Rick Billinger

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Rick Billinger
Member of the Kansas Senate
from the 40th district
Assumed office
January 9, 2017
Preceded byRalph Ostmeyer
Member of the Kansas House of Representatives
from the 120th district
In office
January 12, 2015 – January 9, 2017
Preceded byWard Cassidy
Succeeded byAdam Smith
Member of the Kansas House of Representatives
from the 121st district
In office
January 10, 2011 – January 14, 2013
Preceded byJohn Faber
Succeeded byWard Cassidy
Personal details
Born (1951-12-16) December 16, 1951 (age 69)
Quinter, Kansas
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Rita
ResidenceGoodland, Kansas
Professionfarmer

Rick Billinger (born December 16, 1951 in Quinter, in Gove County) is a Republican member of the Kansas Senate, began representing the 40th district in 2017. He previously represented the 121st district of the Kansas House of Representatives, was redistricted and ran for the 120th in 2012 and lost his primary to Ward Cassidy, then won the 120th in 2014.[1][2][3] The senate district covers the entirety of Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Gove, Graham, Logan, Norton, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas, Trego, and Wallace Counties and also part of Phillips County.[4]

Billinger succeeded Ralph Ostmeyer in the Kansas Senate in 2017.[5] In the 2020 general election, Billinger was listed as a U.S. Senate candidate, in his race against Democrat Larry Dreiling of Hays, instead of the 40th State Senate District. According to the office of Republican Secretary of State Scott Schwab, in-person absentee voting in the 2020 election was scheduled to resume after being shut down for three days, until October 21, because of the ballot error.[6]

In Billinger's district, the COVID-19 case count rose at the Norton Correctional Facility, to infect 38 staff members and 373 inmates, forcing the transfer of over 415 inmates out of the county as of October 28, 2020.

Norton County, which has 5,600 residents, was initially spared from the pandemic and lacked a mask mandate. By late October 2020, over 10% of its residents had become infected. Despite Democratic Governor Laura Kelly highlighting the problems in Norton, while calling for a more stringent statewide mask mandate, there was continued Republican legislative resistance, including from Billinger, a Goodland resident, whose district includes most of northwest Kansas. A nursing home in rural Ellis County, which was suffering a higher infection rate than any other county in Kansas, had its management replaced because all its 61 residents tested positive for coronavirus, including among them about ten fatalities, causing the home to be removed from the Medicare program. About 36 staff members, many of whom were found to not be wearing masks by federal inspectors, had also tested positive for the virus. Billinger said, "I support now, as I always have, local government (sic) having autonomy over the decisions of their communities." "Local decisions are best made closest to the people. I also support these local leaders having the best access to accurate information and any resources they might need to make the best decisions and protect their communities."[7]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Candidate 2014 General Election Official Vote Totals, Kansas Secretary of State, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  2. ^ [1], KanFocus. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  3. ^ "Representative Rick Billinger". Kansas Legislature. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Senate District 40" (PDF). Kansas State Legislature. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  5. ^ "Kansas 40th District State Senate Results: Rick Billinger Wins".
  6. ^ Voting in western Kansas county delayed by ballot misprint, Associated Press, Margaret Stafford, October 21, 2020. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  7. ^ Troubled Kansas Nursing Home Removed From Medicare Program, U.S. News and World Report, Heather Hollingsworth (AP), October 29, 2020. Retrieved October 31, 2020.