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Ben Paulen

Governor of Kansas, 1925-1929

Benjamin Sanford Paulen

Benjamin Sanford Paulen was born in DeWitt County, Illinois, on July 4, 1869. His family moved to Wilson County, Kansas, in 1869, and he attended the Fredonia public schools. After graduating from Fredonia High School in 1887, he spent one term at the University of Kansas before enrolling at Bryant and Stratton Business College in St. Louis, Missouri. He began his working career in his father's merchandise store, but later went into banking and worked his way through the ranks to become president of Wilson County Bank. He married Barbara Ellis in 1900.

Paulen's political career began in 1900, when he was elected to the Fredonia City Council; he served until 1904. He was elected to the Kansas State Senate in 1912, and served there from 1913 to 1924. He also served as State Oil Inspector, 1917-1921, and as Lieutenant-Governor, 1923-1925.

Paulen served as Governor of Kansas from 1925 to 1929. During his term, a state gasoline tax was enacted, a new board of regents for state universities was authorized, funding for new educational buildings was approved, an insurance code was established, cigarette sales were legalized and taxed, an accounting and budgeting system was provided for, a highway commission was improved, a new election law was enacted, and a banking board was organized. The most popular action during his administration was establishment of a kindergarten system in the state in 1927.

After leaving office, Paulen returned to the banking profession. He served as president of the Kansas Bankers Association and was a member of the executive council of the American Bankers Association. He did not abandon politics entirely, however, as he was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1932, served as chairman of the State Board of Welfare in 1939, and was a member of a committee to amend the state constitution in 1957.

Ben Paulen died in Fredonia on July 11, 1961, and is buried in Fredonia City Cemetery.

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This page was last updated on September 26, 2018.