Pizza and Politics: higher education and the legislative
|Nearly 130 K-State students,
faculty and staff attended the eighth annual Pizza and Politics forum
co-sponsored by the K-State Alumni Association, K-State’s Office of
Governmental Relations and the Student Government Association on Nov. 13.
(Photo: K-State Alumni
Nearly 130 K-State students, faculty and staff attended the eighth annual Pizza
and Politics forum co-sponsored by the K-State Alumni Association, K-State’s
Office of Governmental Relations and the Student Government Association. The
event took place Nov. 13 at the K-State Alumni Center.
Pizza and Politics
offers the K-State community an opportunity to learn more about the legislative
process and its impact on education. It also creates an awareness of the
advocacy efforts underway for higher education and how interested parties can
Following a social hour with pizza, the audience heard from
a panel of political speakers including Raney Gilliland, director of the Kansas
Legislative Research Department; Dan Murray, interim director of government
relations for the Kansas Board of Regents; and state Sen. Michael O’Donnell, who
represents District 25 in the Wichita area.
Key messages coming out of
the forum included highlights on what to anticipate for higher education in the
2015 legislative session. All three panelists agreed the state’s revenue
shortfall will make the budget a major issue to address in the legislative
They noted that most legislators want to support
higher education but that they will have to make difficult and deliberate
decisions to protect mandatory programs, such as Medicaid. Those budget
decisions will likely impact higher education and other areas outside of the
critical needs areas for the state.
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The panelists also offered several
tips and points to consider when advocating for higher education:
is an agriculture state and legislators are driven by economics and creating
jobs and wealth for the state.
• Legislators want to provide quality
education for Kansas residents.
• As an advocate, know what you are talking
about – know the facts about the issues you are advocating.
• Know who you
are talking with and their current preferences or positions on issues.
valid messages that are informative. Knowledge is power.
It also was
noted that this is one of the youngest legislative classes in the history of
Kansas, and that presents a real opportunity for students and younger advocates
to reach out to legislators.
View more photos from this event here