Former legislator decides to run for House in 120th District

By Angie Baldelomar

When John Faber was defeated in the 2010 Republican primary for his seat representing the old 121st District in the Kansas House, he thought his days at the Statehouse were over. However, the 2016 elections find him running for the House of Representative once again, this time in the new 120th District.

He said his phone started ringing as soon as Rep. Rick Billinger of Goodland, the current 120th District representative, pulled out of the House race, leaving the seat vacant. Around 10 p.m. that day, Mr. Faber said, he was finally talked into running for the House this year.

“That was not the way I had my summer planned,” he added.

Mr. Faber served as a representative for 14 years. He was elected in 1996, started the term in 1997, and his last term finished in 2011 after he lost the Republican primary against Ward Cassidy of St. Francis.

This year, he is running in the Aug. 2 Republican primary against Adam Smith, a county commissioner from Wallace County.

Born and raised in southwest Rawlins County, Mr. Faber said he attended Fort Hays State University before he ended up in the army. He served a year in Vietnam as a helicopter crew chief before returning home. After that, he married Renee, his wife of 43 years now, and together they had three sons. He has worked on the family farm ever since.

In the last years, he said, the idea of increasing property taxes on farmers and ranchers appeared, but the Legislature did not take it seriously.

“If they ever do,” he said, “I’ll fight it with tooth and nails.”

However, education is the primary issue behind his decision to for representative this year, he said. Over the years, the Legislature has divided school money differently. The issue is more prominent in rural Kansas, he said, where several schools could be closing.

“The important thing is to get a fair shake,” he said., “and bring the rural representatives in, sit them together and let them speak as one voice.”

Mr. Faber said he has the experience to be on the Education Committee if elected.

“I’ll have a voice on it, and I expect to be on the committee,” he said. “I spent 12 years on the committee, so I’m in a good position to get those seats again.”

Mr. Faber said he is chairman of the Rawlins County Republican Committee and was a member of the House Education and Agriculture committees for 12 years during his period in the House.

He said the property tax lid approved by the Legislature this year is not as much of a problem in rural Kansas as it is in the urban areas. He has supported, throughout his time in the House, the “pro-life” vote and supports the National Riffle Association, but his main issues are agriculture and education.

“I think I’m the best choice for the job,” he said. “I have a well-rounded knowledge on what goes on.”

This story was published on page 5A of The Oberlin Herald’s print edition on July 20, 2016.

*The story was also published on page 4B of both the St. Francis Herald and the Bird City Times on July 28, 2016, under the headline: “Former representative running for seat again.”


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