Hiawatha Sen. Dennis Pyle, left, an independent candidate for governor, said Republican nominee Derek Schmidt was insufficiently eager for passage of a state law forbidding transgender individuals designated as male at birth from taking part in female sports programs. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)
TOPEKA — Independent gubernatorial candidate Dennis Pyle questioned Republican rival Derek Schmidt’s plea for the 2023 Kansas Legislature to pass within 100 days a bill banning transgender individuals declared male at birth from competing in female sports programs.
Pyle, a state senator from Hiawatha, is running for governor against Schmidt, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Libertarian Seth Cordell.
“Schmidt is sidestepping the issue again. One hundred days is far too long,” Pyle said. “I want it as soon as possible. Schmidt knows most sessions are less than 100 days.”
On Thursday, Schmidt said if elected governor in November he would expect the GOP-led House and Senate to approve the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” with 100 days of him being sworn into office in January. Kelly vetoed the legislation in the 2022 session, arguing the statewide mandate would inspire dangerous bullying of youth. The Legislature failed to gain two-thirds majorities required to override the governor.
“As the father of two daughters, a commonsense Kansan and as a candidate for governor who actually listens to Kansans,” Schmidt said, “I can say with no uncertainty that biological males should not be sharing locker rooms with female athletes or competing in girls’ sports.”
Pyle, who was a Republican prior to declaring his independent campaign for governor, voted for the bill during the 2022 session because the state ought to prohibit “biological males from competing” in sports programs for females.
He said Schmidt should have taken a more prominent role during the legislative session in pressing for enactment of the bill.
“Was it his plan all along to use the issue for his election bid?” Pyle said. “Is this just another publicity stunt by liberal Schmidt to appeal to conservatives? If Schmidt were conservative, he would have been helping to whip the votes to override Kelly’s veto. Schmidt’s lack of action on the act and the veto were deafening.”
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.