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Topic: Cultural values

Mary Fund, Kansas

Interview of Mary Fund, February 10, 2020

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In her 2020 oral history interview, Mary Fund talks about her involvement in water policy from the perspective of her work at the Kansas Rural Center (KRC) since the late 1970s. Fund authored Water in Kansas, A Primer, published in 1984 by the KRC. In this interview, she talks about the difficulty of making changes in farming methods that will conserve both water and soil when those changes require farmers to voluntarily alter decades of entrenched farming practice. Fund also observes that shifting the political culture is key to making voluntary changes work.

Interview of Dennis McKinney, August 23, 2019

Interviewed by Dale Goter
Dennis McKinney developed many insights in his sixteen years as a leader in the minority party into how the legislature did work, and how it should work. He recounts numerous instances when things worked well because of bipartisan cooperation and compromise. McKinney's experiences on the House Energy and Natural Resources committee working with Carl Holmes and Ken Grotewiel helped shape water policy in Kansas. His experience as a farmer and rancher in south central Kansas coupled with his focus on problem solving led to his reputation as a "middle of the road legislator" who would work Show Morewith both political sides as well as urban and rural. McKinney was committed to public education as well as conservation. The pursuit of fair and balanced tax policy shaped his actions. The interview highlights the importance of leadership from the governor's office and other legislative leaders (Mays, Shallenburger, D. Kerr, Morris). There is an interesting segment about the 2005 Special Session on school finance where McKinney talks about using the courts as leverage. The interview concludes with a brief discussion of the Greensburg tornado. Show Less
Joyce Wolf, Kansas

Interview of Joyce Wolf, November 15, 2019

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
During her 2019 oral history interview, Joyce Wolf talks about her background working with environmental organizations on a variety of environmental issues. With a degree in bacteriology, she became interested in water quality issues before the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Wolf worked with Jan Garton, a key figure in environmental advocacy in Kansas, and a coalition of environmental groups supporting water rights for the Cheyenne Bottoms wetland area under the banner of “Save Our Bottoms.” Wolf was also involved in debates over the low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities. She elaborates in this interview on the Show Moresuccess of the coalition achieving an arrangement for adequate water supply for Cheyenne Bottoms and funding of the State Water Plan during the administration of Gov. Mike Hayden. Wolf recalls that environmental organizations were also concerned about the silting-in of the federal reservoirs, the decline of the Ogallala aquifer, the conflict over the Arkansas River that led to the Kansas v. Colorado lawsuit, and the loss of surface water in western Kansas. Wolf also discusses the cultural differences between Kansas and Minnesota that appears to reflect a lack of appreciation of the natural environment in Kansas. Show Less

Interview of Raphael Wahwassuck, February 28, 2022

Interviewed by Brad Hamilton
The Tribal Council of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation selected Raphael Wahwassuck to interview with KS Oral History about public policymaking by tribal governments. The interview covers how tribal governments relate to local, state and federal governmental units and how Wahwassuck, as a tribal council member, develops effective working relationships. He gives examples of local cooperation using emergency services and law enforcement. He also speaks to the challenges in ensuring equitable distribution of school funding, COVID relief measures and impact aid. Relationships with local governments are easier than at the state or federal level. Show MoreNation to Nation conversations are more difficult. The development of casino gaming produced increased and adequate revenues for the Tribe since they have no tax revenue from property taxes. Their services to their tribal members and surrounding communities have increased as a result of gaming. At the conclusion of the interview, Wahwassuck told a story about being asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance in his elementary school class and used that story to talk about how his family viewed that the flag, including those who were career military veterans. Show Less
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