Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: History: November 2009


kansas-postcard.jpgGREAT BEND, Kan. - Sunday November 22 marks the 46th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. On this anniversary many in America and around the world remember JFK's idealism, accomplishments and style. Kansans have good reason to remember JFK, as he considered Kansas to be more than just a "flyover state" to be conceded to the opposition party.

In today's world, no Democrat presidential candidate would even consider "wasting time" to campaign in Kansas two weeks before a Presidential election. So what was JFK doing holding a large rally in Wichita, Kansas just days before the general election?

He was doing two things. First, although he ended up losing Kansas to Nixon, he considered Kansas to be a state he had a chance to win. Second, he was appearing in Kansas to support Governor Docking and the entire Kansas Democratic ticket. His speech at the downtown baseball stadium in Wichita (now called Lawrence-DuMont stadium) was a barn-burner.

The Kennedy's had no greater friends than the Docking family in Kansas. Governor George Docking's key role in helping JFK snare the Democratic nomination in 1960 was recalled by Robert F. Kennedy at Allen Fieldhouse during his 1968 visit there. This time, another Docking was Governor, as Kennedy said...

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty held their annual meeting in Topeka on November 16th. The event was attended by 30 people and featured a keynote
Sam Millsap & Donna Schneweis
speech given Sam Millsap, former Bexar County (TX) Prosecuting Attorney.

During the 2009 Kansas legislative session, proponents of the death penalty were successful in getting the Senate's Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on a bill to repeal the current death penalty law and voted out the bill to the full Senate. Conservatives in the Kansas Senate, lead by Sen. Derek Schmidt, blocked the bill from being voted on and had it referred back to committee.

Following this effort, The Wichita Eagle, Iola Register and Hutchinson News, all issued editorials calling for a repeal or seriously questioning the need for the death penalty in a state that has not executed a capital offender since 1965.

Joan Finney's People Power

joan-finney.jpgGREAT BEND, Kan. - As I walked into the room, Governor Joan Finney was surrounded by well wishers after the 1994 Hoisington Labor Day parade, attending a get-together in Great Bend at a friend's house. I had met Finney before, as part of a large group of "Leadership Great Bend" people a year earlier.

Knowing that she wouldn't possibly remember meeting me, I acted like I had never met her before and let the host introduce me to Kansas 42nd Governor. "Governor, nice to meet you," I said. I then walked into the kitchen, and let others visit with the Governor in the living room. I was content that I got to meet Finney again, and went to the kitchen to talk to friends while others bothered the Governor about this or that.

About 30 minutes later, Governor Finney walked from the living room into the kitchen, looked at me close, and said: "Marty, I have a feeling we've met before." I was floored.
"Actually," I stumbled to find the words, "I was part of a large contingent of 'Leadership Great Bend' people and I did shake your hand in the Governor's office about a year ago.
I didn't say anything about it earlier today because I didn't expect you to remember."

david-and-goliath.jpgGREAT BEND, Kan. - In the Civil War, the Republican party was the Union party and the Democratic party the Confederate party. Kansas was a Union state, and with that came the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln. Kansas has always been Republican because of it's ties to the Union.

If you ask most people, "What political party are you in, and why?" most will say, "Well, my Dad was a Republican, and his Dad was a Republican, and that's just the way it was." The Republican party of the Civil War was an anti-slavery party, and Lincoln it's first President.

The thing is, it didn't take long before the Republican party forgot about abolition and focused it's energy on helping big business. The decline in abolitionist zeal was quite
apparent. In fact, by 1890 the Republican party was "a closely held institution largely managed by railroad lawyers who made little attempt to conceal their control of Republican state conventions." (Lawrence Goodwin, Democratic Promise: The Populist Movement in America, p. 187)

After the Civil War, Republicans could win the vote of the "common man" easily by "waving the bloody shirt," referring to the blood of the martyrs and heroes who helped the Union win the Civil War. Former Union soldiers were admonished to "Vote how you shot," in the Civil War. And it worked, for a while.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - When 28-year-old Great Bend Democrat Randy Yowell threw down the gauntlet and challenged longtime Republican First District Congressman Keith Sebelius, it led to what Yowell now calls "the wildest congressional campaign ever by land, sea or air."

No Congressional District has been tougher on the Democrats than Kansas' Big First. And Keith Sebelius (father-in-law of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius) seemed to have an unshakable grip on the District in 1976. Somebody forgot to tell Randy Yowell.

Yowell had no money. Although he had been a star athlete at Great Bend High School, he had no political experience, but made up for it in guts, blasting Sebelius at every turn.

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is History: October 2009. The next archive is History: December 2009.

If you want to browse other topics, you can also check our Table of Contents. The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.


Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links below (clicking through from our site) to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the shopping links provided on a Kansas Free Press page, you are directly helping to support the Kansas Free Press:



About This Page

This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the History: November 2009 section.

The previous archive is History: October 2009. The next archive is History: December 2009.

The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.

Other Archives

Interested in other topics? You may wish to poke around in our Table of Contents to find other sections and archives.

Do you want to explore pieces written by specific authors? You can find archives for KFP writers by reviewing our complete Directory of Authors and Writers here.

News and Opinion





Get Connected

See our FB page!
Subscribe for free!
[Feeds & Readers...]
Follow Kansas Free Press on Twitter, too!
Make Kansas Free Press your home page!

Journalists, sign in.

We're reader supported!

Whenever you use the specific links below to begin any of your online shopping, a portion of your sale goes directly towards the support of this site.

Tech Depot - An Office Depot Co.


Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links above (clicking through from our site) to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the shopping links provided on a Kansas Free Press page, you are directly helping to support the Kansas Free Press.

Thank you for your help!

Notices & Policies

All of our Kansas Free Press journalists are delighted that you are here. We all hope that you come here often, sign in and leave us comments, and become an active part of our community. Welcome!

Our writers are credentialed after referral to, and approval by, the editor/publisher of KansasFreePress.com. If you are interested in writing with us, please feel free to let us know here. We are always looking for Kansans who want to write about Kansas!

All authors here retain their own copyrights for their original written works, original photographs and art works. They welcome others to copy, reference or quote from the content of their stories, provided that the reprints include obvious author and website attribution and links to the original page, in accordance with this publication's Creative Commons License.

Our editor primarily reviews stories for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting and is not liable or responsible for the opinions expressed by individual authors. The opinions and accuracy of information in the individual stories on this site are the sole responsibility of each of the individual authors. For complete site policies, including privacy, see our Frequently Asked Questions. This site is designed, maintained, and owned by its publisher, Everyday Citizen Media. The Kansas Free Press, KansasFreePress.com, and Kansas Free Press are trademarked names.

© Copyright, 2008-2012, all rights reserved, unless otherwise specified, first by the respective author, and then by KFP's publisher and owner for any otherwise unreserved and all other content.