My Fellow Kansans From its bloody free-state beginnings to present-day, red-state conservatism, we ask: How did Kansas get here?My Fellow Kansans explores one of the most pivotal chapters in the state's history — its hard turn to the right over the past three decades. A turn driven by abortion and other culture-war wedge issues, and by politicians skilled in exploiting them.Join us every week from September through the election as we examine the forces and consequences of Kansas politics, the history behind it and the likelihood of another course-changing election in November.
My Fellow Kansans

My Fellow Kansans

From KCUR 89.3

From its bloody free-state beginnings to present-day, red-state conservatism, we ask: How did Kansas get here?My Fellow Kansans explores one of the most pivotal chapters in the state's history — its hard turn to the right over the past three decades. A turn driven by abortion and other culture-war wedge issues, and by politicians skilled in exploiting them.Join us every week from September through the election as we examine the forces and consequences of Kansas politics, the history behind it and the likelihood of another course-changing election in November.

Most Recent Episodes

S2 Bonus Episode: Free college and a town's prospects

A town loses population one decade after the next. Then a wealthy native son makes a generous offer: I'll pay the college tuition of every kid who graduates from high school here. Beyond putting college in reach for more families, the donation hopes to draw people to Neodesha, Kansas. Except ... it might just encourage people already in the region to change addresses. And the town is short on housing.

S2 Episode 6: The Wild West, Cattle And Immigrants

While population numbers decay across so much of the Great Plains in Kansas, Dodge City, Liberal and Garden City stand out as growth stories. Their cattle trade draws immigrants, and those newcomers drive change. Dodge City likes to play up its gunslingin' Wild West reputation, formed in its earliest days in the cattle business. Now giant industrial meatpacking plants define the economy of a modern cowtown.

S2 Episode 5: Even Remade, A Town Struggles

Greensburg, Kansas, already found itself in a struggle for survival before getting leveled by a tornado in 2007. Then outside help and new hope emerged with the idea of rebuilding the town as a green, environmentally sustainable place. But the town's still lost more than a third of its population since the twister. It hopes for a rebirth, but powerful forces continue to drive depopulation even after its makeover.

My Fellow Kansans Live

My Fellow Kansans is coming to Johnson County Library Nov. 13 for a live podcast event. Host Jim McLean will lead a discussion about rural issues with a panel of special guests, including state Rep. Eileen Horn. If you live in the area, we hope you'll join us. RSVP at KCUR.org/Kansans .

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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