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Topic: Development of legislative leaders

Jack Euler

Interview of Jack Euler, April 22, 2015

Interviewed by Burdett Loomis
Jack Euler talks about his ten years in the Legislature and the formal and informal leadership dynamics he witnessed. Euler notes the changes in the Legislature that began with initial implementation of the one person, one vote principle as the basis for legislative districts rather than the county-based system that had existed since statehood. He describes how redistricting gradually changed the urban-rural dynamic of the House. Euler also reflects on the influence of lobbyists on both legislation and leadership in the House.
Dave Heinemann, Kansas

Interview of Dave Heinemann, July 10, 2014

Interviewed by Burdett Loomis
In this 2014 oral history interview, Dave Heinemann recalls his long career in the Kansas House representing Garden City, a career that spanned the years during which there were important changes in Kansas government. He served during an era when rural influence in the Legislature was waning due to fundamental changes in legislative districts. Heinemann's recollections of how legislators serve their constituents and how they worked with one another to craft legislation paint a picture of collaboration in the creation of public policy. His perspective points to the importance of personal relationships with colleagues within the chamber, Show Moreacross the rotunda in the Senate, and with the Governor's office. Show Less

Interview of Patrick Hurley, March 23, 2018

Interviewed by H. Edward (Ed) Flentje
Pat Hurley had a wide ranging career for over 40 years as a legislator, administrator, lobbyist and lawyer where he had a profound impact on Kansas public policy and government. Hurlely's rapid rise to a leadership position in the House is unprecedented; he credits his legal training with his ability to analyze legislation. His close association with former Governor John Carlin led to his becoming Secretary of Administration and centralizing and standardizing many of the processes of that agency. While Hurley was Majority Leader, he developed working relationships that were critical to his success. The death Show Morepenalty and a proposed new prison were two issues he dealt with as Majority Leader. Hurley was attracted to working for Governor Carlin by the opportunity to manage policy issues, functioning as a de facto chief of staff to the governor while he was Secretary of Administration. Hurley developed a process for policy analysis in this role. Hurley left the governor's office after five years and began working as a contract lobbyist on big state issues such as multi-bank holding companies and several transportation plans with Economic Lifelines for several governors. He also did contract procurement work for corporations and businesses. This interview is a good look behind the scenes at how government functioned and how policy is developed and passed. A version of this interview is also posted on KansasMemory.org, the website of the Kansas Historical Society. Show Less
Senator Fred Kerr

Interview of Fred Kerr, March 30, 2015

Interviewed by Burdett Loomis
This is the first of two oral history interviews of Fred Kerr in this collection. (Ed Flentje conducted the second interview 2018.) Kerr reflects on his 15 years in the Kansas Senate representing the 33rd Senate district. He recalls Senate leaders and fellow Senators who helped him as a freshman and the influence of those mentors on his career. Fred talks extensively about the process involved in securing a leadership position in the Senate and the dynamics of leadership races. He also reflects on the urban-rural divide in Kansas politics that during the late Show More1970s and early to mid 1980s was often more of a force than the partisan divide. A version of this interview is also posted on KansasMemory.org, the website of the Kansas Historical Society. A more recent oral history interview of Fred Kerr is here. Show Less
Wendell Lady, Kansas

Interview of Wendell Lady, December 15, 2017

Interviewed by H. Edward (Ed) Flentje
In a 2017 oral history interview, Wendell Lady, former Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives recalls identifying early in his tenure that the important decisions were made in the Ways and Means Committee which he chaired prior to becoming Speaker of the House. Lady recalls the group of young legislators who he mentored and who became his committee chairs when he was speaker. He also recalls and puts in some historic context the long-term debate over school funding. Lady recalls good relationships with Governors and with legislators and leadership across the aisle. Despite being from Show Morethe State's largest suburban county, Lady established close ties with representatives from very rural districts. A version of this interview is also posted on KansasMemory.org, the website of the Kansas Historical Society. Show Less
robert bob miller kansas representative

