1977’s Statehouse ‘brawl’ shocked Kansas legislators

But today, such a sight is all too common

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Columnists

April 1, 2024 - 2:55 PM

In 1977, it appeared Kansas Republicans and Democrats were at each other's throats. Good thing we've learned our lesson. Photo by KANSAS REFLECTOR/SHERMAN SMITH

In my few years on the periphery of Kansas political life, I had the opportunity to work on a governor’s staff, to be a legislative assistant to the speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives and to lobby for a major professional organization. As a political groupie of the old days, like Slim Pickens in “Dr. Strangelove,” I’ll probably ride the bomb to oblivion.

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the three branches of our government, at all levels — federal, state, even local. There are nasty school board meetings where parents yell at board members. How do teachers teach the yeller’s kids if the yellers are role models?

Moreover, state and local governments used to be that part of government where a semblance of normalcy existed, where personalities were important. Wackos with conspiracy theories were pushed to the side door of state and local politics.

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