By Dr. Ferrell Miller
Lonnie Clark, Representative for the 65th District in the Kansas Legislative Assembly, was the guest speaker at the June 8 “Celebration of Optimism” at the Hampton Inn in Junction City. Lone shared that he was the first child born at what is now Geary Community Hospital in 1944. He graduated from Junction City High School and served in the Marine Corps for five years. Lonnie’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from Emporia State University.
Lonnie served as that region’s representative in Topeka for eight years and is not seeking re-election. “I was aware of bills that would positively affect Geary County and the District when I voted. There were 146 bills voted on this session and I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot,” he told Optimist Club members.
A few bills he cited contained measures to make it easier for military spouses to obtain permits in Kansas after coming to another state and establish a free toll on the Kansas Turnpike for veterans over 65. Lonnie also said he “worked to get a veteran’s home in Geary County for retired military. This bill was filed after being pushed back by Leavenworth and Manhattan. You can’t satisfy half the people half the time.
Lonnie shared that it is “difficult to work with the divisions of the House when it comes to the differences in thinking between urban and rural communities.” Their needs and desires are different. “The goal is to work with people and not worry so much about personalities.” However, he also said he “enjoys the positive relationship with Governor Kelly, his fellow Navy veterans, and others across the state.”
When asked what he would do with more time now? Lonnie replied that he and his wife Beth “have a little farm they won’t be farming on but will enjoy fishing in the pond, relaxing and spending more time together”.
Also, Ryan Norton, the new Athletic Director of Geary County Schools, became a member and the club was nominated for the One Degree More Award at the Optimist International Convention in Las Vegas. This award is given to Clubs that have exceeded the expectations of Optimist International and have reflected the Optimist Creed in the work they do as a friend of youth and to make a difference for youth.