Kansas state Rep. Gail Finney dies at 63

Local outlets are reporting that Kansas State Rep. Gail Finney (D-Witchita) has died at the age of 63. 

The Sedgwick County Democratic Party (SCDP) announced on social media over the weekend that Finney passed away on Saturday morning.

“It is with deep sadness that SCDP shares the passing of our friend, hard-working and fierce Democrat, Representative Gail Finney,” the post reads.

What exactly led to Finney’s passing is unclear. Reports indicate that Finney, in recent years, had been dealing with health issues, and that, earlier this year, she had a kidney replacement. Finny is also said to have dealt with the autoimmune disease Lupus for many years.

Who was Finney?

Finney had been a member of the Kansas legislature for some 13 years, since 2009. She was still serving at the time of her passing, although she was not seeking reelection.

In Kansas’s state house, Finney represented District 84 of Witchita. This includes parts of northeast Wichita and College Hill.

Finney played a rather large role in the Kansas legislature, most recently being appointed to the Joint Committee on Fiduciary Financial Institutions Oversight, Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight, Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission, Insurance and Pensions and Financial Institutions and Rural Development committees.

Finney was known for her work on a wide range of issues. She was particularly passionate about criminal justice, advocating for such things as bail reform.

Bipartisan tributes

Members of both sides of the aisle have been paying tribute to Finney following the news of her passing.

Kansas House Leader Tom Sawyer (D) put out a statement saying:

Rep. Gail Finney was a shining example of a public servant . . . Rep. Finney was a real fighter, having continued to serve in her official legislative capacity even while she was recovering from a major surgery. Her love for Wichita knew no bounds. I was honored to have served alongside her. It has been such a privilege.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until the day of interment.

“Kansas lost a warrior today,” Kelly said. “No one fought harder for her constituents, for her community, for justice, and equity. Rest In Peace, Representative Finney.”

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