Kansas is in the middle of a crisis, COVID-19 has changed how we look at everything. Schools cancelled, you can’t get a haircut, main street shutdown, sports from little league to Major League impacted. Kansas is in crisis, a crisis in confidence.
Kansas needs a leader as we deal with this crisis. Phase 1, 2, 3, 4 of the recovery is now stalled in Phase 1.5. “Flatten the Cure,” has now become “Find a Vaccine.” Direction given one week is changed the next.
We have a crisis in the Department of Labor, those forced into unemployment due to closure of businesses and layoffs cannot get their promised unemployment checks. The KDOL doors are locked, they do not answer the phones, emails go unanswered and their computer system locks you out. How do those needing help get help?
Crisis in Confidence was coined by Senator Molly Baumgardner of Louisburg, as we listened to those private citizens who drove from all corners of the state to have someone listen to them. Sec. Garcia was a no show, stating that the Governor directed her to call in due to the virus. The Board of Regents offered the KDOL the services of their idled employees and their facilities to help with this overload of unemployment cases. The offer was rejected.
This action was embarrassing and an apology was issued to those in attendance. This is not Kansas leadership. The seven brave Kansans drove to Topeka to have someone listen, thankfully the Commerce Committee heard their stories and their pleas.
Kansas and the Kansas people have always dealt with crisis, the 1930’s dust bowl, tornadoes, floods, drought, and now COVID-19. A leader would call in the specialist, analysis the situation, give clear direction, and authorize those in charge to deal with the issue. Where are the weekly meetings with business leaders to discuss reopening, where are the visits to the counties needing assistance? We now have news conferences from the safety of the 2nd floor office without anyone asking questions? Did Ike stay in the safety his office during WWII, was Patton safely behind the front lines during the Battle of the Bulge, no they were at the front lines leading their troops.
Kansas has always had people leading the way, Cessna, Beech, Stearman, the Carney brothers, the Koch brothers, Jack DeBoer, they all dealt with problems, addressed the issues and were successful.
Perhaps meetings should be held with the church leaders to discuss how to safely open up churches, meet with the barbers and hairdressers to hear their ideas how to safely serve the public. We are having weekly meetings on the virus and number of new cases, let’s call in the restaurant association and the owners to hear their suggestions how to open up their businesses. Let’s call the directors of the Little League to hear how they would safely hold practices and games, let the kids play. Open Up Kansas, Safely. Let the owners have input, hold weekly status reports on businesses. Together we need to address the Crisis in Confidence, put the KAN DO back in Kansas.
Senator Larry Alley
District 32, Winfield