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Topic: Kansas Economic Growth Act (KEGA)

Interview Series of Don Hill by Janice Huston, Spring, 2017

Interviewed by Janice Huston
In a wide-ranging series of interviews conducted by Jan Huston of the Lyon County Historical Society, former Representative Don Hill talks candidly about his experiences over 14 years of service to the 60th district in the Kansas Legislature (2003-2016). During those 14 sessions Hill experienced a sea-change in legislative culture as well as a profound shift in political philosophy among its leaders. Hill worked closely with three governors - Sebelius, Parkinson, Brownback--and several Speakers of the House. His interviews reveal the intricacies of creating public policy and making change happen. For students of Kansas government, this Show Moreset of interviews is invaluable to understanding the shifts in leadership which occurred during this period, as well as policy failures and successes with tough issues such as Medicaid expansion, a 10-year highway plan, and expansion of a coal-fired plant in the Garden City area. Show Less

Interview of Paul Feleciano, February 11, 2022

Interviewed by Eric Sexton
Paul Feleciano served from 1972 until 2003 in the Kansas Legislature, primarily in the state Senate. During his 31 year tenure he has served on almost every committee. His interview discusses a wide range of issues including groundwater management, mental health reform, changes in the penal system, but his descriptions of the personalities of Senate leadership make that era come alive. He characterizes the men and women serving in the 1970's and 80's as giants --articulate, caring, compassionate problem solvers who would work "across the aisles" to make things happen. As the legislature moved into Show Morethe 21st Century, Feleciano notes the split in the Republican Party between conservatives and moderates became a real problem because the impact was, "they didn't want to compromise." After leaving the legislature, Feleciano was appointed to the Kansas Parole Board and served there for six years. Show Less

Interview with Nick Jordan by Chris Courtwright, April 10, 2024

Interviewed by Chris Courtwright
Nick Jordan served in the Kansas Senate from 1995-2008 when he retired to run for Congress. In 2010 he accepted an appointment as Kansas Secretary of Revenue. Later, Governor Brownback moved him to the position of Secretary of Commerce. This interview reveals his leadership style in passing several substantive pieces of legislation: Kansas Economic Growth Act, Kansas Bioscience Authority, numerous tax bills, and incentives for economic development and the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship. Jordan was regarded as one of the more powerful, productive and influential Senators in Kansas. His story, Show Moreas told in the interview covers his 40 - year career in the travel and tourism industry, his work in the Senate on economic development and his role in Governor Brownback's cabinet during the Kansas Great Depression. He speaks candidly about the Tax Experiment that characterized the Brownback administration. Nick Jordan's philosophy about how to succeed in an increasingly rancorous legislative environment reflects his Christian faith and a belief that treating people kindly, developing relationships regardless of political party is the best way to accomplish your goals. Show Less

Interview of Kenny Wilk, May 16, 2024

Interviewed by Chris Courtwright
Representative Kenny Wilk described himself as "curious" when he first arrived to the House--curious about how committees worked, who the people were. A Farm Bureau Citizenship Seminar had kindled his interest in politics. Rochelle Chronister, Assistant Majority Leader mentored him to meet everyone in both chambers. And he did! The interview is full of stories about the people with whom Wilk served, and what he learned from them. He moved from one area to another: budget policy, tax policy and economic development policy. He lost two leadership races, but that allowed him Show Moreto focus more intently on policy initiatives that came from committees he chaired: Kansas Bioscience Authority, the animal health corridor, NBAF, tax relief for military veterans, the Economic Growth Act, the tax exemption for machinery and equipment. Even after leaving the Kansas Legislature, he continued to serve. First, by chairing newly elected Governor Brownback's transition team, then by serving on the Kansas Board of Regents and the Kansas Bioscience Authority. His current job with the University of Kansas Health System keeps him involved with public policy issues, such as Medicaid Expansion. Show Less
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