Barton Community College President Dr. Carl Heilman joined trustees Mike Johnson, Brett Middleton and Mike Minton on a two-day trip to Topeka to visit with Kansas legislators on Jan. 11 and 12.
Though much of the conversation with the nine lawmakers was focused on issues of the day and funding, the mission of their journey was simply to show appreciation by saying "thank you" in person, said Johnson, chairman of the board of trustees.
"It was primarily a ‘thank you’ visit for all the effort made by the representatives and senators in our service area on our behalf," he said. "We do this every year to make them aware of Barton’s issues, but mostly to thank them for their service."
Johnson said the trip was well-timed this year, as Gov. Sam Brownback recently announced his plan to boost funding and support for technical education at community colleges. The legislature will also soon be redistricted, which might change who represents Barton at the state level.
"It’s important to keep the lines of communication open with state legislators," Johnson added. "We tell them what we need to operate, and they keep us abreast of upcoming issues. A majority of our funding is provided via state aid, so we need to keep them in the loop about things Barton might be doing."
Among the individuals the trustees and Dr. Heilman visited were State Senators Jay Emler, Allen Schmidt and Ruth Teichman, and State Representatives Bob Bethell, Steven Johnson, Mitch Holmes, Dan Collins, Larry Powell and Bill Wolf.