My Fellow Kansans

New Episodes each Monday: July 6 - August 10, 2020

In the first season of My Fellow Kansans, we examined the forces and consequences of Kansas politics, the history behind it, and the likelihood of another course-changing election last November.

Season 2 turned to rural Kansas, because it too has a storied past. As once-thriving towns continue to shrink, we asked, does rural Kansas have a future?

Now in season 3, we focus on our fellow Kansans in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. People & the Pandemic our topic in season three of My Fellow Kansans, a podcast from the Kansas News Service. Our conversation begins July 6. 

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Of the three leading candidates in the race for Kansas governor, polls suggest Greg Orman is the least likely to win.

Recent surveys show the independent in single digits — well behind Republican Kris Kobach and Democrat Laura Kelly, who are virtually tied.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

In 2016, as Kansas voters revolted against Gov. Sam Brownback and his conservative allies in the Legislature, one-time Republican gubernatorial nominee Jim Barnett saw an opening.

The Topeka doctor bought a red pickup truck, and, with his wife, Rosie Hansen, started exploring the possibility of running for governor again — this time as the unabashed moderate in a field of conservatives.

Before he was governor, Sam Brownback had been state agriculture secretary, congressman, and U.S. senator. But when he captured the state’s top office in 2010 he had even bigger plans: to transform Kansas into a red-state model for the nation.

That’s not the way things panned out.

Thirty years after its hard turn to the right — driven largely by abortion politics and the anti-abortion Summer of Mercy protests — Kansas is on the cusp of what could be another course-changing event: the 2018 race for governor.

 

From its bloody free-state beginnings to present-day, red-state conservatism, we ask: How did Kansas get here?

My Fellow Kansans explores one of the most pivotal chapters in the state’s history — its hard turn to the right over the past three decades. A turn driven by abortion and other culture-war wedge issues, and by politicians skilled in exploiting them.

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