Lynn Rogers has always had an interest in politics.
As a junior in high school, he attended the Arlington Public Schools Board of Education meetings.
“There was another classmate and we would just attend,” Rogers said in a phone interview with the Arlington Citizen. “We were the only students who attended. Hardly anyone else would. We just wanted to make sure kids — if they had questions — they could ask what kids thought.”
Following graduation from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1980, Rogers worked for a year for Nebraska state Sen. George Fenger of Bellevue.
For the last 16 years, Rogers has served on the Wichita Board of Education in Kansas — following the footsteps of his father, Loran Rogers, and grandfather, Leslie French, both of whom served on the Arlington school board. French also served on the Washington County Board of Supervisors.
“I always like to say I was a third-generation school board member,” Rogers said.
In January, Rogers will embark on a new political adventure as a state senator in the Kansas Legislature in Topeka.
Rogers, a 1976 AHS graduate, was elected Nov. 8 to represent District 25 in the Kansas Senate.
“I know that going there I’ve got a lot to learn,” Rogers said. “Going from a board of seven that meets three or four times a month to a legislative session, where you are one of 40 and you’re meeting every day for 90 days, it will be a whole different experience.”
Rogers, who retired from his job as an agricultural banker with Farm Credit Leasing last January, was prompted to run for the position after he was encouraged by neighbors.
“The last two years, the Legislature had not passed a budget that was balanced. They were not funding schools like they should,” Rogers said. “I was really frustrated with the Legislature and probably said too much on Facebook.”
But Rogers, who has lived in Wichita with his wife, Kris, since 1985, had the support and hit the campaign trail.
“It was quite a learning experience,” he said. “I walked and knocked on thousands of doors. We counted almost 5,000 doors.”
Rogers, a Democrat, said there are two main issues he’s hoping to address as a senator: funding for education and taxes.
“We have to go and write a new school funding formula. We had one that was very good, but it was never really funded,” Rogers said.
A few years ago, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback began an experiment of eliminating the income tax, which has caused budget shortfalls.
“The taxes really got moved from businesses to individuals. My constituents really want a fair tax system where everybody pays their fair share,” Rogers said.
From my home town newspaper, The Washington County Pilot-Tribune & Enterprise, November 25, 2016.