The Buzz

TheChat: Retiring Kansas state senator bemoans Statehouse culture


Good morning.

▪ “I am most troubled that the public arena now values politics and sound bites far more than problem solving and policy making. If we can no longer stick out our necks by proposing innovative ideas and solutions to our most daunting problems, and if we punish those who do, what is left of our role as legislators?” — Kansas Senate Vice President Jeff King announcing he won’t seek re-election this year.

Winning re-election is more important than making sound policy, King said in his announcement. He added: “To blindly follow the status quo, to put out the same mundane sound bites crafted to say as little as possible, and to repeat the cycle? That’s not governing. That’s not what Kansans elected us to do. That’s political cowardice that cannot be rewarded.”

▪ “Paul Ryan is soon to be Cantored.” — former GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, warning that House Speaker Paul Ryan is now in danger of losing a Republican primary when he seeks re-election.

The reason for the dire prediction? Ryan’s lack of enthusiasm for likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Palin, a Trump backer, was referring to Eric Cantor, the former Republican House majority leader who was shockingly ousted by a primary challenger in 2014. She added: “(Ryan’s) political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people.”

▪ “We're creating a bigger divide between the haves and have-nots.” — Missouri state Sen. Gina Walsh, a North County Democrat, decrying an effort to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the so-called "paycheck protection" bill.

House Bill 1891 would require public employee labor unions to get written permission before withdrawing dues from workers' paychecks. The override effort ranks as one of the most controversial issues of the General Assembly’s final week of the 2016 session.

▪ “I think what they’ve done, it’s what they are going to do.” — Missouri state Rep. John Rizzo, a Kansas City Democrat, referring to how Republicans are handling ethics reform.

Democrats believe the ethics debate is over for the year. While Republicans made a few changes, they opted not to address caps on political donations and, so far, placing limits on lobbyist gifts. Rizzo said voters expected more after legislative leaders trumpeted the issue back in January.