New Kansas legislators share goals as new session begins

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas lawmakers will go back to work Monday, January 11, as the 2021 legislative session begins.

“I think we have some very tough issues in front of us,” said Susan Estes, representative-elect for the 87th District.

As a new member of the Kansas legislature, Estes is feeling optimistic.

“We meet the challenge by controlling ourselves, prioritizing. Having the tough conversations that we need to have about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. How much is it going to cost us and how much is it going to cost to grandchildren?” she said.

Stephanie Byers, representative-elect for the 86th District, is hoping to be a voice for education as she trades her career in the classroom for the state capitol.

“I want to make sure that as we take hard looks at this that we preserve every penny we can and protect the hard-fought and hard-won revenue that’s coming in for public education,” Byers said.

On top of the state’s COVID-19 response, Byers wants to focus on broadband access and Medicaid expansion.

“Maybe it’s highlighted because of the pandemic, that we’re seeing more and more people realizing just how fragile our medical system is and insurance systems are.”

These Kansas lawmakers say they want to work on items beyond new legislation.

“There’s a lot of animosity between people of different political persuasions. I think we’ve got to do what we can to kind of heal the divide,” said Clarke Sanders, representative-elect for the 69th District.

“Change our tone and make sure that we’re talking to each other and not each at each other,” Estes said.

This session is going to look different but representatives say it will offer a chance for Kansans to be more involved since more meetings will have streaming options.

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