Legislature Approves Congressional Map
This week, both the Senate and House passed SB 355
, the “Ad Astra 2
” Congressional map. Ad Astra 2 is a product of the redistricting process that started with over 20 town hall meetings and reflects the review of 2020 Census data. 2020 Census data showed that district boundary lines had to be shifted to accommodate changes in population and ensure that each district has the same number of residents. For example, the First Congressional District in Western Kansas no longer has enough people in it, while the Third District in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties has too many. Congressional maps are governed by federal law and are required to have equal population in each congressional district. Ad Astra 2 meets this requirement.
A total of eight Congressional maps were brought to the House for consideration, but those amendments failed. Some maps extended the “Big First Congressional District” to the Missouri line and included much of SE Kansas. Another proposed map would have put SW Kansas in the same Congressional District as Wichita. The House voted 79-37
to advance Ad Astra 2 to the Governor for her consideration.
Later in the session we will be considering maps that will redraw State Senate, House, and State Board of Education districts.
Our Community at the Capitol
As I mentioned last week this was a busy week for Liberal, Kismet and Seward County at the State Capitol.
The Liberal Chamber of Commerce and other Chambers in SW Kansas met with legislators from across the state. Liberal had a great turn out. It was nice to visit with Mike Brack’s sister, Johnna Kendall, who lives in Topeka.
We had a great turnout for Pancakes at the Capitol. You can tell Liberal is a special place when former residents like Greg and Alicia Bird drove up from Wichita to help. Ronna Stump, who recently moved to Topeka, also came by. This event, as always, is one of the Capitol’s most popular events. A special thanks to first time participants, Mayor Jeff Parsons and his wife Julie, and City Commissioner Jose Lara.
It’s always great to see Carolyn and David Quillin at the Capitol. They were up for a Farm Bureau meeting.
Happy Birthday, Kansas!
On Saturday, we celebrate Kansas Day and the 161st
birthday of our state. To celebrate, there are festivities around our great state to honor Kansas on her birthday, including at the Kauffman Museum
at Bethel College in Newton. The Smoky Hill Museum
in Salina has a day of fun planned (Reservations are required). In Wichita, there will be a Sunflower Shindig
Additionally, Kansas Tourism has launched a website, To the Stars
, which is dedicated to honoring Kansas Day and our great state. The site has merchandise
with the new tourism campaign, including accessories and apparel.
The Kansas State Historical Society has created a webpage
full of classroom resources, including a read-along for S is for Sunflower: A Kansas Alphabet.
There are also videos
on the KSHS’s YouTube Channel.
This year also marks the 150th
anniversary of the Home on the Range cabin
and song. The cabin was built on July 4, 1872. A celebration will be held July 2-4.
Kansas Teacher of the Year Recognized
This week, a joint meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees met to honor the 2022 Kansas Teacher of the Year recipient, Susanne Stevenson of Dodge City. Stevenson is a 4th
grade teacher at Beeson Elementary. According to the Teacher of the Year release, “She has a love of working with bilingual and newcomer students. Her passion for equal opportunities and high standards of achievement for all students drove her to further her education so she could better serve the diverse populations of her community and school.”
The Teacher of the Year program awards excellent teaching at the elementary and secondary classrooms in our state. Stevenson was chosen from the regional finalists. The regional winners are:
- Amber R. Carithers, secondary teacher at Hutchinson High School, USD 308
- Natalie Johnson-Berry, secondary teacher at Shawnee Mission North High School, USD 512
- Amanda S. Ketterling, elementary teacher at Bonner Springs Elementary School, Bonner Springs USD 204
- Helen (Lisa) Martinez, secondary Spanish teacher at Seaman High School, Seaman USD 345
- Megan L. O’Neill, 4th grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, Ottawa USD 290
- Kristin Salazar, secondary business and CTE teacher at Eisenhower High School, Goddard USD 265
- Laurie Thisius, 4th grade teacher at Cheney Elementary School, Cheney USD 268
Additional information on the Kansas Teacher of the Year Program can be found here
This year the page program is active again. My first pages are serving on February 14.
Thank you for the opportunity to continue serving working families in Seward County. Please reach out to me any time I can assist you with a state agency concern. I do ask that you send the request to me by email. This ensures that I get the information correctly to the agency we are working with. You can reach me when I am in Topeka by email