February 29th, 2024
L&T Opinions Page

A SECOND OPINION, The Manhattan Mercury


Laura Kelly, the incoming governor of Kansas, is going a bit too far. During a forum this week in Topeka, Gov.-elect Kelly said this about the situation with state agencies:

"We said this all through the campaign that the problems were broad and they're deep. I am disappointed that the devastation was even worse than I thought. We are going to have to approach them sort of how you would triage."

We agree with Ms. Kelly that public education is in need of substantially more money. That includes K-12 and higher education. We also agree that some other state government agencies have been cut back too far, and are in need of more money.

We double-clutch at the use of the term "devastation" and the notion that we're in a wartime battlefield hospital, in need of "triage."

One of the reasons we endorsed Ms. Kelly, a Democratic state senator from Topeka, is that she knows what she's doing. She takes a pragmatic, can-do approach to problems, and she's been in the trenches of state government.

Particularly given that she's going to need to work with a Republican-controlled Legislature, it doesn't seem productive to use exaggerated language like that.

Look, we understand that she's not alone. In fact, President Trump uses far more inflammatory language on an hourly basis — and with less of a tether to actual fact. Some Republicans in state government, and certainly her electoral rival, Kris Kobach, are also quite a bit more extreme in their choice of terms.

But "devastation"? "Triage"?

No need to go that far.

Schools have not been "devastated." Neither have state agencies. They have been trimmed back in some areas, and cut deeper in others. That is either a problem or progress, depending on your political point of view.

GUEST COLUMN, Kim Baldwin, Kansas Farm Bureau


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