Snack bar vendor in Kansas Capitol building closing, can’t compete with free food from lobbyists

Don Wistuba has served concessions in the Kansas Statehouse since 1976. On August 31, he’ll be closing his business for good. The reason? 

His customer base — Kansas lawmakers — get too much free food from lobbyists. From the Lawrence Journal-World:

“It takes customers to keep this thing going,” he [Wistuba] said. “When 90 percent of the people get in the free food line and get free food, that affects my sales.”

…Gov. Sam Brownback, who has become close friends with Wistuba since taking office in 2011, said he was disappointed to hear the news, and he acknowledged that the amount of free food being given out to legislators has increased in recent years.

Wistuba said another challenge was that, since various state agencies have moved out of the Capitol, there isn’t as much foot traffic year-round anymore.

Though Kansas’ lobbying laws are nowhere near as toothless as Missouri’s, certain lawmakers and lobbyists in Topeka enjoy special privileges

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