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My Two Cents of Common Sense
"Northwest Kansas holds some truly inspiring scenery, contains a wealth of Old West history, possesses some of the finest educational institutions, promotes an entrepreneurial spirit, and is home to some of the most hard-working, genuine people I've ever met!"    ~ Adam Smith
1970 RD 3 Weskan, KS 67762
785-821-2568 (Cell)
300 SW 10th St, Suite 512N Topeka, KS  66612
785-296-0715 (Office)
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Civil Discourse


People often ask me, "How bad is it down there?"

They are referring to the political hostility within the Capitol.

As the public display of bitterness and animosity at the federal level escalates, many may wonder what the state of politics is regressing towards.

It may surprise most to reveal that the civility in the Kansas Capitol is actually quite reasonable.

Last week, I wrote a brief paragraph about Kansas day and the unique spirit of cooperation surrounding that day in the Capitol... but even the other days aren't too bad.

For instance, at the Kansas State of the State address, the entire chamber of the Kansas House of Representatives was filled with Senators and Representatives to hear the Governor Laura Kelly’s speech. As Kelly, a Democrat, proceeded through her monologue, there were many people she recognized and policy points that she made that were applauded… by ALL members of the body.
Republican and Democrat Senators and Representatives applauding remarks from
Governor Kelly, not a single person sitting in protest.

Many times, at the federal level, it seems like a good idea is only a good idea if it comes from the right people.

I wish I could say that never happens at the state level, but for the most part, I am usually encouraged by the level of courtesy shown by each legislator. The State of the State was a perfect example of that. Our Speaker of the House and President of the Senate, both Republicans, stood and led the applause to Governor Kelly’s remarks at several points throughout the speech.
Ron Ryckman, Speaker of the House, and Susan Wagle, President of the Senate,
stand in applause for remarks by Governor Laura Kelly during her State of the State address.

There are certainly controversial issues, but one thing I learned quickly when I first began serving is that we can politely agree to disagree, because you never know when you might need the help of another. An adversary on one issue may very well be your strongest supporter on another issue. It is very rare to have a vote be split exactly along predetermined lines – rural / urban, Democrat / Republican, male / female.

In fact, I was just visiting with a member from across the aisle just this morning on the floor of the House and I stated how much I enjoyed a vigorous debate with a little good-natured humor thrown around. Not that we make light of the issues at hand, but there is a style of class and tact that can come with a well-timed comment or a smoothly delivered counter argument.

Overall, it is simply about being respectful. I am continuously impressed by the demeanor and conduct of my colleagues as we work through the issues before our state. As we watch misguided behavior of federal politicians on television, I wanted to make sure you knew that Kansas is different. Kansas still has many good elected officials trying to represent the people they serve. Sure, we have our disagreements, but you can trust that each legislator is working hard, considering the facts of the issue, voting their own conscience, and behaving like adults... at least most of the time.
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