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Kansas Reflector Podcast
The Kansas Reflector Podcast, hosted by senior reporter Tim Carpenter, presents voices from the people and politics of Kansas.
5 days ago
Gianfranco Pezzino: COVID-19 from public health perspective
Gianfranco Pezzino served as Shawnee County's health officer for 13 years before stepping down abruptly from the position in December. In the middle of the battle against COVID-19, Pezzino found politics overruling science. On this episode of the Kansas Reflector podcast, senior reporter Tim Carpenter sits down with Pezzino to discuss what he learned during the pandemic, why he stepped away, and Kansas response to the health crisis.
Jan 11, 2021
Kansas Rep. Aaron Coleman on calls for resignation, policy goals
Aaron Coleman defeated an entrenched incumbent for a seat in the Kansas House. He did it, extraordinarily, at age 20 while championing a Green New Deal reform agenda. But that accomplishment is overshadowed by controversy. On this episode of the Kansas Reflector podcast, Coleman joins senior reporter Tim Carpenter to respond to calls for his resignation and discuss policy goals.
Jan 5, 2021
Gov. Laura Kelly on re-election, 2021 legislative session
Gov. Laura Kelly announced in December she would pursue a second term in 2022. Amid the pandemic and with several policy goals yet to be achieved, the Kansas governor said running for re-election was a no-brainer. In this episode of the Kansas Reflector podcast, senior reporter Tim Carpenter — with help from editor-in-chief Sherman Smith — sits down with Kelly to discuss pandemic response, budgeting issues and, of course, her reelection efforts.
Dec 28, 2020
Hensley remembers good and bad from 44-year legislative career
After 44 years at the state Capitol, 2020 will be the last for Sen. Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat. The longest-tenured legislator, who took office in 1977, has worked with 10 different governors and around 150 different state senators. On the Kansas Reflector podcast, senior reporter Tim Carpenter sits down with Hensely to reflect on his career — highlights, lowlights and everything in between.
Dec 21, 2020
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on election lawsuits, criminal justice reform
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, now in his third term, makes his presence felt. He'll be relied upon during the upcoming legislative session, but beyond that, he has weighed in on several notable legal issues, like the election and Kansas proof of citizenship laws. On this edition of the Kansas Reflector podcast, senior reporter Tim Carpenter sits down with Schmidt to discuss criminal justice reform, a Texas-born election lawsuit contesting the 2020 general election and a possible run for governor.
Dec 14, 2020
Roberts, Senate colleagues reflect on the Kansas congressman's career
After nearly 40 years as a congressman, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts announced early last year he would not pursue reelection in 2020. Capping off the longest tenure of any Kansan in the nation’s capital Sen. Pat Roberts delivered a final speech on the Senate floor Thursday. In what he dubbed his “adios amigos” speech, Roberts reflected on his path to politics, time spent as chair of the agriculture committee in both the House and Senate and the value of bipartisan efforts in passing meaningful legislation.
Dec 7, 2020
Kansas civil rights advocates on the death penalty
Kansas law allows capital punishment, but no one has been put to death in the state since 1965. At El Dorado Correctional Facility, 10 men are currently on death row, set to die by lethal injection. The majority are white and all are convicted killers. On this Kansas Reflector podcast, Cheryl Pilate, a criminal defense lawyer, Beatrice Swoopes, a retired public policy lobbyist for Catholic causes, and Mark Mark McCormick, director of strategic communications with the ACLU of Kansas, share strong feelings in opposition to capital punishment.
Nov 30, 2020
Kansas Veteran's Treatment Court
According to a report from the US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly 8% of inmates serving time in state and federal prisons and local jails are veterans. Despite making up a sizeable portion of the criminal justice system, diversion options specific to veterans are few and far between. In 2008, Judge Robert Russell, the presiding judge of the Buffalo Drug and Mental health Courts, established the nation’s first Veterans Treatment Court intended to provide structure and rehabilitation for military men and women. In 2016, Johnson County followed suit and established the first and only Veteran’s Treatment Court in Kansas. Now, with eyes on criminal justice reform across the country, several legal leaders in Kansas are encouraging more of these treatment courts be adopted across the state.