Interview of Robert (Bob) Miller, November 9, 2017

Interviewed by H. Edward (Ed) Flentje
Former Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives, Robert (Bob) Miller recalls his many years of service to the State. He describes his involvement with the Young Republicans at K-State, his first campaign to represent his area of Sumner County, and moving up through the ranks in the House despite not having ambition for any other elected position. Miller reflects on his sometimes arms-length relationships with fellow House members and with lobbyists. From his position as chair of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee he oversaw the development of implementing legislation for liquor-by-the-drink, parimutuel wagering, and Show Morethe State Lottery by building subject-matter expertise within the committee. Miller describes instances when legislators' positions on policy issues did not break along purely partisan nor on purely urban-rural lines. He also witnessed the early development of what eventually became the conservative movement in the Legislature. A version of this interview is also posted on KansasMemory.org, the website of the Kansas Historical Society. Show Less

Interview of Edward (Ed) Reilly, July 2, 2019

Interviewed by Dale Goter
In his 2019 oral history interview former State Senator Ed Reilly recalls controversial issues that went through the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee during his tenure as chair (1971-1992). Those issues include the death penalty, liquor by the drink, lottery, pari-mutuel wagering, and casino gambling, some of which required adoption of Constitutional amendments. Reilly attributes the acceptance of those cultural changes in part to the need to raise additional state revenue. Reilly recalls professional relationships with the Statehouse press corps and the influence of grass-roots interests. He observed the increase in the number of women in the Legislature and Show Morecomments about their contributions. Show Less
Alicia Salisbury, Kansas

Interview of Alicia Salisbury, October 23, 2020

Interviewed by Patty Clark
Former Senator Alicia Salisbury grew up in a political family--both father and grandfather served in the legislature--so her sixteen years of service as a Kansas Senator continued the family tradition. She also was a serious legislator who believed in community service as witnessed by the numerous boards and committees on which she served, both volunteer and elected. Salisbury's driving interests were improving the economy of Kansas and bringing growth in wealth to her community and state. Salisbury's 2020 oral history interview chronicles her work ethic. With her children no longer at home, she had the Show Moretime and the interest to dive into a wide assortment of issues, from workforce development, to interstate banking, to telecommunication reform, to a blue ribbon panel on workers compensation. Salisbury worked long hours and focused on constituent services. She boldly asked for the committees that interested her and championed changes where necessary. Salisbury succeeded in changing the Labor and Industry Committee into the Commerce Committee to handle everything from economic development strategies to workers compensation. She tackled tough issues with a sense of humor and the skills of collaboration learned as a volunteer leader. This interview describes her determination, her commitment, and her legacy to the state of Kansas as Vice President of the Senate. Show Less

Interview of Gary Sherrer, October 15, 2021

Interviewed by Mike Matson
Gary Sherrer was a debater and it changed his life. His reflections on growing up in Topeka, winning a debate scholarship to Kansas State Teachers College and then teaching for eight years are the perfect backdrop to his later achievements. His association with the Graves Trucking Company and soon-to-be-Governor Bill Graves paved the way for him to become Bill Graves' Lt. Governor. Sherrer won the respect of many Kansas leaders, including Henry Bubb and Jordan Haines, two preeminent bankers who recruited him to the banking industry as chief marketing officer, and later, lobbyist when multi-bank holding company Show Morelegislation was pending. His debate skills served him well as a lobbyist, enabling the controversial bill to pass by one vote. He developed the Leadership Kansas model to train leaders. He knew how to solve community problems and displayed those skills as Secretary of Commerce for Governor Graves. One of his proudest accomplishments was the STAR bonds project in Wyandotte County, with Mayor Carol Marinovich. The interview is replete with examples of programs he developed or guided to fruition. It is interesting to read all the anecdotes about the political scene. Show Less
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