Public Leadership in the Arts Award

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Senator Reitz and Jay Dick2011 State Legislator National Public Leadership in the Arts Award

Kansas State Senator Roger Reitz, R-Manhattan

The State Legislator National Public Leadership in the Arts Award is given by Americans for the Arts in partnership with NCSL to recognize a state legislator who plays an important and consistent role in the advancement of the arts and arts education within his or her state, and whose vision and leadership provide heightened visibility to the value of the arts.

The 2011 State Legislator National Public Leadership in the Arts Award was presented to Kansas State Senator Roger Reitz, R-Manhattan, in recognition of his support of his tireless efforts on behalf of the arts and his advocacy for arts funding in Kansas.  Senator Reitz led the fight to restore funding to the state's arts agency. 

Photo: Kansas State Senator Roger Reitz, R-Manhattan, left, and Jay Dick, Americans for the Arts.

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts, in conjunction with the National Conference of State Legislatures, has selected Kansas State Senator Roger Reitz as the recipient of the 2011 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership, which honors a public official who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the state level. Senator Reitz was presented with the award at the National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Summit in San Antonio, TX, on August 11, 2011.

During his tenure in office, Senator Reitz has actively supported arts and arts education programs in Kansas. Upon learning Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s proposal to effectively eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission, he initiated Kansas Senate Resolution 1819, which rejected the Governor’s Executive Reorganization Order transferring the Kansas Arts Commission to another department. Further, he personally spoke with every Kansas Senator to maximize votes in favor of Resolution 1819. During the Federal and State Affairs Committee hearing in the Senate, he testified before this committee—on which he also served—and he spoke again on the Senate floor prior to the vote.

As a result of his efforts, Senator Reitz’s resolution to retain the Kansas Arts Commission passed the Kansas Senate in a bipartisan manner on March 16, 2011. He then went on to work with the Senate Appropriations Committee to appropriate $689,000 for the Arts Commission, which the Kansas House agreed to and included in the final budget for the Governor’s signature.  Despite Senator Reitz’s remarkable work on behalf of the Kansas Arts Commission, a line item veto was issued eliminating the Arts Commission’s budget making Kansas the only state without a functioning state arts agency.