New governor, familiar issues await legislature

Well, it?s off to Topeka for the beginning of the 2011 legislative session.

As I write this column on Saturday, Jan. 8, I find myself in Topeka thinking of the upcoming events: tonight?s banquet and dance celebrating the beginning of Sam Brownback?s first term as governor; Monday morning, we can witness his inauguration.

At 2 p.m., I will be sworn in along with the other representatives to serve in the House of Representatives for the 2011-12 term. We are all called on to swear or affirm to uphold the constitutions of the United States and the state of Kansas. This is something we should all take very seriously. The oath is not a matter of convenience, nor is it a pledge to uphold the constitution as we wish it would be. We are all called to uphold it, and with all my ability, I will.

On Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., Gov. Brownback will deliver his State of the State Address to all state officials. It will be telecast live on KPTS (Channel 8 in Wichita/Hutchinson), so you can tune in at home.

We all wait with anticipation to hear some of the nuts and bolts of the governor?s plan for Kansas?his thoughts on repairing an economy that, while better, is not yet recovered, and his plans to meet the predicted shortfall for the 2011-12 budget year. I expect this to be a very difficult session for us all.

Nonetheless, during the past few weeks, Brownback has encouraged us all to be hopeful for Kansas, to pull together and to volunteer in various ways, helping each other and, in particular, those who need us most in these tough times.

Let us take the governor?s cue and not focus solely on the tough times. Perhaps we ought to keep the Kansas motto in the front of our minds: ?To the stars through difficulty? (Ad Astra per Aspera).

I will serve again on the Judiciary and the Corrections/ Juvenile Justice committees. Last term I also served on the Education Committee. I not only enjoyed being on that committee, I learned more about education than I thought possible in two years.

While I had hoped to continue on the Education Committee, I have been moved to the Agricul?ture and Natural Resources Committee. If I had to be moved, this is a good switch. We are predominately an agricultural community and economy in the 70th District, and I look forward to working for you through that committee.

Let me know of your issues, particularly as they relate to agriculture, as we start the 2011 session. As for my part, I will do my best to keep you abreast of what?s new on the education front even though I?m not on the committee.

You may contact me at: Brookens70@sbcglobal.net or write me at either 201 Meadow Lane, Marion, KS 66861 or at Kansas State Capitol Building, 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612; or call me at 620-382-2133. My phone number during the session (through about May 15) is 785-296-7636. My office will now be Room 54-A in the Capitol, so if you?re going to be in Topeka, let me know.

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