From the media perspective there are two kinds of politicians in Kansas, conservative (bad) and moderate (good) with virtually all use of the words “extreme” or “ultra” being reserved for those on the right.
Rather than relying on old biases as much of the media does, the Kansas Policy Institute methodically scores the performance of each legislator using a “freedom index.” The index gauges the individual’s commitment to free markets and limited constitutional government, the historic foundation of the Republican platform. KPI bases its scores not on what candidates says but on how legislators vote.
As it happens the legislator who votes most consistently to the left, more consistently to the left than any Democrat, is “moderate” Republican Sen. Dinah Sykes who represents Lenexa and the neighboring corner of Overland Park.
Over the course of the five years before the 2017 session, the average score for a Republican senator had been about 60 percent and for a Senate Democrat about 32 percent. The infusion of “moderates” pulled these scores down to 39 percent and 27 percent respectively in 2017, but at 8.8 percent Sykes registered well below even the Democratic norm. Her objectively extreme score was the lowest in either the House or the Senate.
The Kansas City Star celebrated Sykes’s primary victory in August 2016 over incumbent Sen. Greg Smith with the headline, “Moderate Republicans cruise to victory in Kansas primaries.” The article continued, “Dinah Sykes and John Skubal, both running on moderate platforms, defeated incumbent conservatives Greg Smith and Jeff Melcher for two Senate seats in Johnson County.”
Skubal, another extreme leftist, scored 11.8 percent on the KPI index, lower than any Democratic senator and lower than any legislator other than Sykes. In sum, these two ultra liberals scammed their way to victory in a Republican primary with ample help from the Kansas City Star.
Sykes proved to be the ultimate “stealth candidate,” a phrase introduced by the Mainstream Coalition–another deliberate misnomer–to describe Christian candidates 25 years ago. She joined the Rotary and the Chamber upon becoming a candidate and used those new allegiances to promote her pseudo moderation.
One Sykes campaign flier read, “As a Rotarian Dinah applies the 4-way test.” The first of those tests–“Is it the truth?”–Sykes clearly failed.
Greg and his wife Missey Smith were particularly troubled by the way the Sykes campaign dishonored the memory of the Smiths’ murdered daughter Kelsey. According to Greg Smith, Sykes was recruited by Stephanie Sharp, former Kansas Rep and current JCCC Trustee.
Says Smith, Sharp “has said, multiple times, in public, ‘I think it is disgusting that Greg Smith uses his dead daughter for political gain.'”
Continues Smith, “I understand the agony of losing a child to violent crime and you’re damn right I will do everything in my power to make sure no other family has to experience what I have experienced.”
The Smiths’ efforts resulted in the creation of the Kelsey Smith Act, a law which empowers cell phone companies to ping a cell phone if authorities determine the subscriber is in danger. Says Smith, “23 states have the Kelsey Smith Act thanks to Missey and I. We’ll keep going until all 50 do, and the federal government.” He adds, “If that’s using my murdered Kelsey, I have no regrets doing so.”
Smith pegged Sykes for her extreme positions prior to the 2016 election. The media chose not to notice. They had “moderates” to elect, the truth be damned. Let us see if the media can repeat that act now that people like Sykes and Skubal have voting records.
Sykes did not respond to the the Sentinel’s request for clarification.