Local Columns

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 ...

Opinion: Kansas rejects brash partisan politics

Shock and awe! Kansas voters nailed the coffin shut this week on the discredited Brownback era. They chose a bipartisan path forward by electing Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly as governor and soundly rejecting her opponent, Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach was embraced by President ...

Matt Tait: Best advice for KU AD Jeff Long: Go with your guy

I ran into Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long on Tuesday night in Indianapolis, and while chatting with him before KU’s basketball victory over Michigan State we talked a little football, too. Specifically, Long asked — joking I’m sure — if I had any tips for him as he began the ...

Opinion: Crucial counties for Kansas Democrats

Like Napoleon, Hillary Clinton’s long career ended in Waterloo. Only in her case, it was Waterloo, Iowa. She trailed Barack Obama’s 2012 totals by 9 percent in Waterloo’s Black Hawk County, helping President Trump win the White House, which he did by capturing votes in areas that ...

Opinion: Assessing impact of charter schools

A national, yet controversial, charter school movement intended to promote school choice and school reform has made its way rather quietly to Kansas. Currently, 11 charter schools operate within Kansas’ 286 public school districts. Begun as a way to encourage innovation in public schools, ...

Opinion: Casting your vote on Kobach’s legacy

Kansans have two chances to vote on Kris Kobach next month: on Kobach himself in the gubernatorial race and on his legacy in the secretary of state race. Kobach’s tenure as secretary of state has been marred with mismanagement: failures to update his office’s website, shortfalls in ...

Opinion: What will motivate Kansas Democrats?

President Donald Trump campaigns in Kansas this week. This should provoke Democrats into action. His campaign stop will likely include: blaming Democrats for his shortcomings, mocking claims of sexual assault, condemning the press as fake news, inflaming racial resentments, demeaning officials ...

Opinion: Nov. 2019: Gov. Kobach’s 1st year

From the vantage point of November 2019, the chaos of Kris Kobach’s initial year as governor seems inevitable. The ambitious Kobach, much like Sam Brownback, assumed that a small-state governorship could propel him into the national spotlight. Remarkably, it has taken Kobach only a year to ...

Opinion: Churches must embrace diversity

Traditionally referred to as “mainline,” many Protestant churches, including Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist, are under great stress. Some older Catholic congregations are struggling, too. Many of these congregations are aging, with a startlingly high percentage of members (and ...

Opinion: Preparing Kansas students for future

“Can’t fight progress,” my father observed as he pitched his plan to buy our family’s first automatic dishwasher. “Why would we want one?" I remember my mother’s counter. “We already have two daughters.” Fortunately for me, it didn’t take long for dishwashers to make ...

Opinion: Who’s the real anti-Kobach candidate?

Bill Graves, the last moderate Republican governor of Kansas, recently endorsed Democrat Laura Kelly in the gubernatorial race — his first public endorsement of a Democrat ever for statewide office. Sure, Graves and Kelly are both relatively centrist, but the shocker was Graves endorsing at ...

Opinion: Trump places rule of law on ballot

Will the “Trump effect” carry Kris Kobach and Republican congressional candidates to victory this November? Some commentators believe that an endorsement by President Donald Trump represents a powerful force in winning state and local elections, but the president’s mounting and careless ...

Opinion: Greg Orman and the road not taken

With seventy-some days to the 2018 general election, Greg Orman has become reviled by Democrats and others as a “spoiler,” who could easily help far-right Republican Kris Kobach win election as governor of Kansas. It didn’t have to be that way. In 2014, heading into the last few days of ...

Opinion: Laura Kelly and a return to sanity

Contested recounts, an independent spoiler candidate and national publicity each time our secretary of state starts a new round of antics. Never a dull moment in Kansas these days. Enough already. To heck with those guys. I am not even going to bother naming them. It is time to talk about ...

Opinion: Orman could hand Kobach a victory

How can a politician as flawed as Kris Kobach be elected governor? Easy—just divide and conquer. A lot of politicians with deep pockets and deep ambition see 2018 as their moment to shine. Consequently, Kobach enjoys the major advantage of having “too many” opponents, letting him squeak ...

Opinion: The choice is to go forward or turn back

For voters planning to cast a primary election ballot for governor on Tuesday, your choice is move forward and away from the Sam Brownback era or turn back toward it. Candidates have defined this choice on the major issues of the campaign. Most Kansans do not see abortion and guns as their ...

Opinion: In Kansas race, it’s Krump v. Colback

On Aug. 7, GOP voters will choose their nominee for governor, and it’s an intriguing four-person race. No, not the Jeff Colyer, Kris Kobach, Jim Barnett, Ken Selzer contest, although those names are on the ballot, along with a couple of well-spoken 17-year-olds. With all due respect, ...

Opinion: What’s a lieutenant governor for?

The Kansas Constitution requires all gubernatorial nominees to run on a ticket with their lieutenant governor nominees. Much more fanfare has surrounded the process this year than it has in the past. Why? The state Constitution and recent history do make one thing clear: The next lieutenant ...

Opinion: Leave the Constitution alone on schools

A storm is brewing over equitable education funding in Kansas. Last month, the Kansas Supreme Court passed down a decision upholding the state Legislature’s five-year school funding proposal of $522 million in new spending. The court required only that additional resources to sufficiently ...