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Editorial Roundup: Kansas


Topeka Capital-Journal. January 12, 2024.

Editorial: Kansas lawmakers may benefit from listening to each other about important issues and more

Sometimes the best thing you can do is listen, genuinely listen.

We hope the legislators who have arrived for the 2024 session will attempt to do exactly that.

Last week, we shared our hopes for the legislative session. This week, we’ll share our hope for legislators. Please go into this session with open minds, open hearts and listening ears.

Members of the Kansas House and Senate will be asked to look at a wide variety of topics in this session. Some of the issues might be outside of your expertise, so we hope you’ll seek out knowledgeable authorities to better inform your decision-making.

There are plenty of people in the Capitol building who will try to compete for your attention — lobbyists, party leadership, state agencies and politicos of all kinds. Be careful who you listen to. We’re well aware listening comes with the territory.

Your constituents should come first. Remember to give them your top priority. Listen to what they have to say, and address their concerns and needs. They’re who sent you here in the first place. You work for them, not the other way around.

We’d also encourage you to chat with your peers, listen and get to know them — especially with those you don’t agree with in terms of policy.

Have a cup of coffee with them. Ask them to lunch. Ask them what they’re reading, what they’re watching, what teams they root for. Get to know them as people. If you need an ice breaker ask them if a hot dog is a sandwich. They’re bound to have an opinion on that. It’s low stakes and gets the conversation started.

This doesn’t have to be a daily activity but is certainly worth an attempt. Who knows your best friend in the Legislature might belong to the opposite party and you’ve yet to discover that.

Chances are these types of conversations will show you that we, as Kansans, have more in common than we do differences. It also keeps the line of communication open and can make transitioning into business discussions a little less adversarial.

That’s bound to pay off as the session progresses.

One more thing about listening. It doesn’t correlate to agreement. It just helps you line up all the facts before you make a decision. That’s all we’re asking for. Take the time to gather the facts before making decisions.

Who knows what you might learn in the process?