Home/Topic: Leadership style/
Refine Your Results
  • Interviewee

Topic: Leadership style

John Carlin, Kansas

Interview of John Carlin, June 14, 2019

Interviewed by H. Edward (Ed) Flentje
This 2019 interview focuses on the experiences of John Carlin during his legislative career in the House of Representative from 1971-1978 where he led his caucus to achieve the majority party status, and his becoming only the second Democratic House speaker in the 20th Century. The interview contains anecdotes about his experiences in 4-H which he believes developed his leadership skills as well as the issues he embraced during his terms in the House. Carlin also candidly discusses the challenges he faced in working to overturn a veto of a governor of his party. Issues discussed in this interview included Show Moreprisons, the death penalty, reorganizing government, due process for teachers, court unification, centralization of the welfare system at the state level and the politics of roads and transportation. Carlin points to livestock judging as training for making decisions. Carlin believes learning to make fast, accurate decisions contributed to his political success. 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 Jene Vickrey, September 11, 2020

Interviewed by Alan Conroy
Jene Vickrey talks candidly about his first campaign (where he narrowly defeated then-Speaker Marvin Barkis) as having not much money but "a lot of shoe leather." He discusses his political mentors, Melvin Neufeld and Tim Shallenburger and the advice they gave him in the early years, about lobbyists and handling hot-button issues. He learned not only from his mentors, but other colleagues who helped him, some of whom were Democrats. The interview covers bills he sponsored, many of which were pro-life legislation. He describes the "tough challenges" such as foster care systems (he was a foster Show Moreparent), school finance and taxes. He didn't support casino gambling although his constituents were in favor of it. The interview concludes with Vickrey reflecting on the changes he saw in 28 years, the growth in the number of conservatives and a loosening of the control of the House from leadership to the body itself by rules changes for more transparency as well as becoming more partisan. Show Less
How Things Got Done

How Things Got Done in the Kansas Legislature

In this video, compiled from interviews on this site, 12 former Kansas legislators who served from 1960-2010 talk about why they ran for public office, how they developed and executed strategy, and how different leaders perceived their roles and what they accomplished. Among others you will hear Dick Bond describe initiating renovation of the Capitol, Steve Morris recall creating a plan to train more engineers, and Fred Kerr explain the need for reappraisal and classification. You also hear Mike Hayden recount lessons learned from two Speakers with vastly different styles who preceded him – Pete McGill and Wendell Show MoreLady. Show Less

Interview of Gary Sherrer, October 15, 2021

Interviewed by Mike Matson
Gary Sherrer was a debater and it changed his life. His reflections on growing up in Topeka, winning a debate scholarship to Kansas State Teachers College and then teaching for eight years are the perfect backdrop to his later achievements. His association with the Graves Trucking Company and soon-to-be-Governor Bill Graves paved the way for him to become Bill Graves' Lt. Governor. Sherrer won the respect of many Kansas leaders, including Henry Bubb and Jordan Haines, two preeminent bankers who recruited him to the banking industry as chief marketing officer, and later, lobbyist when multi-bank holding company Show Morelegislation was pending. His debate skills served him well as a lobbyist, enabling the controversial bill to pass by one vote. He developed the Leadership Kansas model to train leaders. He knew how to solve community problems and displayed those skills as Secretary of Commerce for Governor Graves. One of his proudest accomplishments was the STAR bonds project in Wyandotte County, with Mayor Carol Marinovich. The interview is replete with examples of programs he developed or guided to fruition. It is interesting to read all the anecdotes about the political scene. Show Less

Interview of Joe Knopp, October 15, 2021

Interviewed by Alan Conroy
Joe Knopp's interview takes place 33 years after he left the legislature in 1988 after losing a close election and short-circuiting his political career. His recollections are still vivid and his interview describes a legislature that has changed considerably in recent years. Knopp served from 1981 through 1988 and during that time as chair of the House Judiciary Committee was involved in many significant issues: medical practice, corporate hog farming, changes in the DUI law, death penalty, reapportionment, severance tax. As Majority Leader he dealt with a growing split in the Republican caucus --led by the Rebels. Show More He tried to get votes for a special session on a new highway plan. He describes in detail the process of getting elected to a leadership position and how he won by one vote. He talks candidly about balancing his personal views with those of his constituents, particularly on liquor and gambling issues --and he speaks analytically about losing the election in 1988 and again in 2012 when he ran for the Senate. Good insights for anyone contemplating a run for public office. Show Less

Interview of Delia Garcia, April 21, 2022

Interviewed by Frances Jackson
Garcia's interview describes how she was recruited to run for the Kansas Legislature and how she learned how to be a successful leader. She had many role models from Texas Senator Leticia Van der Putte, to Governors Finney and Sebelius, and Sr. Therese Bangert. She told a story about a legislative colleague who complimented her on speaking good English while she was debating a measure requiring English as the official language. Garcia felt humiliated and angry, but one of her mentors talked her out of quitting. She used that experience to begin intentionally training women, Show Moreparticularly women of color, to run for political office. She has written a book on national Latina leadership, to be published at the end of 2022. Garcia also shares her thoughts on immigration and immigrant rights. She cites the fact that Kansas was the fourth state in the country to pass in-state tuition for undocumented students in 2004. To her, immigration policy has an economic impact. Congress should be willing to come to the table and talk, discuss and even compromise to find a solution. The interview concludes with a description of a program at Wichita State University that invests in developing leadership for students. Show Less
Go to Top