Lana and Bill

Bill and Lana Sutton

The sutton family portrait

(left to right) Liam, Lana Sutton, Haley Wilson, Bill and Hannah Sutton

 

Rep. Sutton’s committee assignments

Bill had a lot to say about how the state’s tax dollars are spent when lawmakers reconvened in Topeka.

I'm on Energy & Environment, General Government Budget and I'm Vice Chair of Education Budget,

“I'm really pleased with my committee assignments for this session,” he said. “The only constitutionally mandated role of the legislature is passing the budget. So, it's a real honor to be on two budget committees as a freshman. Energy and Environment is also a committee that could see a lot of interesting issues. I'm excited to get to work for Kansas and the 43rd District.”

The legislative session convenes in January and usually ends during the first of May. Bill replaced state Rep. Mike Kiegerl of Olathe, who has endorsed him for re-election. Rep. Sutton is seeking his third two-year term in the Kansas House. He lives in Gardner.

A Biography of the Candidate

I was born in Kansas City, Kansas in1967. My mother and I lived with my grandparents there while my father served in Vietnam.

Upon his return, we lived in Kansas City for a few more years before relocating to Paola, where I would spend the rest of my childhood. The town was small, but the family grew to three children and eventually an additional step-brother and sister.

Growing up in a small town was a blessing I wish everyone could experience. The sense of community was strong and everyone knew everyone. Consequently, kids couldn’t really get away with much mischief…not that we didn’t try. I think the small town experience was exemplified by the achievement of my sixth grade class in raising enough money to replace the broken clock in the County Courthouse.

To this day I smile at that glowing clock face every time I see Paola at night, and my children are probably sick of my retelling of the story. It was important, though. We identified a specific need and investigated the possible solutions. Running into nothing but funding objections from the city and county, we took it upon ourselves (with the help of our parents and the entire community) to raise the necessary funds, forcing the city to take care of the boarded-up eye-sore. I didn’t realize the lesson we had learned until long after the newness had worn off of the clock and I had moved away.

Growing up with five children in a small house brought its own share of life-skills. I learned the important lessons that all children in big families learn, eat fast, talk loud and never let anyone push you around. As with the clock, though, there are other lessons that I didn’t realize until much later. I learned how to get along with people who don’t agree with you without changing your own beliefs. I also learned that when you’re in a tight spot, a united front is the best answer.

I did well in school and took part in every extra-curricular activity I could find: Cross-country, wrestling, track, debate, forensics, theater, math relays and physics Olympics. As with most people, I was better at some than at others, but they all pushed me to develop in different ways.

Enough ancient history.

In 1995, I had the honor and pleasure of marrying my best friend and the love of my life, Lana. Guys, if you ever have the opportunity to marry a living saint who believes in you even when your faith in yourself is at low tide, I recommend it highly. Upon the birth of our second child, we realized that it was time to get back to our families and raise our children in Kansas. We moved from New Orleans to Gardner in 1998 and have been here ever since. We have three children; two have graduated from Gardner-Edgerton High School, and one who is still a student.

Our family is active in Divine Mercy Parish, and I am a past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus. I had the honor of presiding as the council was awarded the Evangelium Vitae award for Pro-Life activities and the Double Star Council award for excellence in program activities and membership growth. More than anything else, though, I met a lot of fantastic people through my participation in the Knights.

I am the founding chairman of the Gardner-Edgerton Republican Party or GERP, a rapidly growing group that is making a pretty large impact in the region. One of the things that we’ve done is to establish a study/discussion group (Founders Keep) to examine a variety of books and the writings of the Founding Fathers. So far, we’ve covered the Federalist Papers, Washington’s Farewell Address and The Road to Serfdom and have some wonderful guest speakers.  I’ve met some fantastic folks through this activity as well. I’m so pleased not to be the only “history geek” in the area! GERP's Food Drive which I was part of gathered 1600lbs of food for the area food pantries the first year, and has grown every year since then.  This year, we broke our own record by collecting over 4,000 pounds of food. This says a lot about our volunteers, but it says a lot more about our community.

I have been an Assistant Scoutmaster in Boy Scout Troop 888. I was a Boy Scout and I’ve been so pleased to be able to share those experiences with my son, Liam.  

During the time I’m not volunteering for one thing or another, or serving the people of the 43rd in Topeka, I work at Steel & Pipe Supply in New Century,