OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Kansas Democrat state Rep. Gail Finney has passed away.
Finney, who represented District 84 of Wichita in the Kansas Statehouse for 13 years, had recently undergone a kidney transplant in her fight against lupus. Her body rejected the new kidney, KWCH reported.
“When she built her home, she could have built it anywhere that she wanted to,” Jerrold Finney, her husband, said. “But she built it in 67214 because of her love for the people in this area.”
“If you had any kind of a relationship with her, you felt that she was only focused on you,” her husband added. “All of the other things that she needed to accomplish didn’t matter. Whatever your issue was, was the only thing that mattered.”
Gail Finney, the longtime Kansas state representative of Wichita’s District 84, is posthumously given Key to the City of Wichita. https://t.co/caFE9rGVtr
— The Wichita Beacon (@wichitabeacon) September 10, 2022
Democratic House Leader Tom Sawyer said in a statement, “Rep. Gail Finney was a shining example of a public servant. Her ongoing work to ensure her community’s proper representation in Topeka reflected an admirable commitment to her neighbors and community. Rep. Finney was a real fighter, having continued to serve in her official legislative capacity even while she was recovering from a major surgery. Her love for Wichita knew no bounds. I was honored to have served alongside her. It has been such a privilege.”
The Sedgwick County Democratic Party called her a “hard-working and fierce Democrat,” adding that she, “worked hard every day for her community. Our hearts cry out as we remember her life and legacy.”
Republican Rep. Stephen Owens wrote on Facebook, “She was an absolute sweetheart, full of kindness and compassion. I will miss her beautiful smile in Topeka. Till we meet again my friend!”
Democratic Kansas State Treasurer Lynn Rogers said in a statement: “Gail’s work in the Legislature made life better for Kansans. She was a fierce advocate and her kindness and love for others will not be forgotten.”
Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacey Cruse wrote, “This is a devastating loss for our community. She will forever be remembered for the sacrifice and service she gave to this State and the friendship she shared freely.”
Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple noted, “Rep. Finney was champion of good policy, a fierce fighter on behalf of our community, and a role model for folks like myself who had the honor.”
A few other elected officials and prominent figures have passed away recently.
Page Pate, a prominent defense attorney and longtime CNN legal contributor, died at 55 over the weekend after he was tragically swept out to sea by a rip current off the coast of St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Former Arizona Republican state lawmaker Joe Hart passed away on Sunday. Hart was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives from 1992 to 2001 and served as speaker pro team. His cause of death has not yet been revealed to the public.
Former Alaska Republican lawmaker Vic Kohring died in a vehicle crash last week. He was driving a minivan that collided head-on with a semi-truck. Kohring served in the state House from 1995 until he resigned in 2007. He was chair of a special oil and gas committee.
In early August, Indiana Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski was killed in a head-on car crash.
“Just seeing the awful news about Rep. Jackie Walorski. Heartbreaking. I’ll be praying for her family after this awful and shocking tragedy. May God surround and comfort them all,” Rep. Lauren Boebert said.
“I am stunned to hear about the death of my friend and colleague, Jackie Walorski. Our offices neighbor each other in DC, and I was honored to call her my friend. Please join Brenda and me in praying for Jackie’s family and for the families of the others who lost their lives,” Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said.