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Topic: Lobbying, influence

Interview of Bill Bunten, February 18, 2015

Interviewed by Burdett Loomis
Bill Bunten's 28 years in the House, 20 of them on the Ways and Means or Appropriations committee, gave him tremendous knowledge about the state budget. He chaired Appropriations from 1983 until 1990 when he left the legislature. He returned to the state Senate in 2003 to fill an unexpired term. Bunten later served two terms as Mayor of Topeka from 2005 until 2013.
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.
Michael Johnston, Kansas

Interview of Michael (Mike) Johnston, February 26, 2015

Interviewed by Burdett Loomis
In a 2015 oral history interview, Mike Johnston recalls his time in the Kansas Senate from being a newly-elected Senator to his successful race for Minority Leader, unseating the incumbent Leader. Johnston talks about his interactions with other senators and the dynamics of the Senate in the mid-'80s. He discusses his relationship with the Governor's Office as he joined the administration of Joan Finney after deciding not to seek another term in the Senate. Johnston recalls the role of lobbyists in the legislative process and his perspective on that role when, after his retirement from the Turnpike Authority, Show Morehe represented the League of Kansas Municipalities for a short time. 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

Interview of James (Jim) Maag, July 17, 2014

Interviewed by Burdett Loomis
In this 2014 oral history interview, Jim Maag reflects on his service in the Kansas House of Representatives (1969-1976) including his term as Speaker Pro Tem (1975-1976). It was a time of significant change and modernization of the Kansas Legislature and its processes. Maag provides a clear view into the evolution of the Legislature into a more professional organization. He comments on the bipartisan approaches to policymaking during that era when the urban-rural split affected the dynamic more often than purely partisan considerations. He was witness to the impact of the one person, one vote Show Morecourt case as well as the increased number of women legislators and the reduced number of attorneys. Jim's recollections draw a vivid picture of an institution in transition. His connection with the Legislature continued in his role of legislative liaison for Governor Bennett and later as a lobbyist for the Kansas Bankers Association. 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
Bob Storey, Kansas

Interview of Robert (Bob) Storey, February 5, 2015

Interviewed by Burdett Loomis
Bob Storey in his 2015 oral history interview recalls his service in the Kansas Senate from 1969-1976. His recollection is of a senate that was in transition in terms of urban-rural influence on policymaking due to the one-person, one-vote principle enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court in the mid-1960s. He recalls intricacies of interactions among senate leaders and governors and occasional intrigue in senate leadership elections. He also reflects on improvements in the functioning of state government during the years when reorganization and modernization of many state functions took place.

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

Interview of Jim Maag, September 28, 2021

Interviewed by Joan Wagnon
The Kansas Oral History Project reviewed the original transcript of Dr. Burdett Loomis's interview of Representative Jim Maag and decided to recapture part of the interview on videotape for inclusion in a series on civic education films about the Kansas legislature. This videotaped interview follows the original Loomis interview, asking similar questions. A transcription of the video is also posted here. In the original 2014 oral history interview, Jim Maag reflected on his service in the Kansas House of Representatives (1969-1976) including his term as Speaker pro tem (1975-1976). In this recorded reprise of that interview, Maag's words Show Morecome to life with the video. Maag's years in the House spanned a time of significant change and modernization of the Kansas Legislature and its processes. He provides a view into the evolution of the Legislature into a more professional organization. He comments on the bipartisan approaches to policymaking during that era when the urban-rural split affected the dynamic more often than purely partisan considerations. Maag was witness to the impact of the one person, one vote court case as well as the increased number of women legislators and the reduced number of attorneys. Jim's recollections draw a vivid picture of an institution in transition. His connection with the Legislature continued in his role of legislative liaison for Governor Bennett and later as a lobbyist for the Kansas Bankers Association. Show Less
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