KHI News Service

Children’s Cabinet appointees announced

By Dave Ranney | November 03, 2011

The Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund has four newly appointed board members. They are:

• Amanda Adkins, an executive at Cerner, a Kansas City health information company. Adkins also is chair of the Kansas Republican Party.

• Mary E. Cohen, executive director of the Barton P. & Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust in Leawood;

• Shannon Cotsoradis, chief executive of Kansas Action for Children, a Topeka-based advocacy group;

• Rep. Valdenia C. Winn, a Kansas City Democrat and history professor at Kansas City Community College.

Adkins, appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback in July, replaced Melissa Ness, a Topeka attorney and child advocate.

Cohen, also appointed by the governor, replaced Gwen Perkins, a CASA volunteer and wife of Lew Perkins, former athletics director at the University of Kansas.

Cotsoradis was appointed by Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat. She replaces Tim Cruz, former mayor of Garden City and a member of the Garden City school board. Cruz also serves on the board of the Kansas Health Institute.

Winn replaced Jose Olivas, a community developer with Mexican American Ministries in Ulysses. She was appointed by House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat.

Each of the new members were appointed for four-year terms, expiring in 2015.

Formed in 1999, the nine-member cabinet is charged with advising both the Governor’s Office and the Legislature on how best to spend monies in the Children’s Initiative Fund, a repository for the state’s master tobacco settlement receipts.

About 20 children’s programs depend on the fund for financing.

The fund is expected to collect between $55 million and $60 million this fiscal year.

The cabinet’s budget recommendations for the coming fiscal year are likely to be discussed during the group’s next meeting, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 10 at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 SW 10th. The meeting is open to the public.

State fiscal years begin on July 1.

Other members of the Children's Cabinet are:

• Jonathan Freiden, chief executive for US Toy Company, Leawood;

• William Nelson, retired chairman of asset management at George K. Baum Holding, Kansas City;

• Shari Weber, former House Majority Leader, Vassar;

• Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat;

• Sen. Terrie Huntington, a Fairway Republican.