I have been very busy the Month of April visiting with groups in the community, trying to catch up on work, and getting my taxes done.
Kelly Douglas invited me to speak with the AVID Students at South Middle School. What a great program and great bunch of kids. I hope someday AVID can become part of the curriculum for all our students. I am a graduate of South Middle School, when it was South Junior High, so the invitation had a special meaning. I was struck by how lucky our community is to have so many kids stay in our community and help it grow. They aren’t kids now but Wayne Williams, Earl Watt, Luz and Shawn Riggs, and April Warden were just a few of the people at this event that have grown up in this community and have given back to it.
The Hospital Auxiliary for the 6th
District had their annual meeting in Liberal this month. Linda Staiger served as emcee and our community was well represented with at least 20 other members and SWMC Staff. The room was full of other volunteers from across Southwest Kansas that are there when we are most in need. I was reminded again of the generosity of the people of Liberal and Seward County.
This month we lost another saint, Evelyn Varah. I remember when I served as Scholarship Drive Chairman for SCCC, Evelyn always came up quietly after the kick off event and made the first donation.
I enjoyed visiting with the Senior Class of Southwestern Heights. I talked about State Government and some of the differences between it and the Federal Government. We also talked about the challenges facing the state and Southwest Kansas. Then we started with the questions. Our young people know how to ask the tough questions.
I’ve also enjoyed attending the “That Liberal Band” Fish Fry, Seward County Economic Forum, Southwest Realtors Association, USD 480 Board meeting, and Liberal Rotary to name a few.
Some Random Thoughts
Bureaucracy: During my first term in Topeka I am becoming more and more concerned about the layers of bureaucracy the State and Federal Government is creating in the name of efficiency. I heard two stories this month of medical care being denied individuals because the insurance wouldn’t cover it. One individual had a Cadillac Blue Cross Blue Shield Policy. I hear from our local providers about claims being rejected and payments delayed by the KanCare providers. The Government forces schools to teach to the test to receive funding; then we wonder why our kids are taking so many standardized tests and pretests. There are bills written or proposed in Topeka that would force food, fuel, computers, insurance, cars, and IT services to be purchased through state contracts unless our school district can document why the local option is better. I don’t believe Topeka should be telling our schools where to buy lettuce every week. I’m not sure Topeka can keep track of where the best place is to buy lettuce in every school district in the state. We wonder why our local businesses fail when our local school districts and maybe, in the future our counties and cities are forced to purchase only through state awarded contracts. I recently talked with a senior citizen that took 3 trips to get her drivers license renewed because of some new hurdles Topeka has implemented. I think Kansas needs to take a hard look at what this bureaucracy is costing us.
“Any plan of administration which contemplates a concentrating of responsibility is open to the dangers which follow the creation of a bureaucracy.” Arthur Capper
“Congress, the press and the bureaucracy too often focus on how much money or effort is spent, rather than whether the money or effort actually achieves the announced goal.” Donald Rumsfield
I won’t get started this week on local control but, with a few exceptions, I believe the best government is the one closest to the people. Kansas is a diverse state. Rules designed for the Kansas City Metropolitan area won’t work in Kismet and vice versa. Topeka doesn’t know what is best for us. Topeka needs to allow our local school districts and cities to come up with solutions that fit our needs.
Please reach out to me regarding issues with our state government that I can help with. I do ask that you send the request to me by email. My email address is: Shannon.firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thank you for the opportunity to serve. Please contact me anytime. My email is: Shannon.email@example.com