Editorial: Anthony Hensley served Kansas well for 40 years

The Editorial Advisory Board
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley

The most recent election brought Sen. Anthony Hensley’s tenure in the Kansas Statehouse to an end.

Hensley was the state’s longest-serving legislator and the Kansas Senate’s minority leader.

Rick Kloos, founder of nonprofit God's Storehouse, defeated Hensley in District 19 by 15,676 votes to 14,827 votes.

The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Titus Wu reported Kloos campaigned heavily on needing fresh blood and new change in the Statehouse.

Hensley had served in the Senate since 1993 and was a member of the House of Representatives since 1976 first elected at age 23.

The loss is a huge upset for the Kansas Democratic Party and likely very much for Hensley as well. Nevertheless, the voters have spoken.

We’d like to say thank you to Sen. Hensley for his service to our state. Kansas has benefited from your experience and input. Your more than 40 years in the Statehouse have certainly seen a tremendous amount of change and progress.

We’re sure it wasn't always easy and we know sacrifices were likely made along the way that we’ll never know about.

We know we can't mention everything you’ve done for Kansas in a single editorial, but you deserve some recognition regardless.

An educator by profession, Hensley made a career trying to support and properly fund Kansas’ schools.

For many years Hensley stood up as a dissenting voice against Sam Brownback’s tax experiment and helped repeal it as the result of a bipartisan effort in 2017.

He also was a champion of expanding Medicaid, though it has yet to happen in Kansas.

It couldn't have been easy being a Democrat in a Republican stronghold like Kansas. Having to voice your opinion knowing people would likely outvote you or ignore your input. But you continued on to do the work for your constituents. Thank you for speaking your mind.

Experience like that can't be faked. It’ll be a while before another Anthony Hensley comes along and has electoral longevity, too.

If Democrats need tips in the Capitol, it's a good thing you're not very far away. We’re sure you’ll offer some advice.

We wish you well. Kansas is a better place because of the work you put in under the dome.