Nov 23, 2020
Sparks fly as Kansas legislators debate pandemic recovery
The COVID-19 pandemic has left Kansas embroiled in economic chaos. Tens of thousands out of work, severely delayed payment of unemployment claims, and a wave of fraudulent jobless claims are among the turmoil the state has suffered over the past nine months. This past week a joint House and Senate committee charged with working on how best to move Kansas forward from this disaster met in Topeka. Legislators provided a fiery tit-for-tat debate on several of these issues. In this edition of the Kansas Reflector podcast, host Tim Carpenter guides us through the proceedings.
Nov 17, 2020
Political scientists dissect 2020 election results
Bob Beatty and Amber Dickinson, political science faculty members at Washburn University in Topeka, say President Donald Trump easily won confidence of Kansas voters, no amount of money would have altered the outcome for Senate candidate Barbara Bollier, and rural backing carried state Treasurer Jake LaTurner.
Nov 9, 2020
General Election 2020: What happened and what's left
Election Day 2020 has come and gone, but many races are still too close to call across the country, including here in Kansas. A week removed, counties now must canvass election results and cure provisional ballots in order to certify results. Davis Hammet, president of Loud Light, a youth-focused organization fostering increased civic engagement in Kansas, joins this week's host Noah Taborda to discuss Election Day and what's to come over the next few weeks of election certification.
Nov 2, 2020
Survey sheds light on where Kansans stand on major issues
The Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University recently released its annual survey report on how Kansans view significant issues facing the state and nation. The report provides insight on issues like taxes, funding priorities, quality of life in the state and public policy issues. Brett Zollinger, director of the Docking Institute joins the Kansas Reflector Podcast this week to discuss findings in the report. Public policy issues covered in this year’s report include COVID-19, mail-in voting and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Oct 26, 2020
Kansas City woman fights wrongful convictions, corruption in criminal justice system
The KC Freedom Project is a ministry fighting to exonerate individuals who are wrongfully convicted or accused. The organization is also actively involved in calling out corruption within the Kansas City community, be it in the police department or the prosecutor’s office. Latahra Smith founded KC Freedom Project using skills she acquired investigating and clearing her son of a 2008 capital murder case in Texas. Her work on her son’s case brought her to her calling investigating similar situations across Kansas and Missouri.
Oct 19, 2020
Kansas community colleges combat decreased enrollment amid COVID-19
After the Great Recession in 2008, community colleges nationwide saw an influx of nontraditional students and an increase in overall enrollment. Amid COVID-19, the opposite has occurred, and Kansas community colleges are facing a 14.1% decline in enrollment since last fall. Carter File, Hutchinson Community College President, has seen a 3.6% decrease in overall enrollment this fall, on the high end for enrollment this year. Brian Inbody, Neosho Community College President, said his college is facing enrollment losses across the board, from technical education programs to concurrent high school programs. Despite these losses, Heather Morgan, executive director of the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees, said Kansas community colleges are well-positioned to rebound when the pandemic subsides.
