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My Fellow Kansans

In the first season of My Fellow Kansans, we examined the forces and consequences of Kansas politics, the history behind it, and the likelihood of another course-changing election last November. This season we’re turning to rural Kansas, because it too has a storied past. But as once-thriving towns continue to shrink, does it have a future? That, fellow Kansans, depends on whom you ask. The future of rural Kansas is our topic in season two of My Fellow Kansans--a podcast from the Kansas News Service. Our conversation begins October 18.

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S2 Episode 4: Ailing Rural Health Care

The closing of a rural hospital marks a particular loss for a community — greater distances to travel for health care, fewer jobs, and the sense that a town is on the wane. This episode of the podcast looks at the forces that have led to an epidemic of shuttered small-town hospitals, and some things being tried to resuscitate rural health systems.


8 Nov 2019

Rank #1

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S2 Episode 2: Bigger Farms, Ever Smaller Towns

Many of Kansas’ small towns look weathered, worn and neglected after more than a century of exodus. The unending trend toward bigger farms, and fewer farmers, has sped that depopulation. That rise of modern farming techniques continues to pose a threat to rural cities and towns, particularly across the commodity crop-growing Great Plains.


24 Oct 2019

Rank #2

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S2 Episode 3: Rural And Shrinking, But Smartly

Rural communities continue to empty out, victim to powerful economic forces that nudge people to larger cities and suburbs. If the depopulation in some places appears all but inevitable, some social scientists suggest it need not mean doom. There are ways to shrink smarter , focusing on improving the quality of life for people who remain rather than chasing businesses that might never come.


31 Oct 2019

Rank #3

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My Fellow Kansans: The Rise — And Fall — Of Sam Brownback

Before he was governor, Sam Brownback had been state agriculture secretary, congressman, and U.S. senator. But when he captured the state’s top office in 2010 he had even bigger plans: to transform Kansas into a red-state model for the nation. That’s not the way things panned out.


8 Oct 2018

Rank #4

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S2 Episode 1: Rural Problems and Prospects

One decade after the next, since the days of the Homestead Act, remote Kansas cities and towns have seen their sons and daughters move on to bigger, more vibrant places. That's had profound impacts on rural economies, rural health care and the vibrance of communities whose past looks rosier than the future. Jim McLean examines the factors that could make a difference between towns withering away or making the best of a modern, rural reality.


18 Oct 2019

Rank #5

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Coming Soon: My Fellow Kansans Season 2

Rural Kansas has a storied past. But as once-thriving towns continue to shrink — does it have a future? That depends on who you ask. In season two of My Fellow Kansans, host Jim McLean explores rural Kansas to discover what the future holds for rural communities across the state. Our conversation begins October 18. Subscribe now.


9 Oct 2019

Rank #6

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My Fellow Kansans: Live Roundtable

Kansas voters elected a new governor, Democrat Laura Kelly, who wants to promptly expand Medicaid eligibility, resolve a long-running lawsuit with more school funding, and address a crisis in the state's foster care system. But her ability to fulfill that agenda will depend on how willing a more conservative Legislature is to work with her. Following an on-stage conversation with the governor-elect, My Fellow Kansans host Jim McLean was joined by Washburn University political scientist Bob Beatty and Kansas News Service reporters Stephen Koranda and Celia Llopis-Jepsen for a live panel discussion of the dynamics heading into the 2019 legislative session. Beatty, armed with insights from a Fox News exit poll , said voters are looking for their elected officials to chart a center path.


14 Dec 2018

Rank #7

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My Fellow Kansans: Live With The Governor-Elect

With the election of Democrat Laura Kelly as governor, it appears Kansas is trending back to the center. But voters sent a mixed message as conservatives regained control of the Legislature. To cap off this season My Fellow Kansans, the incoming governor sat down with Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service and took questions from a live audience at Washburn University in Topeka. As Kelly prepares to take over the reins of state government, she said she's found the problems to be worse than she thought. But the governor-elect, a veteran of the state senate, is confident she'll have a "moderate majority" of Democratic and Republican lawmakers working with her on solutions.


14 Dec 2018

Rank #8

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My Fellow Kansans: 'Kansas Common Sense'

Well, fellow Kansans, it’s over. Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly, running as the “fix-it” candidate on the premise that Kansas had gone off the rails, beat “full-throttle conservative” Kris Kobach in the race for governor. Her win signaled Kansans’ desire to, if not reverse the state’s turn to the right, at least turn down the political rhetoric and focus on the basics.


19 Nov 2018

Rank #9

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My Fellow Kansans: Kelly Wins — A Minisode

A race that looked to be oh-so-close turned out to be a clear victory for Democrat Laura Kelly, the new governor-elect of Kansas. On this mini episode of “My Fellow Kansans” we hear what Kelly had to say on election night and her explanation of what vaulted her to victory over Republican Secretary of State and conservative firebrand Kris Kobach.


9 Nov 2018

Rank #10