Throughout his years of public service, Anthony Hensley has been identified with improving the quality of education, access to affordable health care, tax fairness, safety in the workplace, job training and fair wages. In addition, he has worked for better community-based services for disabled, mentally ill and aging Kansans.
Hensley was first elected to the Kansas Legislature in 1976 at the age of 23. He served 16 years in the Kansas House of Representatives before being appointed to the Kansas Senate on July 1, 1992. He is a lifelong resident of the 19th Senate District, comprised of eastern Topeka and Shawnee County, western Douglas and Jefferson counties, and all of Osage County.
In 1997, Hensley was elected Senate Democratic Leader and is now in his fifth term in that office. 2016 marks Hensley’s 40th session, making him the longest serving member of the Legislature in Kansas history.
Hensley is a 1975 graduate of Washburn University and holds a master’s degree in Special Education from Kansas State University. Outside of his legislative duties, he has been a public school teacher for 40 years, and is currently a U.S. Government teacher at his high school alma mater, Highland Park High School in Topeka
He and his wife Deborah live in the house Hensley grew up in. Their daughter, Katie, who is married to Jason Bivens, is a 3rd grade teacher in the Topeka school district. The Hensleys are grandparents to Katie and Jason’s two daughters, Brighton and Lily.