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Topic: Farm crisis, 1980s

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.
Jerry Karr, Kansas

Interview of Gerald (Jerry) Karr, May 11, 2017

Interviewed by Janice Huston
This interview of Senator Jerry Karr by Janice Huston for the Lyon County Historical Society is lengthy, but gives great insight into the 18 years Karr spent in the Kansas Senate. It also covers his academic career which preceded his election and delves into rural life in Kansas. It begins with his Sierra Leone experiences teaching agricultural economics and other teaching jobs in the Midwest. Karr was elected to the state Senate in 1980 which is the time the farm crisis started boiling over in Kansas. During those first 10 years he developed legislation addressing Show Morethe farm crisis, including changing the method of selecting the Secretary of Agriculture, altering the classification and reappraisal of land, and regulating corporate hog farming. His service on the Joint Rules and Regulations Administrative committee helped him shape agricultural policy. He became Minority Leader ten years after his first election. Redistricting in 1991 ended up in the courts and spelled the end of many rural Democrats. There are numerous examples of policy making, particularly the details about the 1992 school finance legislation that amplify others’ accounts of that legislation. His examples of effective leadership and effective campaigning will be of interest to many. The interview also covers communication with constituents in a large district and has anecdotes about issues leaders have to deal with. Karr covers just about all aspects of leading a caucus and life in the Senate in the 1980s and 1990s. Show Less
Jim-Slattery

Interview of James (Jim) Slattery, March 6, 2020

Interviewed by Jim McLean
The 1970's marked major changes in state government. They are doing away with county welfare offices and creating the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) Concerns over lack of equalization started with Caldwell school finance case. Transportation is being centralized and modernized with the creation of the Department of Transportation (KDOT). Slattery even introduced legislation to decriminalize small amount of marijuana. Campaign finance reform (post-Watergate) and hiring non-partisan, professional staff for the legislature took hold. Slattery and another new freshman, Mike Hayden support legislation to clean up strip mines and reclaim mined Show Morelands. The first income tax reform was initiated despite the governor's veto. Community corrections is emerging as a good strategy. Slattery describes the role of abortion in civil discourse in this interview, how it started in the Dole/Roy race in 1974, and how it continues to distort the American political system in a significant way. He explains why he ran for Congress as a deficit hawk and talked about some of his Congressional experiences. The interview closes with a story about Tip O'Neil and another about former Speaker Clyde Hill who advised Slattery to be accurate when speaking at the Well of the House. Show Less
Interview of Jayne Aylward

Interview of Jayne Aylward, June 18, 2021

Interviewed by Alan Conroy
Jayne Aylward Oral History Interview describes her experiences as one of the youngest members of the Kansas House of Representatives. Aylward was elected in 1978 from the 74th District in Saline County, Kansas. She served from 1979 to 1990 when she resigned to become an administrative tax judge with the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals. She later became a Certified Public Accountant specializing in tax matters. Aylward is a rancher and stockwoman in addition to having a thriving tax practice in Salina. During the interview she discusses her interest in agriculture and taxation which came Show Morefrom growing up on her family farm and her participation in 4-H showing cattle. During the 1985-1986 legislative session, she was the Chair of the House Communications, Computers and Technology Committee. She also served on the House Federal and State Affairs committee and the House Taxation committee, both of which handled high-profile issues that she discussed in the interview, including reappraisal and classification of property taxes and a constitutional amendment authorizing the Kansas lottery. Show Less
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