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Topic: Postsecondary education

Christine Downey, Kansas

Interview of Christine Downey, August 2, 2019

Interviewed by Dale Goter
Former State Senator Christine Downey recalls her three terms in the Kansas Senate (1993-2004) during her 2019 oral history interview. With her background as a teacher, education issues were important to her as the era of school-funding litigation continued. She was involved in water-related policy making, in particular at the nexus of water quality and agricultural practices. She recalls her service in the Senate and on the Kansas Board of Regents first developing the policy and then implementing fundamental changes to the postsecondary education system. Ms. Downey discusses numerous instances of working across the aisle Show Moreto accomplish policy objectives that did not break on strict party lines. 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
kansas state senator sandy praeger

Interview of Sandy Praeger, October 18, 2019

Interviewed by Joan Wagnon
Former Kansas legislator Sandy Praeger describes in this 2019 oral history interview how she never anticipated having a career in politics when she ran for the Lawrence City Council. Praeger looks back on her service in the Kansas House and Senate and her time as the elected Kansas Insurance Commissioner. While in the Legislature, Praeger represented a Lawrence district that she described as being a place where "it was easy to run more on policy issues than any kind of political ideology." Praeger ran for the State Senate after one term in the House. Praeger built her Show Morebackground on health issues, including insurance, in the Legislature serving on the Public Health and Welfare, Children and Families, and Insurance and Financial Institutions committees. She recalls stepping into the role of committee Chair during her first session in the Senate and presiding as Vice President of the Senate many years later. Praeger's background on health policy came to the forefront while the country was implementing the Affordable Care Act which she strongly supported as Kansas Insurance Commissioner. Show Less

Interview of Jack Wempe, September 28, 2021

Interviewed by Alan Conroy
Jack Wempe of Rice County gave a detailed interview about the decade of the 1990's he spent in the Kansas House of Representatives. He played pivotal roles in the passage of the 1992 school finance bill and legislation to consolidate governance in higher education. He worked with members of both parties to pass legislation important to rural communities as well as education. Wempe became interested in taxation and economic development. Wempe also comments on the shift in philosophy of the Republican party during his time in office and its move to a more conservative leadership. Show MoreAt the conclusion of his legislative service, Wempe was appointed to the Board of Regents where he became chair in 2003. Show Less
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