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Topic: Political culture

Gus Bogina, Kansas

Interview of August (Gus) Bogina, February 6, 2018

Interviewed by H. Edward (Ed) Flentje
In this 2018 oral history interview, former State Senator August (Gus) Bogina discusses his service in the Kansas Legislature, focusing on his 14 years in the Senate. Bogina reflects on his relationships with Senate leaders and governors during his 11 sessions as Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Bogina also describes his storied ride with the Highway Patrol when he was brought back from Johnson County following bypass surgery to cast the deciding vote on the water plan funding. A version of this interview is also posted on KansasMemory.org, the website of the Kansas Historical Society.
Interview of Lon Frahm

Interview of Lon Frahm, June 18, 2020

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In this 2020 oral history interview, Lon Frahm describes his involvement in groundwater policy development as a member of Northwest Groundwater Management District No. 4. During the 1990s, he challenged the zero-depletion policy (to take only the amount of water that will be naturally replenished). Frahm supported local control of water management. He observed that over the years control over water planning has shifted to state-level water agencies, particularly the Kansas Water Office, that are not “invested personally” in managing water in northwest Kansas. In his view, state Water Plan funding has resulted in spending that Show Moredoes not help farmers and other local interests. Frahm cites the importance of local culture in setting water policy using as an example the Local Enhanced Management District (LEMA) in Sheridan County. He notes that the success of that endeavor grew out of the shared values of the farmers and a local market for grain. Frahm argues that changes in water use will be very slow over time, and water use should not be held back because we cannot predict the future. Show Less
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.
Joe Harkins and Rex Buchanan, Kansas

Interview of Joe Harkins, April 24, 2019

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In 2019 Joe Harkins sat down for an oral history interview conducted by Rex Buhcanan. Harkins describes a career that began in public health and ranged from addressing nursing home problems in Kansas to initiating a graduate program in health administration. Persuaded to take on running the Kansas Water Office, Harkins engaged in transforming the culture of water administration at a time when issues related to water had a high priority in the state. In a detailed discussion of water policy, he discussed the dynamics of the relationship between governors and the legislature in developing, adopting, and funding Show Morea state water plan in the 1980s and early 1990s. Harkins brings the perspective of a professional public administrator to the issue of water policy development. He recalls learning about water policy while he was in charge of developing it. Harkins also has the perspective of a key staff member in several administrations in which water policy was a high priority. He reflects on the importance of gubernatorial leadership and the power dynamics among the various interests that shaped the ultimate policy. Harkins laments that water issues are no longer among the highest priorities in state public policy administration. This interview provides the most comprehensive explanations of policy development in practice in Kansas state government that is available. Show Less
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
Dave Kerr, Kansas

Interview of Dave Kerr, August 23, 2019

Interviewed by Dale Goter
In a 2019 oral history interview Dave Kerr recalls nearly 20 years in the Kansas Senate including his terms as Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and President of the Senate. His tenure in the senate spanned the period when state resources were directed toward economic development, an effort he thought was much needed. Kerr also recalls the revamping of the public education funding formula in 1992 and reorganization of governance and oversight of postsecondary education. He observes that key characteristics of a leader are willingness to listen to various points of view and endure the Show More"slings and arrows" of leadership. 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
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