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Five questions with Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City


1. What was your first campaign experience?

I ran for the then-43rd house seat in 1999 in special election. Prior to that, I had run for committeewoman on two occasions, the first time I was 18. That was in like 1984.

2. In what ways have you made a tangible effect on your constituents’ lives during the past legislative session?

Rep. Gail McCann Beatty
Rep. Gail McCann Beatty

I think we look at [HB 253] this last time. It would have been extremely detrimental to my constituents. Sustaining that veto was huge. But on a day-to-day basis, constituents call, they call for small things that we consider trivial but for them they are big issues. Someone might have a phone line across my backyard and AT&T won’t bury it. For that person it is a big thing. Being responsive is one of the best things I can do. I also get to work a lot with seniors. When they just turn an age to qualify for Medicare. We work with the department to help them get it sorted out. It’s very beneficial to my constituents.

3. Who from the opposing party do you most respect? And your own party?

From the opposing party, um I’m going to say Lincoln Hough. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Lincoln outside of the Capitol. When we dealt with the bond issue, he helped me in getting minority women participation back in that issue. Lincoln spoke on that on the floor. That was impressive to me and he took flak for that. There are lots of folks in my party, but Jeanie Kirkton. Her leadership on budget and her Medicaid expansion leadership. She has taken a leading role in that and has been very good at it.

4. What was your dream job growing up?

I wanted to fly fighter jets. My dad was in the Air Force. He was training to be a pilot, but because of high blood pressure he wasn’t able to complete the training. Just hanging out with him and being around that world, it was a fascination. I went to air shows. Thought about the Air Force academy. My first major in college was aerospace engineering. I eventually switched to political science, but it was that for a while.

5. What do you most enjoy about the interim?

The time to interact with your constituents is great. I’ve also had chance to travel. I was at Midwest Legislative conference with Microsoft on bringing some programs into our school districts. It should be beneficial to our students. They are programs designed to open kids up to job opportunities. It doesn’t force them to go to school if they don’t require it for the work. And these are the kinds of things you don’t always have time for during session.