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Ardena Matlack

Interview of Ardena Matlack, April 8, 2021

Interviewed by Joan Wagnon
Ardena Matlack describes the Kansas House of Representatives in the 1970’s when so few women were in the Kansas Legislature. Additionally, her second term she experienced being in the majority as a Democrat—something that seldom occurred. While in the majority, she started on the Federal and State Affairs committee as Vice-Chair, and moved up to chair the committee the second year of her term. The committee dealt with the ERA, abortion, liquor and a host of controversial issues. She also served on the Judiciary committee. Her discussion of gerrymandering shows the difficulty in dealing Show Morewith reapportionment that led to her husband losing his Senate seat and encouraging her to run for the House. She also dealt with environmental issues and water issues, particularly in Sedgwick County. Matlack worked with Treasurer Joan Finney to get the first Unclaimed Property law passed. Show Less

Interview of Paul Feleciano, February 11, 2022

Interviewed by Eric Sexton
Paul Feleciano served from 1972 until 2003 in the Kansas Legislature, primarily in the state Senate. During his 31 year tenure he has served on almost every committee. His interview discusses a wide range of issues including groundwater management, mental health reform, changes in the penal system, but his descriptions of the personalities of Senate leadership make that era come alive. He characterizes the men and women serving in the 1970's and 80's as giants --articulate, caring, compassionate problem solvers who would work "across the aisles" to make things happen. As the legislature moved into Show Morethe 21st Century, Feleciano notes the split in the Republican Party between conservatives and moderates became a real problem because the impact was, "they didn't want to compromise." After leaving the legislature, Feleciano was appointed to the Kansas Parole Board and served there for six years. Show Less

Interview of Ed McKechnie, February 9, 2024

Interviewed by Chris Courtwright
This lengthy and wide-ranging interview is full of interesting stories about how the legislature worked when its leaders realized the House Democrats were in the majority by one vote (1990 election) with a new Democratic governor. The 1991-92 session was historic because of the major changes in property taxes and school finance. McKechnie built relationships across the aisle which helped him accomplish things and pass legislation. His interview is replete with descriptions of legislators with whom he worked. McKechnie served on the Kansas Bioscience Authority and after its demise, on the Kansas Board of Regents. Show More He discussed the transition of the University of Kansas Hospital to being designated a major cancer center. One particularly interesting story for football fans is about the major conference realignment that occurred from 2011 to 2012. He described in detail the negotiations over which university would stay or leave the Big XII. Ordinarily the Regents would not have been involved, but the impact of these decisions was too great to ignore. McKechnie also talks about the decisions the Regents made about raising tuition. Show Less
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