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GOP Hits Kansas Governor Hard on Trans Athletes, Her New Ad

On Wednesday, the Democratic governor of Kansas debuted a new television advertisement in which she asserts that there is no place for men in women's sports. This action is being taken in an effort to deflect criticism from the Republican party for her veto of two bills that would have prohibited transgender athletes from participating in girls' and women's high school and collegiate sports.

In the 30-second advertisement, which is Gov. Laura Kelly's first to address what Republicans regard as a crucial education problem that harms Kelly during a close reelection fight, Kelly does not go into details on her position. This advertisement is her first to address the topic. Kelly's campaign later claimed she believed the two laws she vetoed would have introduced unneeded new government mandates and that she believed schools, doctors, families, and local officials should make decisions about transgender athletes.

Republican rival Derek Schmidt, who has served as the state's attorney general for three terms, claimed in a tweet that Kelly is lying about her record, and on Wednesday, the Republican Governors Association issued a digital ad that highlighted Kelly's vetoes. According to statements made by other Republicans, Kelly is attempting to conceal an unpopular and liberal viewpoint.

But Democrats claimed their supporters would interpret the ad as suggesting the problem isn't men competing in women's sports but trans women are women.

Men aren't participating in sports that are traditionally reserved for women. According to Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, the most prominent LGBTQ rights organization in the state, this is the scare-tactic framing of the far right.  What we're talking about here is schoolchildren engaging in competitive games with their classmates at school, and our stance is that transgender girls are girls and transgender guys are boys.

Kelly stares directly at the camera during the commercial and declares, "Of course, guys should not play girls' sports. Okay, I think we can all agree with that," before going on to criticize Schmidt on the issues surrounding school finance.

The advertisement was produced by her campaign in response to an advertisement produced by the Republican Governors Association that featured a collegiate swimmer criticizing Kelly. This was the sixth advertisement by the RGA to bring up the topic; the most recent of these was released a week ago and quotes Schmidt as saying that Kelly is associated with organizations that are promoting the transgender agenda.

Riley Gaines, a graduate of the University of Kentucky who was was included in the most recent RGA advertisement, stated in a phone interview that she was startled by Kelly's ad because it's not correlating with anything she's said so far. Gaines was the swimmer who was featured in the advertisement.

Kelly was urged to address the matter by Tim Shallenburger, who served as Kansas Republican Party chair and a former state treasurer. Shallenburger stated that the problem is significant to a large number of people. The most recent advertisement released by Kelly was described by him as very sneaky, and he added that she is trying to catch Republicans.

Joan Wagnon, who served as mayor of Topeka and chair of the Kansas Democratic Party, raised concerns about whether or not moderate Republicans will support Schmidt's position. However, Wagnon also stated that if she had been the candidate, she is unsure whether or not she would have made the advertisement.

She remarked that if you get drawn into the kind of reactions that are a tit-for-tat, it blurs your message.

In a state that voted for former President Donald Trump in the last presidential election, Kelly is the sole Democrat governor candidate seeking reelection this year. Because of this, the national GOP has a significant interest in taking her down. However, Democratic morale was boosted in August after voters in Kansas decisively rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution. If passed, the proposal would have given the state legislature, which is controlled by Republicans, the authority to severely restrict or outlaw abortion. While Kelly was against the measure, Schmidt was all in favor of it.

The Republicans, on the other hand, see a chance to capitalize on the grievances of suburban parents regarding coronavirus-related school limitations and the content of lessons concerning racism, gender, and sexuality. They were heartened by the win of Republican Glenn Youngkin in the contest for governor of traditionally blue Virginia in 2021. Youngkin had made protecting parents' rights in education a central issue in his campaign.

After participating in a rally on Sunday with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican who has advocated for conservative education reforms, Youngkin and Schmidt were planning to campaign together in the Kansas City region on Thursday.

Although there are very few transgender athletes, Republicans across the United States have framed limitations on transgender athletes as a way to make competition fair and preserve opportunities for girls and women.

An NPR/Ipsos poll conducted in June found that approximately two thirds of U.S. adults are opposed to permitting transgender student athletes to compete on women's and girls' sports teams. This finding is consistent with the findings of other polls conducted in the United States this year, which also found that majorities of respondents opposed transgender athletes competing in women's and girls' sports. In a poll conducted in May by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland, just approximately three in ten respondents believed that transgender women or girls should be permitted to compete.

Renee Erickson, a Republican state senator from Wichita and a primary supporter of both bills, said of Kelly, She's having to pivot and backtrack on her two vetoes, and I don't believe Kansans are going to buy that, frankly.

According to the Movement Advancement Project, a Colorado think tank that promotes LGBTQ rights, 18 states run by the Republican party have laws on the books that prohibit transgender athletes from participating in youth sports. These states include Florida and Texas. Lauren Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the Kelly campaign, pointed out in a statement released on Wednesday that Republican governors in Indiana and Utah had vetoed similar proposals, despite the fact that those vetoes were overruled by legislatures controlled by the Republican Party.

Some people believe that the mere act of considering these kinds of prohibitions can contribute to aggressive behavior among students.

In the veto statements that Kelly issued for legislation in 2021 and 2022, he stated that the proposals would be detrimental to the state's business climate. She went on to say in her second message that such demands did not originate from athletes or schools, but rather from politicians attempting to make political points.

The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on NEWSMAX.

Written by Staff Reports

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