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September 23rd, 2023
L&T Opinions Page

ryckmanGUEST COLUMN, Ron Ryckman, Kansas State Senator


Welcome to the 2023 session of the Kansas Legislature – and thanks for your confidence and trust in electing me to represent you in Topeka. As you may know, I had been appointed in March 2021 to fill out the term of our beloved departed friend, Senator Bud Estes, after having served six years in the House. 

Such an appointment requires standing for voter-approval at the next General Election, which was this past Nov. 8. That means I am honored to be starting my ninth year in state office. In my capacity as your 38th District Senator, I will be helping lead the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources as its Vice-Chair, along with membership on three other committees – Local Government, Transparency and Ethics, and Federal and State Affairs. I am here to help you interact with your state government on any issue, however, so please stop by my Capitol Office in Room 236-E – right off the Rotunda; send me an email at; or give me a call at 785-296-7359 if I can be of assistance in any way. I will look forward to hearing from you.

Chances are – if you call – the phone will be answered by my Staff Assistant, Ken Benjamin, who is a veteran of 10 years with the Legislature and can either schedule a meeting, take a message for me to call back, or directly refer your problem or question to the appropriate department or agency. Right now, in particular, I am hoping to generate interest in student constituents devoting a day of their time to being Senate Pages, so Ken is the one to get in touch with on that. We have secured openings for Wednesday, February 1; Wednesday, February 15; and Thursday, March 2, so if you have a son or daughter or grandchild or close acquaintance you would like to see experience this special opportunity, let us know! Although the minimum age requirement is 12, the older kids seem to get a little more out of it, simply because they have taken some classes on how our government works – or is supposed to! The day typically ends around 3:30 p.m., leaving just enough time to get back home to Dodge or Meade or Liberal to tell their friends on Facebook about their “Day in the Life of a Legislator!”

Speaking of which, my days have been relatively quiet this first week, getting sworn-in with my wife, Mary, at my side by Supreme Court Justice Eric Rosen after listening to the Governor’s Inaugural address on Monday; attending a Joint House-Senate “State of the Judiciary” presentation by Chief Justice Marla Luckert on Wednesday; working-in four relatively brief afternoon Floor Sessions; and ending with participation in the “Big First District Reorganizational Meeting in Hutchinson, seeing many old friends, on Saturday. Although I attended the Capitol tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. on Thursday, I expect to also be part of local observances “back home” on the official State and Federal holiday this Monday. I hope you can find your own time during this first three-day weekend of 2023 to reflect on his great legacy, especially his message about the importance of “civility” in our public discourse, which was at the core of all for which he stood. While we hear a lot about that and “unity” and “common ground” these days, there just aren’t many leaders like him anymore.

The Republican Leadership announced our own eight-point “Better Way: Commitment to Kansas” Legislative Agenda this week, hoping to find some “common ground” with what the Governor says she is seeking. It is accessible on the accompanying attachment. Have a blessed week ahead; I am so humbled and gratified to be your “voice” in the Statehouse.



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