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Women In Government Forum Brings Top Names in Kansas Politics

By Kari Ann Rinker
Announcement | September 19, 2010

WICHITA, Kan. - Kansas NOW is proud to be a co-sponsor for the Women in Government Forum at Wichita State University. The forum's intent is to open the discussion of women in politics, specifically relating to gender within the context of the modern political landscape. The forum is the first of its kind at Wichita State University.

Panel participants will be Senator and Lieutenant Governor candidate Kelly Kultala, Senator and former 4th Congressional District candidate Senator Jean Schodorf, City Councilwoman, LaVonta Williams and USD 259 School Board Member, Barbara Fuller.

Senator Kelly Kultala- Senator Kultala is a Democrat currently representing Senate District 5, which is the Kansas City/Wyandotte County area. She is also currently a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, alongside Senator Tom Holland, who is the Democratic contender for Governor running against Sam Brownback. She is ranking minority member on the Local Government and Transportation Committees in the Senate. She has served as a commissioner within the unified government of KC/Wyandotte County, as well as being a former Piper School District Board member. She graduated from KU with a degree in Political Science.

Senator Jean Schodorf- Senator Schodorf is a Republican currently representing District 25, which encompasses Maize and part of Wichita including a portion of Delano and Kechi townships. Senator Schodorf ran for 4th District US Congress against Mike Pompeo and Wink Hartman and Jim Anderson. She is currently the Assistant Majority Whip in the State Senate. She is chair of the Education Committee and Joint Committee on Art and Cultural Resources. Senator Schodorf worked as a Speech Pathologist for USD 259, as well as serving on the USD 259 School Board as President. She received her PhD from Wichita State University.

City Council Member Lavonta Williams - Council Woman Williams currently represents City Counsel District 1 in Wichita. LaVonta worked as a physical education instructor for USD 259 before advancing to Project Director for the After School Program. She has served on the boards of the Kansas African American Museum, Exploration Place and Wichita Downtown Development Corp, among others. She graduated from Emporia State University with her B.S. in Education.

USD 259 School Board Member Barbara Fuller- Barb Fuller currently represents District 3 on the USD 259 School Board. Barb has worked as an elementary school teacher, reading specialist and resource teacher. She retired from teaching in 2005, but still works as a substitute teacher in Wichita. She was past President of United Teachers of Wichita, sat on the United Way of the Plains Board and sits on the Wichita Bond Oversight Committee. She received her Masters in Education from Wichita State University.

What is it like today for women who run for office? Does their gender help or hurt their ability to serve?

What are some of the unique problems or issues that their male counter parts do not have to combat? What about women who vote against issues that are seen as "female" issues?

There are currently large disparities between men and women within all levels of elected governmental positions. This forum is a great place to discuss the topic of gender in government and how we might achieve greater gender parity within the system.

The forum is to be held on Tuesday, September 21st from 6:30-8:30 pm in Hubbard Hall, room 208 on the campus of WSU.


2 Comments

I'd be interested to learn what today's professional women believe are the most important issues. Although there is still an economic disparity in pay, that gap is closing and I heard (not sure it's true) on the radio that women have been less likely to be unemployed than men in the current recession.


I'm just curious, many times on this board people do write up's on upcoming events. I wonder, why not write a follow-up article and say just how the event went? Maybe how many attended, what questions were asked, and how lives were impacted? This way people might be more inclined to attend such an event in the future.


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