Kansas state lawmakers receptive to members
TOPEKA, Kansas - Three SPEEA members recently met with 20 Kansas tate lawmakers at the state capitol to
share their points of view. The meetings made a
difference for the politicians and the members.
“After visiting the capitol, I left with a greater
understanding and respect for our local representatives,” said Midwest Council Rep Ponolar
Washington. “After hearing debates on the
House floor, the one thing that stood out for me
was that the capitol is often a divided house, but I
feel most representatives are genuinely concerned
and striving to do the right thing for people.”
Washington and Matt Cannon, SPEEA member, were both attending for the first time on
behalf of SPEEA.
“I attended, expecting we might not make progress on very many issues, but lawmakers were
surprisingly receptive to us and what we had to
say,” said Cannon.
The members shared information with the
lawmakers on four labor and aerospace
• Soaring cost of higher education
(affordability and accessibility)
• Worker’s compensation reform
(for those injured on the job)
• Teachers’ rights to due process
(in case of termination)
• Fair-share fees for those who receive
union benefits without paying
“Offering tax credits for recent graduates
entering the aerospace industry was most
important to me,” said Cannon. “I’m famil-
iar with this type of program because it
would have been available to me if I found
a job in Oklahoma after graduating from
OSU (Oklahoma State University).”
On fair-share fees, the mem-
bers felt they were successful
in informing the lawmakers
on the importance of this
“Many lawmakers were unfamiliar with the concept of fair
share fees and the laws requiring
representation of non-paying
union members,” said Cannon,
“so we had the opportunity to introduce these concepts to members of
both chambers. Lawmakers mostly
supported the idea of fair share, so I
think we made progress.”
All three SPEEA members noted
the House vote on the teachers’
due-process bill as a highlight.
Although the bill didn’t pass the
Senate, the House vote felt like a
significant victory for the rights
that were taken away in 2014.
“I didn’t expect that legislation as significant as the restoration of teachers’
due process rights would be debated
on the House floor, much less pass by
such a large margin,” Cannon said.
“It was very interesting to watch this
procedure take place, especially after
talking to a number of legislators before it reached
Council Rep Mark Gayer also took part in the
meetings with lawmakers, including the House
debate on due process. He’s been on the SPEEA
legislative trips to Topeka twice before.
“I felt the overall trip was great,” Gayer said. “All
of the representatives I visited with had a very
attentive ear to our requests and most agreed
with our statements. One was hard-nosed but we
pressed on and expressed our desires, and they
(lawmakers) understood the reasons we talked
about these subjects with them.”
Washington agreed. “The overall response was
positive. I think we made the issues very real to
our local representatives. This allows them to
see our views up close and personal - making a
great impact for all.” SPEEA Midwest members Mark Gayer, left, and Matt Cannon met with
Kansas State Senate President Susan Wagle.
SPEEA Midwest member Ponolar Washington (seated) met
with Kansas State Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau.
At this time of year, food banks are seeing their eserves drop to critical lows. The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will conduct its annual nationwide food drive to help local food
banks restock their shelves.
Plan to put groceries in a bag by your mailbox on
Saturday, May 12. SPEEA is a sponsor of local NALC
food drive efforts.
parade in Wichita
SPEEA is one of the sponsors of the KAKE TV Law Enforcement Appreciation Parade April 7 in Wichita. Proceeds benefit the
Honore Adversis Foundation, which supports
families of officers injured or killed in the line
of duty. The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. at the
400 block of Main Street. A community block
party follows until 2 p.m.