Governor Kelly Hosts Healthy Workers,
Healthy Economy Tour Roundtable in Garden City

GARDEN CITY — Today, Governor Laura Kelly traveled to Garden City to hold a roundtable with community leaders and local elected officials about her top priority this upcoming legislative session, Medicaid expansion. This is the second stop on the Governor’s “Healthy Workers, Healthy Economy” statewide tour, which launched in Winfield last week. 

“Since we’ve had the option of expanding Medicaid, seven rural hospitals have closed, and more are at risk of shutting their doors due to financial constraints and worker shortages,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “When rural hospitals close, it’s devastating to the surrounding area, hurting local grocery stores, restaurants, and retailers, and plummeting tax support for public services like schools and parks. That’s why I joined Garden City leaders today – we must work with the legislature to expand Medicaid and preserve our rural hospitals.”   

Governor Kelly has long been a supporter of Medicaid expansion. Throughout the fall, Governor Kelly is traveling across the state to share how expanding access to health insurance will reduce costs for every Kansan, preserve and strengthen rural health care, and make Kansas more economically competitive. 

Economic and health care leaders, as well as local Garden City officials, joined the roundtable, which was focused on how Medicaid expansion would help rural communities by expanding the workforce, supporting local hospitals, and improving access to mental health services. Republican State Senator John Doll also participated. 

“Expanding Medicaid would benefit Kansas’ rural communities by addressing workforce shortages, keeping hospital doors open, and growing our economy,” Senator John Doll, Kansas Senate District 39, said. “I commend Governor Kelly’s work to get this done, and I’m hopeful the legislature will pass Medicaid expansion this upcoming session.”  

Also participating in the roundtable discussion was Sister Janice Thome, who serves with the Dominican Sisters Ministry of Presence. The ministry works with low-income individuals. 

“I serve persons who are struggling financially for many different reasons. Many of them are working yet do not make enough to cover their bills,” Sister Janice Thome, Dominican Sisters Ministry of Presence, said. “An example is a lady who makes $.50 too much per hour to qualify for Medicaid for her child. Persons who find out they are pregnant or in need of surgery have told me they are moving out of state because they are in the gap and won’t be able to finance this new situation. The working poor deserve health care, and we here in rural Kansas will always need more workers.”  

Besides Senator Doll and Sister Thome, other participants included: 

  • Matt Allen, City Manager, City of Garden City 
  • Roy Cessna, Commissioner, City of Garden City 
  • Twilla Lee, CEO, St. Catherine Garden City, St. Catherine Dodge City, and Bob Wilson Hospitals 
  • Lona DuVall, President, Finney County Economic Development Corporation 
  • Joe Coles, Speaker, Consultant, and Teacher 
  • Larry Jones, Commissioner, Finney County Board of County Commissioners for District 5 
  • Giovannie Gone, Executive Director, Immunize Kansas Coalition 

Photos from today’s event for media use can be found below.