000 Race for State Senate, District 15 - General Election [16]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Derek Schmidt 73.4%
     Democratic Party Johnetta C. Shelton 26.6%
Total Votes 23,470

2004

  • 2004 Race for State Senate, District 15 - Republican Primary and General Election
    • Derek Schmidt ran unopposed in both contests

2008

2010

See also: Kansas Attorney General election, 2010
2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary [19]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Derek Schmidt 76.4%
     Republican Party Ralph DeZago 23.6%
Total Votes 273,104
2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election [20]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Derek Schmidt 54.9%
     Democratic Party Stephen Six 41.9%
     Libertarian Party Dennis Hawver 3.2%
Total Votes 834,704

Contact Information

Capitol Address:
Kansas

Kansas Attorney General Steve Six
Memorial Hall, 2nd Floor
120 Southwest 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612

Phone: (785) 296-2215
Toll Free Phone: (888) 428-8436
Fax: (785) 296-6296
E-mail: general@ksag.org

External links

References

  1. Kansas State Senate - List of Standing Committees
  2. WIBW "Schmidt Declares For AG's Office" 16 Sept. 2009
  3. Legal Newsline "Six has November opponent" 4 Aug. 2010
  4. Topeka Capital-Journal "Schmidt ousts Six in AG race" 2 Nov. 2010
  5. WIBW "Schmidt Resigns From Kansas Senate" 15 Nov. 2010
  6. Kansas Progress "Editorial: Derek Schmidt still needs to answer why he funded attacks on religious conservatives" 23 July, 2009
  7. Human Events "Stop Whitey and the Jews" 5 Aug. 2008
  8. KC News Watch "Kline and Ryun Unmasked: Linked to Ku Klux Klan, Traditional Republicans Demand Answers" 1 Aug. 2008
  9. Red State "The battle for the Kansas Republican Party just got very ugly" 4 Aug. 2008
  10. Kansas Free Press "Derek Schmidt Tried to Defund Law Enforcement" 21 May, 2010
  11. The Kansas City Star "Incoming Kansas AG sees quick jump into health care reform lawsuit" 16 Nov. 2010
  12. The Topeka Capital-Journal "Schmidt: Health case a priority" 16 Nov. 2010
  13. KTKA 49 News "Kansas Attorney General Schmidt asks to join lawsuit against health care law" 12 Jan. 2010
  14. Follow the Money - Campaign Contributions for Derek Schmidt, 2008
  15. Follow the Money - Campaign Contributions for Derek Schmidt, 2010
  16. Kansas Secretary of State - 2000 General Election Results
  17. Kansas Secretary of State - 2008 Primary Election Results
  18. Kansas Secretary of State - 2008 General Election Results
  19. Kansas Secretary of State - 2010 Primary Election Results
  20. Kansas Secretary of State - 2010 General Election Results
Political offices
Preceded by
Tim Emert
Kansas Senate - District 15
2000–2010
Succeeded by
NA
Preceded by
Stephen Six
Kansas Attorney General
2010–present
Succeeded by
NA