Local Columns

Opinion: Can we function without moderates?

“Whatever happened to the moderate Republicans of Kansas?” That’s a question I was asked this past week, and it’s not a new one. Similar questions have been asked all across America, as we have seen supporters of both parties — but especially on the Republican side over the course of ...

Opinion: American voters have opted for sanity and science

In this presidential election, America experienced a magnetic reversal, a flipping of our north and south geomagnetic poles. The flip was moral, not geological, transporting the country from the Dark Ages to enlightenment. The science metaphor is apt. For the past four years this administration ...

Opinion: GOP won on key issues, but not on all

The dust is beginning to settle on President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, but Kansas Democrats remain glum. Promising U.S. Senate candidate Barbara Bollier was defeated by about 12 points despite record spending, while Topeka Mayor Michelle de la Isla lost by nearly 15 points to state Treasurer ...

Opinion: Silence by our senators has put our democracy in danger

Fresh off his election victory, one of the U.S. Senate’s incoming members, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, pronounced the three branches of government to be the House, the Senate and the Executive. While Tuberville missed the civics lesson that includes our judiciary in the three branches of ...

Opinion: State education board has new voices

Election results showed us what we’ve always known: Kansas is a Republican state. The much-anticipated Democratic Party sweep didn’t materialize despite large scale voter turnout. Except, that is, in the two contested races for seats on the Kansas State Board of Education. Unofficial ...

Opinion: Mask fights are missing the point

COVID-19 is surging across Kansas. Over 1,200 Kansans have died. Hospitals are strained. Some Americans are experiencing second infections, threatening the herd immunity dream. Many of us are just surviving. Knowing COVID-19 is serious. Often wearing masks when out, whether government says to ...

Opinion: Kansas is still a very Republican state

Imagine it is early Wednesday morning, right after Election Day. And imagine you are a Democrat in Kansas. Or if you can’t, try to at least imagine what many might have gone through over the past several weeks. Having spent years organizing and raising money and fighting hard against the ...

Opinion: Bollier would be valuable in Senate

By Tuesday or Wednesday Kansans will likely have a new U.S. senator. For most of the last century, we could simply assume that the state would elect the Republican nominee, especially if the candidate was the incumbent representative from the Big First district, per Bob Dole, Pat Roberts and ...

Opinion: Kansas schools struggle with pandemic

COVID-19 is threatening the way Kansas schools do their work. Randy Watson, state education commissioner, told members of the Kansas Association of School Boards recently that the way schools deliver education currently is “not sustainable.” Although 1A to small 4A schools are returning ...

Opinion: Get ready to be sliced and diced

Politicians you send to Topeka this November will slice and dice the entire state — into congressional and state legislative districts. Gerrymandering is when politicians manipulate district boundaries for political gain, maximizing the seats that their side wins. Some lucky politicians ...

Opinion: The president has reaped the lies he has sown

Sunday, Oct. 4. As this is being written, the president lies hospitalized for a third day at Walter Reed Medical Center battling the scourges of coronavirus: fever, fatigue, shortness of breath. According to the White House, he tested positive for COVID-19 during the midnight hours on Thursday, ...

Opinion: The fight over teaching U. S. history

Change in education goals used to come slowly. Since the 1960s, it’s generally come from federal law and Supreme Court rulings. But today, political polarization and social media clashes have devolved decision-making to debate. We live in civic turmoil that reaches every part of society ...

Opinion: Marshall is the extremist in this race

Forty-six years ago, at the 1974 Kansas State Fair U.S. Senate debate, Bob Dole altered the path of politics for both state and nation. Down in the polls to Democratic Rep. Bill Roy, Dole had struggled through the debate, nominally focused on agriculture. He faced the real possibility of ...

Opinion: Colleges should stay open, responsibly

The Jayhawker Liberation Front is in the news. Among other things, these ambitious University of Kansas students demand closing campuses to all in-person learning until COVID-19 is contained, along with an end to both capitalism and white supremacy. Those last two demands are beyond the scope ...

Opinion: The financial facts about urban Kansas

Depending on the definitions you use, the residents of Kansas’s rural counties and small towns make up less than a third, and perhaps as little as a quarter, of the state’s total population. Despite our reputation as a rural farming state, Kansas is surprisingly urban. For this reason, ...

Opinion: Hooey, hogwash and hucksters: science in the White House

Just when it seemed that the administration would regress only to the Middle Ages in denying science, facts, logic and reason, it entered cuckoo land. On July 27, at a press conference on the steps of the Supreme Court, Stella Immanuel, a pediatrician who operates a medical clinic in Houston ...

Opinion: Kansans must protect their votes

Kansas voters have the power to protect their own votes. Plan ahead. Choose the voting method that works best for you. Act early. Act responsibly. Advocate for yourself. What are your voting options? In-person Election Day voting: Poll worker shortages could make lines longer this year, ...

Opinion: Some confusion on voting inevitable

This year, like every election year, I have students ask me, “Why is voting so hard?” My initial response: “It’s not hard at all!” That answer is basically accurate, as the high levels of turnout among the older segments of our population demonstrate. Still, I can’t deny that ...

Opinion: How to make school reopening safer

Reopening Kansas schools this fall is a gamble. The COVID-19 new infections rate and death rate are still rising at this writing. Will returning to school-site learning be safe? Will it increase the spread of COVID-19? The only thing we know for certain is that school is scheduled to begin ...

Opinion: Senate primary a missed opportunity

Elections work best when campaigns highlight policy contrasts for voters. As the Republican primary for Senate in Kansas closes, this election has been a missed opportunity to discuss policy and force candidates on record about their policy views. On the issues that have received the most ...