PITTSBURG, Kans. — The Kansas legislative session is scheduled to start next week, and as lawmakers prepare to make their return to Topeka, communities across the state are working to make their voices heard.
“It’s always important to hear from your people; that’s why you’re up there, to represent them,” said Senator Richard Hilderbrand, (R)-District 13.
Pittsburg State University welcomed the return of the “Legislative Send-Off” Friday afternoon.
“It’s an opportunity for the legislatures to hear directly from their constituents because we know once they get into Topeka, they’ll be extremely busy,” said Blake Benson, Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce President.
Benson kicked off the day speaking on the local priorities of southeast Kansas; all focused on furthering the community’s economic development.
“Our top three legislative priorities are continued progress on the Highway 69 expansion project, the restoration of funding for Pittsburg State University and the expansion of the Medicaid program,” said Benson. “Highway 69 is crucial not only for convenience and safety but also the economic development of our area … and the Medicaid program is important because the health care sector is such a growth sector of our economy.”
Not only is this giving local entities a chance for their voices to be heard, but it’s also giving lawmakers a chance to let their thoughts be heard as well.
“I think we still have some election integrity issues that we still have to address, things that happened with COVID that we still need to address and probably the biggest thing that is affecting everyone is redistricting this year,” said Sen. Hilderbrand.
The chamber will continue to stay in contact with legislators throughout the legislative session.
“Not only do we do the kickoff at the beginning, but we’ll also do monthly check-ins where the legislatures can tell us what they’ve been working on and get any feedback that they want,” added Benson.