Flower not seeking another term
After 12 years serving the 47th District in the Kansas House of Representatives, Rep. Joann Flower, R-Oskaloosa, has decided not to seek another term in office.
"It takes a tremendous amount of time," Flower said. "Primarily, I'd like to spend more time with my family and friends. My grandchildren are entering high school and there will be ball games and other activities to go to."
Flower, 65, was first elected to the House in 1988. She was assigned to committees like the agriculture and health and welfare committees during 90-day sessions in Topeka. Each committee studied bills and decided whether to support and pass them.During Flower's six-term tenure as Representative, she chaired the House Health and Welfare Committee for two years and the House Agriculture Committee for five.
Formerly a nurse, she said she first got her start in politics when there were problems with rural health care.
"As a nurse, I knew what it was like to get medical care in rural Kansas towns," she said.
During her fight as a lobbyist in Topeka for rural health care, Flower said she started working with Sen. Nancy Kassebaum and her interest and involvement in politics grew. After taking some political science classes from Washburn University, Flower first ran for office on the platform of what got her involved in politics in the first place improving the quality of rural health care.
Since then, she said, she's experienced personally satisfying, as well as difficult, moments in the position.
"When people have a crisis and the state government is involved, it's satisfying to help them," Flower said.
"But there have been tough decisions," she said. "Votes on the death penalty and votes on abortion are hard. These are very emotionally difficult things."
Eudora resident Tom Pyle said he's disappointed Flower is not seeking re-election, but he's appreciated the time she's spent in the district.
"She's served her time and she served it well," Pyle said. "She's good, she's honest, she's fair. While she wasn't from here (Eudora), she served us well."
Flower said she has appreciated the public's support throughout her tenure. She said that support is making the decision not to run for re-election easier.
"It's better to quit while you're still popular," she said.