Thank you everyone who participated in the Kansas Tourism campaign for Kansas Day. We are continuing to see great results and will continue sharing those with you over the coming weeks. Just in case you missed it, I decided that in lieu of my normal monthly column, I would share a Kansas Day OpEd piece written by Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce, David Toland. Enjoy!
Kansas Day Teaches Us to Love Our ‘Home On The Range’
By David Toland
The roots of my love for Kansas Day were planted deep many years ago in Mrs. Garrett’s second-grade class at Jefferson Elementary School in Iola. The simple act of coloring my own version of the American bison or the Kansas seal and singing Kansas-themed songs planted a curiosity — and an affection – in me toward my home state.
A fifth-grade trip to a pre-renovated Statehouse further grew my love for celebrating Kansas Day. While the bragging rights of making the climb to the top were impressive, the view from the dome was proof that the sky is the only limit for Kansans like myself.
Decades later, Kansas Day is still special to me. The years, and my experiences exploring this state, have only deepened my pride in being a Kansan. And as an observer of what influences the decisions of residents and businesses, I’ve grown to appreciate the power Kansas Day holds in forming the Kansas identity in young hearts.
As the Lieutenant Governor and the Secretary of Commerce, I regard Kansans as our most valuable state economic development tool. I love talking about the capable, hard-working and entrepreneurial spirit of our workforce. The challenge is in retaining that workforce in the state against other places competing for talent. We are developing a toolkit of strategies to address this challenge, but the power of setting aside one day a year to celebrate Kansas is one that shouldn’t be ignored.
If we appreciate the value of imparting Kansas pride to our state’s children and sharing our rich heritage and culture, there is a better chance they will stay here as adults.
That’s why we should make Kansas a big deal this Sunday, January 29. Plan a celebration in your own way with friends, family and neighbors. Share it on your social media channels. Talk about the history and importance of Kansas to our nation. Share your pride with the young people in your life. Visit a Kansas destination that you’ve always meant to explore.
That kind of action leaves an impression that lasts. I know because my parents and grandparents lived it, teaching me every day to appreciate Kansas communities and the beauty of our state. They seemed to know someone in every town we visited, a wonder to my young mind.
In my travels across our state, it’s a joy to visit Kansas communities and occasionally make a connection with someone who knew one of my family members.
The influence parents and grandparents have on their own children is powerful – and long-lasting. If we display our pride for Kansas, the next generation will feel the same.
This January 29th, we’re celebrating Kansas’ birthday by highlighting our state song, Home on the Range. Watch for Home on the Range celebrations from Kansas Tourism at TravelKS.com/KansasDay. Here you can share a special Kansas Day video on social media, post a salute to our Sunflower State, and join other Kansas artists by trying your hand at recording your very own version of Home on the Range. Kansas Day is a day of celebration, so I encourage you to make the most of it by sharing what makes your home so special.
Together, I believe, the roots we plant each Kansas Day can bear a fruitful yield now and in the next decades as we keep Kansans home on the range.
David Toland is a seventh-generation Kansan, the 52nd Lieutenant Governor of the State of Kansas, and Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce.