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Topic: Committee role in legislative process

Darlene Cornfield, Kansas

Interview of Darlene Cornfield, October 9, 2020

Interviewed by Patty Clark
Former State Representative Darlene Cornfield reflects on her six sessions in the Kansas House representing the 90th House District (Sedgwick Co.). She describes the issues that come back year after year and the challenges faced by a new legislator. She identifies the difficulties faced by conservatives at a time when the Republican party was undergoing an ideological change. Cornfield observes that the citizen legislature is most effective but did not favor term limits.

Interview of Don Hineman, August 20, 2020

Interviewed by Alan Conroy
Representative Don Hineman describes himself as a centrist Republican whose views were shaped by his service as a local elected official. In the interview he talks about the legislative process and his experience on the Federal and State Affairs committee passing a bill to designate the state fossil and why that was important to some of his young constituents. Hineman discusses the state's fiscal difficulties under Governor Sam Brownback and his efforts to work with House Democrat Bill Feuerborn to pass a sales tax increase, and then to override the gubernatorial veto. Hineman illustrates how the use Show Moreof power by legislative leadership can block something that the public wants using the issue of Medicaid Expansion. He concludes by talking about the decline of civility in the legislative process. Show Less
Carl Holmes, Kansas

Interview of Carl Holmes, September 3, 2020

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In this 2020 oral history interview, former State Representative Carl Holmes discusses his observations of state water policy formulation in the 1970's through 2012. Holmes began his involvement in water policy as a farmer and active member of his community in southwest Kansas. In many respects, his experiences reflect the water-energy nexus. He describes how he had observed cities and irrigators mining water in southwest Kansas. He recalls developing a comprehensive understanding of water issues by interviewing the managers of the state’s water resources. In this interview, Holmes describes how he managed the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee by Show Morecreating subcommittees and educating members on how to work bills and guide them through the process. He discusses his bipartisan work with Representative Ken Grotewiel and other committee Democrats in the 1990s, actions that resulted in the Speaker removing him from the chairmanship of the committee. Holmes describes how irrigation changed over time from flood to sprinklers and how the sprinkler systems have become more efficient. However, Holmes observed that groundwater levels continue to decline leading to abandoned wells, the growing of crops that require less water, the return to dryland farming, and, for some, the call for diversion of water from distant sources, such as the Missouri River, to sustain farming and communities on the plains. Show Less
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