Oct 12, 2020
Sarah Smarsh humbled by attention, finds 'perfect model' in Dolly Parton
Kansas writer Sarah Smarsh's 2018 book, "Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth," was a New York Times best-seller and a finalist for the National Book Award. It earned her high-profile invitations, such as introducing civil rights icon Dolores Huerta at the 2019 Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. "It's been very humbling to know that folks who kind of have their hands on the levers of power saw something worth reading in the book," Smarsh said. Her new book is about a very different but perhaps more powerful figure: "She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived her Songs," is out this week from Simon & Schuster. "I was raised by women who didn't go to college, they never studied feminist theory, but they embodied feminism's tenets, even if they were averse to the term because it had been somehow weaponized by, you know, political forces," Smarsh said. "And it struck me that Dolly Parton was a was a perfect model to expla…
Oct 6, 2020
Kansas resident, Brennan Center attorney address false claims of voter fraud
President Donald Trump, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and race-baiting think tanks like the Heritage Foundation use the myth of voter fraud to justify laws and tactics that make it more difficult to vote. Research and court records show voter fraud is extraordinarily rare, but Kobach and Trump have influenced public opinion by frequently repeating debunked claims. Scott Moore, of Mission Hills, sued Kobach over his quest to find voter fraud, which led to a privacy breach of personal information for Moore and 944 other Kansas voters. Sean Morales-Doyle, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Voting Rights and Elections program, is working to knock down false claims in an unusual election year. Read more: https://kansasreflector.com/2020/10/06/voter-fraud-myth-persists-despite-constant-failure-to-prove-claims/
Sep 28, 2020
Advocates of elderly, disabled argue for deeper COVID-19 cluster report
Four of five COVID-19 fatalities in Kansas were people at least 65 years of age, but that group is a mere 11% of the population. Vulnerability of medically challenged people in large residential facilities makes public disclosure of outbreaks a "life or death" public service. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment offers a weekly summary of COVID-19 clusters. Advocates for the elderly and disabled appreciate KDHE's site-specific list, but suggest broadening information shared on long-term care facilities.
Sep 21, 2020
Kansas lawmakers walking long road to legalizing medicinal marijuana
Rep. Gail Finney and Sen. David Haley are optimistic the 2021 Legislature can advance a bill legalizing medical marijuana, something they have advocated for more than a decade.
Sep 14, 2020
De La Isla reflects on Black Lives Matter, health care, COVID-19
Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla, the Democratic nominee for the 2nd District seat in Congress, says the police department is full of heroes, "but for us to say with a straight face that there is no room for improvement is crazy." Her campaign is focused on expanding access to preventive health care, and she criticizes President Donald Trump for favoring politics over science in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sep 7, 2020
Sen. Pat Roberts reflects on career in politics, military, journalism
Retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts shares personal insights into his 40-year career as an elected official in Washington, D.C., which was preceded by service in the U.S. Marine Corps and work as a journalist and congressional aide.
Aug 31, 2020
KU professor reflects on reopening of K-12 schools
Dorothy Hines, assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas, says K-12 students can explore COVID-19's impact on their lives through social media, and children need to know they are part of a family of teachers, administrators, counselors and others who value their well-being.
Aug 24, 2020
Children's advocates reflect on pandemic's impact to state services
John Wilson, president of Kansas Action for Children, and Melissa Rooker, executive director of the Kansas Children's Cabinet and Trust Fund, outline concerns for more than 100,000 children living in poverty in Kansas.
Aug 17, 2020
Political scientists reflect on primary results, prospects for November
Patrick Miller, of the University of Kansas, Bob Beatty, of Washburn University, and Michael Smith, of Emporia State University, say U.S. Senate candidate Barbara Bollier needs to clearly define herself or risk Kris Kobach's fate.
Aug 10, 2020
Health secretary Lee Norman warns of 'lethal brew'
Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said he was distressed only 15 of the state's 105 counties embraced Gov. Laura Kelly's recommendation of a mask mandate. The public health value of requiring people to cover their mouth and nose when in public has been undermined by government officials who discounted potential of the virus or viewed government edicts as infringement of individual liberties.
Aug 3, 2020
After 'most difficult year of my life,' Wagle turns attention to family
Senate President Susan Wagle, a Republican with 30 years of experience in the Kansas Legislature, has never been mistaken for a shrinking violent. She took on an otherwise all-male Republican field to make the case she was best suited to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, the dean of Kansas politics. As the primary campaign season was about to catch fire in March, COVID-19 began consuming the nation's political oxygen. Then, one of her children, 38-year-old Julia Scott passed away.
Jul 27, 2020
Kris Kobach warns GOP voters not to be fooled by general election oddsmakers
Kris Kobach warns GOP voters not to be fooled by general election oddsmakers by Reflector Podcast
Jul 16, 2020
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, commerce secretary David Tolland plan recovery from COVID-19
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, commerce secretary David Tolland plan recovery from COVID-19 by Reflector Podcast