Local Columns

Opinion: Windfall politics, past and present

As the governor, a skilled legislative veteran, prepared to deliver Kansas’ State of the State address, the multiple demands for state funding loomed large. The Supreme Court had mandated substantial additional monies for a critical state function. The highway fund was scraping bottom, ...

Opinion: Anticipating change with Gov. Kelly

After a whirlwind transition, Gov.-elect Laura Kelly will be sworn in as the 48th governor of Kansas this coming Monday, and Kansans will have their first glimpse of how she grasps the key levers of governance. Having assisted former Gov. Mike Hayden in his transition of 1986-87, I experienced ...

Opinion: Jenkins becomes part of the problem

Well, that sure did not take long. Outgoing Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins is becoming a lobbyist. Via Twitter, she recently announced the formation of a new venture, LJ Strategies, LLC, already registered to lobby in the state of Kansas. Ethics laws prohibit ex-members of Congress from ...

Opinion: Teach for America could help Kansas

The Kansas teacher shortage reflects a national trend. When classes started this fall Kansas was 612 teachers short, up 19 percent from last year. Some positions still remain open. Furthermore, the cost of recruiting high-quality teachers has risen and become controversial. A recent furor ...

Opinion: State’s marijuana policy stuck in 1927

Kansas needs a rational, adult conversation about marijuana. State marijuana laws are changing nationally, even in solidly conservative states. Public opinion on marijuana is changing, even in Kansas. But the mindset of Kansas policymakers is stuck in 1927, when the state outlawed ...

Opinion: Thank these exceptional lawmakers

Democracy can be a thankless venture. When eligible citizens place their name on a ballot and ask neighbors for their vote, they invite scrutiny and accept the verdict at the ballot box. In advance of the upcoming legislative session, please join me in publicly thanking a small group of ...

Opinion: Kansas’ back and forth governorship

“Take me back, take me way, way, way back …” — Van Morrison, “On Hyndford Street” January 1949. Republican Frank Carlson is sworn in as governor for a second two-year term, a seemingly ordinary event, given the GOP’s general dominance of Kansas politics. Who could have ...

Matt Tait: Biggest job for new Kansas OC Chip Lindsey: Get Pooka the ball

New Kansas offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey has been on the job for barely 48 hours and already extended a scholarship offer to a four-star, dual-threat quarterback from Alabama. That’s a terrific start. And recruiting, no doubt, will be a huge part of Lindsey’s job at Kansas. But no ...

Opinion: Work begins for Kansas Democrats

Democrats had a lot at stake this year. They won a qualified victory, and they owe it all to new voters. Sharice Davids captured the Kansas City-area 3rd Congressional District from incumbent Kevin Yoder, while Laura Kelly defeated the drama-seeking Kris Kobach for the governorship. Davids is ...

Matt Tait: History of developing NFL talent an added bonus of Les Miles hire

The list of former LSU Tigers who played for Les Miles and were drafted into the NFL is roughly as long as the number of junior college transfers the Kansas football program brought in during the past 10 years, hoping against hope that the juco route would be the elixir that cured KU’s woes. ...

Opinion: How school choice works in Kansas

Mix, match, customize — the modern world is an array of choices that permeate many aspects of our daily lives. Take, for example, public school choices approved by the Kansas State Board of Education. While not all options are listed here and not all are found in every school district, the ...

Matt Tait: Kansas football covers; was Les Miles watching?

Imagine, for a minute, that you were Les Miles on Saturday night and found yourself in front of a television set around 6:30 p.m. Wouldn’t you have flipped the tube to FOX to check out the Kansas football team’s second-to-last game of the season at Oklahoma? Whether with his family ...

Opinion: Women, you should run for office

The 2018 election was “Year of the Woman, Part Deux.” Women, particularly Democrats, made gains nationwide. Kansas factored into that, electing Laura Kelly as governor, Vicki Schmidt as insurance commissioner and Sharice Davids to Congress. Despite these gains, women still have not achieved ...

Matt Tait: Beaty staying positive to the bitter end

Some coaches in their final year on the job enjoy farewell tours that come with gifts and adoration from longtime foes in once-hostile venues. Former Missouri basketball coach Norm Stewart’s final farewell at Kansas is one that comes to mind, and Norm, who for decades had been urged over and ...