Peter Hancock (Statehouse/politics reporter)

I cover K-12 education. That includes Lawrence USD 497 as well as state policy issues from the legislature and State Board of Education. I am a graduate of the Kansas University with bachelor's degrees in political science and education. Before joining the Journal-World, I published an online news service called the Kansas Education Policy Report. I also spent nine years as the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and worked a couple of years as the spokesman for the (former) Kansas Health Policy Authority. You can follow me on Twitter (@pqhancock) or join our conversation about public schools on the First Bell blog.

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Audience members hold up red and green cards, showing they either agree or disagree, during a town hall meeting with Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas Friday at an American Legion hall in Topeka.

Constitution Hall in Lecompton is the site of an early state constitutional convention where delegates drafted a pro-slavery form of government for Kansas. It was narrowly rejected by Congress amid a political battle that eventually propelled Abraham Lincoln to the presidency and sparked the Civil War.

Paul Bahnmaier, president of the Lecompton Historical Society, stands in an 1850s-era building that was the first Democratic Party headquarters in Kansas. Democrats at that time were a pro-slavery party.

Paul Bahnmaier, president of the Lecompton Historical Society, and Lynn Ward, curator of the Territorial Capital Museum, display early maps of the Kansas Territory. The Kansas Territorial government was torn between pro-slavery and abolitionist forces, but the first proposed state constitution drafted in Lecompton was a pro-slavery document.

Paul Bahnmaier, president of the Lecompton Historical Society, displays the portraits of John Calhoun, a pro-slavery partisan leader in the Kansas Territory, and James Lane, a strident abolitionist who became one of the state's first U.S. senators. The portraits are housed in a building that was used as the territorial capitol of Kansas, not far from Constitution Hall, where a proposed pro-slavery constitution was drafted in 1857 but later rejected by Congress.

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