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  • Meagan Dorsch
    Director of Public Affairs
  • Jon Kuhl
    Public Affairs Specialist
    Washington, DC
August 11, 2011

Kansas State Senator Roger Reitz Honored with 2011 Public Leadership in the Arts Award

Presented by the National Conference of State Legislatures and Americans for the Arts

SAN ANTONIO — The National Conference of State Legislatures and Americans for the Arts announced Kansas State Senator Roger Reitz the recipient of the 2011 Public Leadership in the Arts Award. This award  honors a public official who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the state level. Senator Reitz will receive his award today at  the National Conference of State Legislatures’ annual Legislative Summit in San Antonio, Texas.

“It is an honor to receive the Public Leadership in the Arts Award at this annual meeting of NCSL,” said Reitz. “The award draws attention to the value of consistent public funding for artistic education and potential exemplary performance to all parts of our great country.”

During his tenure in office, Senator Reitz has supported and defended the arts and championed arts education programs throughout Kansas. When Governor Sam Brownback proposed  transferring the Kansas Arts Commission to another department, effectively eliminating it, Reitz sponsored Senate Resolution 1819 to reject the governor’s Executive Reorganization Order. The resolution passed the Kansas Senate with bipartisan support on March 16, 2011. 

Reitz then went on to work with the Senate Appropriations Committee to allocate $689,000 for the Arts Commission, which was included in the final state budget passed by the Legislature. The governor, however, used his line-item veto power to eliminate the Arts Commission’s budget before signing  the budget into law, making Kansas the only state without a functioning state arts agency.

“Senator Reitz has demonstrated remarkable courage and tenacity in his efforts to save funding for the Kansas Arts Commission," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "His advocacy for the arts in Kansas not only demonstrates his commitment to public funding for the arts but also to the people of Kansas who—had funding for the Arts Commission been saved—would have continued to benefit from the arts and the financial benefits they provide for all of the state’s communities. His actions have also served as a rallying cry for other arts advocates across the county.”

The first Public Leadership in the Arts Award was presented as part of NCSL’s 2006 Fall Forum in San Antonio, Texas. The award has since been given out annually at the NCSL Legislative Summit.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts.