Pat Ross and Kent Winter: I’ts Important to Know State Legislators

(Pat Ross) It’s always a pleasure to be here at the breakfast for the legislators here in Topeka. I understand it’s the 22nd year and this is the year that the Kansas corn producers are in charge of the pancake feed. It’s always a pleasure to sit down and meet with some of these legislators and see what their problems are and tell them what we think some of our problems are out on the farm. (Kent Winter) I think it’s very important that those in production agriculture find a way to stay connected with our state legislators. We’ve got a story to tell and if we don’t tell it correctly the first time, why, somebody might not get a ride. I think it’s very important to make use of these opportunities to get acquainted with state legislators from around the state and find a way to maintain those connections. (Pat) Well, the tax deal is probably the number one concern that’s facing the legislators and also affects we on the farm too. We’ve appreciated in some respects probably not paying as much income tax, maybe even no state income tax, but we also realize that we’ve got to make that add up somewhere and it’s probably going to affect us on property taxes or perhaps on some tax exemptions that we’ve benefited from on equipment purchases over the years. That’s probably the number one issue affecting us here in the state this year. (Kent) So much of our state legislature comes from areas out of urban centers, urban counties. I know Sedgwick County, my home county, has 33 state representatives and state senators involved up here in Topeka. I think Johnson County might have a similar number, you add in another County such as Shawnee and you’re talking very close to half the state legislators being represented by three counties. We are excited to have this opportunity today to get acquainted with these folks and share our views on some issues. And you know, a lot of things we’re not that far apart. We share a lot of things in common. We all eat. We all have to eat and the agricultural producers in this state are raising the food. We want to stay connected with these folks and maintain these relationships because down the road there might come an issue where we have to go into their offices and state our case and make a claim for how we would like them to vote on a particular issue. (Pat) We do have a lobbyist that represents us here at the state house and give us weekly updates on what’s taking place. We also have people from our staff that are monitoring here at the statehouse on a daily basis. There’s so many new legislators here in Topeka this year that it’s been maybe a little slower process going on because there’s–it’s a learning process for those new legislators and we just hope that there is some good legislation that ends up coming out of there.

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