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Legislator named first CEO of Kansas Leadership Center

By | December 01, 2006

KHI News Service

WICHITA, Dec. 1 State Rep. Ed O"Malley will resign from the Kansas House of Representatives to become the first president and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center, a nonprofit entity set to open next year.

O"Malley, a Roeland Park Republican, will begin the new job Jan. 2, according to Marni Vliet, president and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation, which will fund the Center.

"The Kansas Leadership Center will be an important and valuable asset to the future of our state," Vliet said. "Ed is the ideal leader for the Center. As a native Kansan, he has a deep commitment and passion for ensuring that our communities and our people reach their full potential."

The Kansas Leadership Center, based in Wichita, will offer training in strategic planning, community organizing and advocacy. It also will convene meetings of leaders from across the state to discuss major health issues. The center"s aim is to develop Kansas leaders capable of transforming their communities, institutions and organizations.

O"Malley, 31, is not expected to resign the House before leadership races are held Monday.

"The issue of leadership will be a major factor in creating and maintaining vibrant communities throughout Kansas," O"Malley said. "I"m thrilled to accept the challenge of leading the Center and continuing my dedication and service to the people of Kansas."

First appointed to represent Kansas House District 24 in Johnson County in 2003, O"Malley won re-election in 2004 and 2006. He has served on committees for economic development, financial institutions, taxation and transportation.

He is a graduate and former board member of Leadership Kansas, and a graduate and former board member of Leadership Northeast Johnson County. He graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor"s degree in history.

The Kansas Health Foundation has committed $30 million over 10 years to the Kansas Leadership Center. The Center will serve as an independent, 501(c)3 organization.

The Kansas Health Foundation has long been involved in leadership issues and training. Since 1988, the foundation has held statewide listening tours to learn what Kansans think are the most important health issues in their community. In small towns and large cities, people have consistently said they need more leaders to help identify problems and energize their communities to develop and implement solutions.

"While we can"t imagine what issues Kansans may be facing in 20, 30, or even 50 years, we can prepare individuals across this state to handle whatever challenges or opportunities may arise in the decades to come," Vliet said. "With the training that will be offered at the Center, we hope to see a major shift in the number of people willing to step into leadership roles."

The Kansas Health Foundation is a private philanthropy dedicated to improving the health of all Kansans. Based in Wichita, the Foundation allocates approximately $23 million annually in four major funding categories: Children"s Health, Leadership, Public Health and Policy. For more information about the Kansas Health Foundation, visit .

Editors note: The Kansas Health Institute, which operates the KHI News Service, was established in 1995 by the Kansas Health Foundation to be an information resource for state policymakers. KHI continues to be sustained by a core operating grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, but also obtains significant project-specific funding from other foundations, as well as state and federal agencies.