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  • Writer's pictureTim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

Kansas governor orders flags lowered to mark death of state Rep. Les Mason

Rep. Les Mason, R-McPherson, died Monday. Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order directing that flags on state property be lowered to half-staff in memory of Mason until the date of his interment. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

By Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order Tuesday directing flags to be immediately lowered to half-staff on state property until burial of the late Rep. Les Mason of McPherson.

Mason, a Republican and the assistant majority leader of the Kansas House, died Monday at age 69. He suffered a brain aneurysm Friday and was hospitalized in Wichita prior to passing away.

He represented District 73 for a decade in the Kansas House and had intended to seek reelection in 2024.

“Assistant Majority Leader Mason was a devoted public servant,” the governor said. “For the last decade, he represented his constituents and the McPherson community with honor. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican, said in a message to members of the Kansas House that Mason “touched many lives during his time in the House and I know he was a dear friend to many of you, myself included.”

Senate President Ty Masterson, R-Andover, said Mason was “very well liked” by colleagues in the Legislature.

Sen. Rick Wilborn, a McPherson Republican who had been friends with Mason for decades, filed Monday for the vacancy created by the representative’s untimely death. Wilborn, vice president of the Senate, had planned to retire from the Legislature. He said in an interview that he couldn’t fill Mason’s shoes, but he was compelled to run for the House “on behalf of Les.”

Former Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who is a candidate for Congress, said he was saddened by the passing of his friend and asked Kansans to keep “his family and his many friends in your prayers.”

Mason was chairman of the House social services budget committee and a member of the House’s appropriations and commerce committees. He won House campaigns in 2014 and 2016 by securing nearly 70% of the vote against Democratic Party candidates. He had no opponent in the 2018, 2020 and 2022 general election cycles.

Funeral arrangements were pending, and the governor said she would amend her order regarding lowering of flags on all state buildings, grounds and facilities when the date of interment was determined.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Kansas Reflector. The Kansas Reflector is a non-profit online news organization serving Kansas. For more information on the organization, go to its website at

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