Kansas residents are losing the services of an outstanding state legislator. Rep. Kenny Wilk, who has represented Leavenworth County and the 42nd District in the Kansas House for the past 16 years, announced Monday he will not seek re-election.
This is a major loss for Leavenworth County, as well as for the entire state.
Wilk is an extremely well-informed legislator and has the intelligence, experience and wisdom to make up his own mind on important issues rather than being swayed by the selfish or politically partisan interests of others. He is a Republican, but he places the best interests of his constituents and the state at the forefront and favors legislation that is best for Kansas.
He played a major role in designing the imaginative legislation known as the Kansas Economic Growth Act, which created the Kansas Biosciences Authority and the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship. He is a visionary and believes more should be expected of those in leadership positions in the state's higher education system.
In 2005, the Washington, D.C.-based Biotechnology Industry Organization names Wilk its 2005 State Representative of the Year.
Some in higher education, others in industrial and high-tech development organizations and still others who prefer to let difficult and challenging issues drift, rather than attacking them, probably are sighing with relief. Wilk expected those operating with the help of state funding to measure up in every respect. He did not tolerate or accept
double-talk, inaction or anything less than the truth.
Kansans should do what they can to encourage smart, honest, properly motivated men and women to seek public office.
The state needs more lawmakers such as Wilk, and his decision to step aside will leave a major void in the Kansas Legislature.