2016 in editorials

Here is a look back at 2016 with excerpts from some of The Wichita Eagle’s editorials:

State of state – When Gov. Sam Brownback concluded his sixth State of the State address Tuesday night with a “timeless question” that the ancients asked of God, he neglected a timely one many Kansans would ask of their chief executive: What are you going to do about the state’s budget problems? (Jan. 19)

Hesston, Newton shootings – Hearts broke along with the news Thursday night that someone had opened fire at Excel Industries in Hesston, killing and injuring what was then an unknown number of people after related shootings in Newton. Suddenly, a part of the country accustomed to nature-made tragedies faced a terrifying man-made one. (Feb. 28)

Presidential caucuses – The 2016 Kansas caucuses demonstrated the tremendous interest in the presidential nominating contests in the state, with an unexpected 73,000 Republicans and 40,000 Democrats participating. In the end, big winners Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders each could credit Kansas with giving his candidacy a well-timed boost. But the parties shouldn’t feel too proud of themselves. Both the Republican and Democratic caucuses, at least in the Wichita area, proved to be chaotic. (March 8)

Wildfires – The wind-driven wildfires in our parched state have been scary in their scale and complexity, scorching hundreds of thousands of acres in Barber and Comanche counties alone. Smaller blazes also have charred parts of Reno and Harvey counties. Prayers and hopes are with the property owners who’ve lost homes or other structures, livestock and feed. Fellow Kansans should help as they can, including by answering the calls for hay and monetary donations. (March 27)

Bathroom bills – Trying to safeguard religious freedom or achieve some other goal by restricting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals is asking for business boycotts. Learning from such states’ experiences, Kansas lawmakers should steer clear of two recently introduced bills dictating that transgender students at public K-12 schools and colleges use the restroom corresponding to their sex as “determined by a person’s chromosomes” and “identified at birth by a person’s anatomy.” (April 1)

Cargill – Wichita could exhale upon learning that Cargill’s protein business headquarters would relocate locally, in a decision that boosts the city’s economic fortunes while strengthening the bond between the global company and Kansas. Wichita also could take pride in Cargill’s stated reasons for staying, which are as basic as the city’s people, work ethic, and sense of community and values. (May 25)

Elephants – As a mild winter bolstered attendance this year at the Sedgwick County Zoo, anticipation was off the charts. The wait officially ends with Friday’s 10 a.m. grand opening of the Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley exhibit, which gives area families not just one or two elephants to know and love but seven. (May 27)

Special session – Given recent history, hopes weren’t high for the Legislature’s special session. To their credit, lawmakers moved quickly to approve a bill that should pass constitutional muster and prevent a school shutdown on July 1. Good work. (June 26)

Primary results – The political pendulum at last swung toward the center Tuesday in Kansas, taking out a congressman, perhaps a dozen state legislators and a Sedgwick County commissioner. Kansas can hope the stunning GOP primary results lead to the restoration of order to the state’s finances. (Aug. 4)

Police outreach – To his credit, Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay is taking ownership of the role police have played in the unfair treatment of many African-Americans over the years. But even more significantly, he wants the police to step up and help fix the problem. (Aug. 21)

Garden City plot – Somali immigrants in Garden City are shaken and scared by an alleged plot to blow up an apartment complex where many of them live and worship. But an outpouring of support from the community is showing the immigrants that such hatred and violence are not the values of Garden City and Kansas. (Oct. 18)

Trump wins – Donald Trump defied the odds and the traditional political playbook to defeat a determined Hillary Clinton. His pledge to “make America great again” connected with many voters, especially those who felt ignored by the political establishment. (Nov. 10)

Revenue shortfall – The sun is not shining in Kansas – at least not on the state budget. New official forecasts lowered revenue projections for the rest of this fiscal year by a stunning $345.9 million – a 5.5 percent drop from the previous estimate. Next year is even worse: Total revenue is expected to drop another $443.7 million, or 7.4 percent. (Nov. 13)

Allison leaving – Congratulations to Wichita schools superintendent John Allison on being named superintendent of Olathe schools. Though it will be difficult to see him leave, Wichitans should wish him the best and appreciate his service to USD 259 and public education. (Dec. 21)