My Fellow Kansans | KCUR

My Fellow Kansans

From its bloody free-state beginnings to present-day, red-state conservatism, we ask: How did Kansas get here?

My Fellow Kansans explores one of the most pivotal chapters in the state’s history — its hard turn to the right over the past three decades. A turn driven by abortion and other culture-war wedge issues, and by politicians skilled in exploiting them.

Join us every week from September through the election as we examine the forces and consequences of Kansas politics, the history behind it and the likelihood of another course-changing election in November.

Kansas Health Secretary Lee Norman tells host Jim McLean that extending Medicaid coverage to more low-income, able-bodied adults comes with good ROI. Nonetheless, the state House rejected a pension refinancing proposal that might pay for it. 

To keep getting these dispatches from the 2019 legislative session, subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas in your podcast app. 


For the fourth episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas for the 2019 legislative session, host Jim McLean talks with Senate President Susan Wagle, who's leading the charge for tax relief. If you enjoy this episode, subscribe and rate Statehouse Blend Kansas in your podcast app. 


In the third episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas for the 2019 legislative session, host Jim McLean talks with the official sponsor of Gov. Laura Kelly's Medicaid expansion bill about what's in it. For more Statehouse Blend Kansas, subscribe in your podcast app. 


This is the second episode of our podcast Statehouse Blend Kansas for 2019. Host Jim McLean talks with the top Democrat in the House about the battle lines being drawn for the legislative session. Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas in iTunes or wherever you listen. 


My Fellow Kansans is on hiatus for the legislative session. Meanwhile, our podcast Statehouse Blend Kansas is exploring the governing of our state. Host and Kansas News Service reporter Jim McLean talks with policymakers and everyday Kansans affected by their decisions. This is the first episode of the 2019 session. If you like it, subscribe in your podcast app. 


Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Kansas voters elected a new governor, Democrat Laura Kelly, who wants to promptly expand Medicaid eligibility, resolve a long-running lawsuit with more school funding, and address a crisis in the state's foster care system. But her ability to fulfill that agenda will depend on how willing a more conservative Legislature is to work with her.

Following an on-stage conversation with the governor-elect, My Fellow Kansans host Jim McLean was joined by Washburn University political scientist Bob Beatty and Kansas News Service reporters Stephen Koranda and Celia Llopis-Jepsen for a live panel discussion of the dynamics heading into the 2019 legislative session. 

Beatty, armed with insights from a Fox News exit poll, said voters are looking for their elected officials to chart a center path. 
 

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

With the election of Democrat Laura Kelly as governor, it appears Kansas is trending back to the center. But voters sent a mixed message as conservatives regained control of the Legislature. 

To cap off this season My Fellow Kansans, the incoming governor sat down with Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service and took questions from a live audience at Washburn University in Topeka. 

As Kelly prepares to take over the reins of state government, she said she's found the problems to be worse than she thought. But the governor-elect, a veteran of the state senate, is confident she'll have a "moderate majority" of Democratic and Republican lawmakers working with her on solutions. 

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Well, fellow Kansans, it’s over.

Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly, running as the “fix-it” candidate on the premise that Kansas had gone off the rails, beat “full-throttle conservative” Kris Kobach in the race for governor.

Her win signaled Kansans’ desire to, if not reverse the state’s turn to the right, at least turn down the political rhetoric and focus on the basics.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

A race that looked to be oh-so-close turned out to be a clear victory for Democrat Laura Kelly, the new governor-elect of Kansas.

On this mini episode of “My Fellow Kansans” we hear what Kelly had to say on election night and her explanation of what vaulted her to victory over Republican Secretary of State and conservative firebrand Kris Kobach. 

Kansas News Service/File photo

If conservative firebrand Kris Kobach would continue Kansas on its path to the right, Democrat Laura Kelly would be its pivot back to center.

After a weak start early in the campaign, polls suggest Kelly is now virtually tied with her Republican opponent in the heated race for Kansas governor.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

If there’s a talking point in Kris Kobach’s campaign that virtually no one could quibble with, it’s captured in his billboards: “The consistent conservative.”

On the campaign trail, he offers another term that underlines the ambitious Republican secretary of state’s approach to politics and to governing. He promises to be a “full-throttle” conservative.

Indeed, if his politics are conservative, his approach to public life is aggressive. He pledges a hard line against abortion, on immigration, for lower taxes.

And he promises to fashion a Kobach administration in Kansas the way President Donald Trump has remade politics in Washington.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service/File photo

Of the three leading candidates in the race for Kansas governor, polls suggest Greg Orman is the least likely to win.

Recent surveys show the independent in single digits — well behind Republican Kris Kobach and Democrat Laura Kelly, who are virtually tied.

My Fellow Kansans LIVE

Oct 18, 2018

My Fellow Kansans is coming to Johnson County Library on Oct. 25 for a live event, featuring podcast host Jim McLean and political scientist Beth Vonnahme. We'll discuss the current state of Kansas politics and learn how Kansas voters are feeling ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. You'll have a chance to ask questions and hear more about the making of our podcast, too.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

In 2016, as Kansas voters revolted against Gov. Sam Brownback and his conservative allies in the Legislature, one-time Republican gubernatorial nominee Jim Barnett, saw an opening.

The Topeka doctor bought a red pickup truck, and, with his wife, Rosie Hansen, started exploring the possibility of running for governor again — this time as the unabashed moderate in a field of conservatives.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Before he was governor, Sam Brownback had been state agriculture secretary, congressman, and U.S. senator. But when he captured the state’s top office in 2010 he had even bigger plans: to transform Kansas into a red-state model for the nation.

That’s not the way things panned out.

File photo

If there’s been one constant in Kansas politics for the last 30 years, it’s that Republicans seeking statewide office must be unequivocally against abortion, and for overturning Roe v. Wade.

Thirty years after its hard turn to the right — driven largely by abortion politics and the anti-abortion Summer of Mercy protests — Kansas is on the cusp of what could be another course-changing event: the 2018 race for governor.

 

From its bloody free-state beginnings to present-day, red-state conservatism, we ask: How did Kansas get here?

My Fellow Kansans explores one of the most pivotal chapters in the state’s history — its hard turn to the right over the past three decades. A turn driven by abortion and other culture-war wedge issues, and by politicians skilled in exploiting them.

Join us every week from Sept. 17 through the election. If you’re already subscribed to Statehouse Blend Kansas, stick around – we think you’ll enjoy My Fellow Kansans from the Kansas News Service.