Jennings uniquely prepared to be an effective legislator.
Residents of the realigned Kansas House 122nd District will have a new representative.
When those voters go to the polls Aug. 7 for the Republican primary, they'll be asked to choose between Lakin residents Russ Jennings and Randy Hayzlett to serve the district covering Kearny, Hamilton and Greeley counties, much of rural Finney County and a small part of west Garden City.
Voters should know Jennings would bring a wealth of relevant and needed experience to the Kansas Statehouse. He's had an impressive 36-year run of public service to include work in law enforcement, as a magistrate and Lakin City Council member, plus successful stints as director of the Southwest Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Center and commissioner of the state's Juvenile Justice Authority.
Such far-reaching experience has given Jennings the opportunity to understand issues that affect Kansans of all ages — a tremendous plus for anyone interested in serving as a state lawmaker.
Jennings would be a strong advocate for education and its potential to power economic growth and prosperity. He sees new opportunities in technical education as a way to make sure more students finish school ready to work.
Jennings also counts himself among the many Kansans fed up with bitter partisanship that's pitted ultraconservatives in Gov. Sam Brownback's camp against more moderate Republican legislators — conflict clearly evident in a failed attempt at redistricting, as well as a move that saw House leaders double-cross Senate leadership to push through a massive tax-cut plan that could plunge the state deep into debt, and in turn drive up property taxes.
The two fiascoes were prime examples of the far-right GOP faction's unwillingness to work with others.
Kansas needs lawmakers who would be open to ideas, discussion and debate essential in crafting thoughtful, responsible legislation. Jennings, who has worked with policymakers from both parties, would be a positive contributor in that regard.
Without a Democrat in the race, voters in the 122nd District will select their representative on Aug. 7. They couldn't ask for a more professional and prepared candidate to become their next state lawmaker than Jennings, the clear choice for voters.