Kansas Rep. Gail Finney of Wichita dies of health problems at age 63
Longtime Wichita legislator Gail Finney died Saturday morning. She was 63 years old.
The cause of death is unknown. Finney has been facing health issues in recent years and underwent kidney replacement surgery earlier this year.
Condolences soon began pouring in from elected officials both in Wichita and statewide. A Democrat, Finney was first elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 2009. She was not seeking re-election to Congress in her fall.
Finney is considered a politician in the House Democratic Caucus, known for working on a variety of issues, including reforming the state’s foster care system and criminal justice issues, particularly the bail system.
Finney is a Wichita small business owner, a graduate of Wichita State University and a Master of Business Administration from Friends College.
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Colleagues Remember Rep. Gail Finney
In a statement, House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer (D-Wichita) said Finney was a “fighter” who continued to serve in Congress after major surgery.
“Rep. Gail Finney was a shining example of public service,” Sawyer said. “Her continued commitment to ensuring that her community is properly represented in Topeka reflects an admirable commitment to her neighbors and community.”
The Sedgwick County Democratic Party announced her death on social media, calling her “a leader for the people, by the people.”
Wichita officials hailed Finney as an advocate for the residents of the city of Wichita and its state legislature.
Wichita Legislator Brandon Johnson said, “You fought well and your impact will be felt for years to come.
In a social media post, Gov. Laura Kelly echoed that sentiment, saying, “Kansas lost a warrior today.”
Kelly said of Finney, “Nobody has fought better for her voters, her community, for justice and fairness.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers were quick to comment on a post from Community Voices Wichita sharing the news of Finney’s death.
“In Topeka, Gail was always polite and soft-spoken,” wrote Republican Wichita Rep. Brenda Lundweil. “You will miss my friends.”
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Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who has worked with Finney on criminal justice matters for many years, said, “She has always been a staunch advocate for voters and the Wichita community.”
Kansas will miss her voice,” Schmidt said.
Andrew Bahl is Senior Legislative Correspondent for Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached at his [email protected] or by phone at 443-979-6100.