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Topic: Environment

Mike Hayden, Kansas

Interview of Mike Hayden, June 13, 2018

Interviewed by H. Edward (Ed) Flentje
This 2019 oral history interview of former Kansas Governor Mike Hayden focuses on his service in the Kansas Legislature and his development as a politician and policy leader. Hayden shares anecdotes about his seven terms in the Kansas House, beginning with his quest to get then-Speaker Pete McGill to appoint him to the Advisory Council on Ecology and his speech on the floor of the House to kill the "mad dog" bill which did away with county welfare departments. The interview includes a discussion comparing the styles of various legislative leaders and what they taught him. Hayden's interest in water Show Morepolicy, conservation, and environmental education extended into his term as Governor. He championed public lands, an issue which he carried into his nine years as Secretary of Wildlife and Parks under three different governors. Hayden discusses the death penalty and many of the issues that were the basis for constitutional amendments under Governor Carlin and which Hayden handled as House Speaker. He also discusses the rising interest in abortion as the start of a more conservative, far-right movement. The interview includes many examples of how leaders with whom Hayden served framed the debate to their advantage. He concludes the interview by discussing the constant need to balance the state's interests with the those of local constituencies. Hayden saw his service in the Legislature as good training to run for Governor. Show Less

Interview of Barbara Sabol, January 14, 2022

Interviewed by Joan Wagnon
The former Secretary of Aging and Health and Environment under Governor John Carlin describes herself first and foremost as a nurse. That nursing background propelled her into high level positions in the local, state and federal government, always asking how her actions affected the children and the people she served. She started out in leadership positions in Kansas government and academia before being appointed Secretary of Aging by Governor John Carlin. She worked with advocates to establish the Silver-haired Legislature. She worked for Mayor Marion Barry in Washington DC in his office of Policy and Show MorePlanning in the Department of Human Services. Carlin asked her to return to Kansas as Secretary of Health and Environment where she quickly established a reputation as a problem solver for tough issues such as the permanent closure of a waste dump in Furley that leaked toxic chemicals. Sabol talks candidly about the challenges she faced as an African American and a woman and how she met those challenges. The interview concludes with her describing her latest project, housing for young adults who have aged out of the foster care system. Show Less
Jim Haines

Interview of Jim Haines, November 2, 2023

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan and Mike Lennen
In this interview, Jim Haines describes his long career in the electric utility industry in Kansas during a tumultuous time. He talks about changes in the energy marketplace and in regulations regarding fuel types, safety, and the environment. He also identifies changes that enabled utilities to achieve economies of scale through mergers and acquisitions. Haines talks about the difficult years during which Wolf Creek, Kansas' only nuclear power plant, was under construction, including the public resistance to the plant and the push-back at many levels as construction costs escalated. In this discussion, Haines places the construction Show Moreand initial operation of Wolf Creek in the specific context of Kansas as well as the general context of the U.S. nuclear power industry of the 1980s. Show Less
Nancy Jackson

Interview of Nancy Jackson, November 9, 2023

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
Nancy Jackson, founder and director of the Climate + Energy Project (CEP) from 2007 to 2010, recalls being challenged by the founder of the Land Institute on her approach to finding workable solutions to climate change. Jackson held that alternatives should be found to meet the needs of western Kansans for energy, good jobs, and a sustainable economy. Based on that challenge she started the CEP through the generosity of many experts in Kansas and across the country. Those initial years of the CEP were significant, and the project's impact was unexpected. In this Show Moreinterview Jackson discusses that impact and the importance of meeting people where they are in order to find solutions to difficult public policy issues. Show Less
Rod Bremby

Interview of Rod Bremby, December 22, 2023

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
As Secretary of Health and Environment for Kansas, Rod Bremby became the first U.S. public official to deny a coal-fired power plant operating permit due to climate change. In this interview he reflects on that decision made while navigating uncharted policy terrain and on lessons learned during his 30-year career in public service at the local and state levels. Bremby describes missed opportunities in considering the power plant operating permit application while saying clearly that, even in retrospect, it was the right decision. Bremby also explains how integration of health and environmental policy makes sense at the Show Morestate level. Notably, Bremby paints a picture of leadership that recognizes and relies upon the expertise and experience of public servants who serve under appointed officials. Show Less

Interview of John Farmer, December 28, 2023

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In this late 2023 interview, John O. Farmer III recalled his long career in the oil business with his family-owned company in Russell, Kansas. Farmer describes the evolution of the oil business over decades as technology changed and improved the possibilities for small- to medium-sized companies in the oil industry. He observes that federal policies and market price fluctuations have more to do with the success or failure of the business than state policies. However, he notes, the interplay of state tax policies can make or break companies that depend on low-production oil wells.
Wes Jackson interview March 5, 2024

Interview of Wes Jackson, March 5, 2024

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In this reflective interview, Wes Jackson recalls the influences on his thinking and his work in the field of environmental science and research. His thinking was embodied in the Land Institute which he co-founded in the mid-1970s after leaving academia. That perspective is firmly based on the connections between science, sociology, political science, religion, and literature that bring them all into one rather than separate silos. That all-encompassing view, using the prairie as a model, informs his thinking about sustainability, broadly writ, that is multi-fascited and based on an appreciation of "outghtness" -- doing things the Show Moreway they ought to be done. Show Less
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