Region, state need Morris' sensible approach to issues.

This part of Kansas too often is overlooked by the rest of the state, which is why it's all the more important to have strong representation in Topeka.

Southwest Kansas has had as much in state Sen. Steve Morris, the Hugoton Republican who's served the district for two decades the past eight as Senate president and now is seeking re-election in the 39th Senate District covering Finney, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Morton, Stanton, Stevens and Wichita counties.

In spite of a solid record of service, Morris is among Republican senators targeted by an ultraconservative GOP faction determined to push aside anyone who doesn't vote in lockstep with their radical conservative agenda, one that produced a massive tax-cut plan poised to drive the state deep into debt and force higher property taxes.

Morris and the Senate, meanwhile, pursued a more reasonable pro-growth, pro-business tax-relief plan that would have brought jobs to Kansas. It was stymied by Gov. Sam Brownback's ultraconservative allies in the House.

Voters should know Morris has consistently encouraged fiscal responsibility, while balancing the need to support such vital areas as public schools and transportation infrastructure investment key to economic growth and prosperity in this region in particular.

And while Morris has worked to protect services for elderly and other vulnerable Kansans, he also has been instrumental in significant spending cuts when necessary.

Yet ultraconservatives question his Republican values.

What's not in keeping with a traditional Republican approach would be the hyper-partisanship of ultraconservatives who resist any debate or compromise with those outside their circle. Know that Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bob Dole, Ronald Reagan and other Republican heavyweights who sought common ground with lawmakers of all political persuasions as Morris has done would be ostracized by today's GOP extremists.

Ultraconservatives' quest to seize control of state government has discouraged many Kansans. Instead of becoming disillusioned himself, Morris remains determined to do what's best for his district and state.

Republicans and others alarmed by the ultraconservative crusade should be eager to endorse Morris' more reasoned, thoughtful approach to governing, and give him their wholehearted support Tuesday at the polls.