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Topic: Governmental reorganization

Ed Flentje and Rex Buchanan, Kansas

Interview of H. Edward (Ed) Flentje, June 14, 2019

Interviewed by Rex Buchanan
In this 2019 oral history interview of Ed Flentje, he recalls the intricate work of developing a water planning process and applying good governance principles to a highly contentious issue that involved a variety of entities both inside and outside state government in the 1970s. The innovations in water regulation that grew out of the agenda of Governor Bennett, for whom Flentje served as Planing Director, were carried out and implemented by succeeding Governors, Carlin and Hayden. Flentje's description of water policy rising to prominence in the Bennett administration demonstrates how governors benefit from listening to a variety Show Moreof voices when developing policy agendas. Show Less
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
Dave Heinemann, Kansas

Interview of Dave Heinemann, July 10, 2014

Interviewed by Burdett Loomis
In this 2014 oral history interview, Dave Heinemann recalls his long career in the Kansas House representing Garden City, a career that spanned the years during which there were important changes in Kansas government. He served during an era when rural influence in the Legislature was waning due to fundamental changes in legislative districts. Heinemann's recollections of how legislators serve their constituents and how they worked with one another to craft legislation paint a picture of collaboration in the creation of public policy. His perspective points to the importance of personal relationships with colleagues within the chamber, Show Moreacross the rotunda in the Senate, and with the Governor's office. Show Less

Interview of Fred Kerr, April 13, 2018

Interviewed by H. Edward (Ed) Flentje
Fred 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 whose influence guided him throughout his career. Fred talks about the process involved in securing a leadership position in the Senate and the dynamics of leadership races. He observes how relationships between competitors for leadership offices affected Senators differently and how they worked together in subsequent legislative sessions. He also reflects on how decisions were made regarding tax policy both to fund highways and public schools. Show MoreFred, who ran for Governor in 1994, comments about the increasing influence of money and monied interests in state-wide politics. A previous oral history interview of Fred Kerr is here. Show Less
Wendell Lady, Kansas

Interview of Wendell Lady, December 15, 2017

Interviewed by H. Edward (Ed) Flentje
In a 2017 oral history interview, Wendell Lady, former Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives recalls identifying early in his tenure that the important decisions were made in the Ways and Means Committee which he chaired prior to becoming Speaker of the House. Lady recalls the group of young legislators who he mentored and who became his committee chairs when he was speaker. He also recalls and puts in some historic context the long-term debate over school funding. Lady recalls good relationships with Governors and with legislators and leadership across the aisle. Despite being from Show Morethe State's largest suburban county, Lady established close ties with representatives from very rural districts. 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.
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