Daily Archives: July 22, 2013

Dole still bringing people together

Among the many “happy 90th birthday” wishes Monday for Bob Dole is a video prepared by the Bipartisan Policy Center, which Dole co-founded. It features a who’s who of politicians and journalists offering their appreciation to the former Senate majority leader from Kansas. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., thanks Dole for all he’s done for our country and for veterans, while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says that Dole has been and remains “a consummate public leader.” Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., thanks Dole “for being the role model to all of us.” Former Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe notes: “Once again, you have proven that you’re the only person who has the ability to bring Republicans and Democrats together.” Dole’s birthday has even prompted its own hashtag on Twitter, #Dole90.

Jenkins wants to fix problems

When U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, was a state lawmaker, she had a reputation for being pragmatic and middle-of-the-road. But after she was elected to Congress in 2008, she soon became, by her own admission, a proud member of the party of “no.” So it is encouraging that that she has joined the No Labels coalition seeking to break the partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C. “This Congress is terribly unpopular, and for good reason: Next to nothing is getting done,” Jenkins said in statement last week. She told the Topeka Capital-Journal that the solution to the dysfunction is for lawmakers to seek common ground. “In a divided Washington, neither Democrats nor Republicans can get things done unilaterally,” she said. “Either we work together to fix problems, or we achieve nothing.”

No easy exit from sexual predator program

As a task force began drafting its recommendations last week on how to improve the sexual predator treatment program at Larned State Hospital, some striking numbers emerged: Of the more than 250 patients who have entered the program in the past 18 years, only four have been released. (At least 16 have died.) The Kansas Health Institute News Service also reported that each patient costs taxpayers about $87,000 a year. It’s been 16 years since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 1994 law allowing Kansas to keep some sexual predators behind bars even after they’ve completed their prison sentences. But if, as then-Attorney General Carla Stovall once said, “our goal is treatment so these people can have a productive life,” that doesn’t seem to be working very well.