About Sydney



Sydney's Fast Facts:

- Raised on family farm in South East Kansas
- Participated in 4-H and Chanute High School Activities
- Moved to Manhattan, Kansas in 1972 
- Married John E. Carlin in 1975
- Family of four children, now 15 grandchildren
- Entry into Political Activism - 1988
- City Commission/Mayor from 1993 to 1997
- Ran for State Representative in 1998, lost
- Back to campaigning for State Representative in 2002 won
- Has served as State Representative since 2003


Sydney Carlin was born in Wichita, Kansas. Her father John Naughton was employed at Boeing. She had two older brothers, Gary Naughton and Kenneth (Kip) Naughton. When she was about two years old the family moved to the farm her maternal Great Grandmother had purchased from the government before statehood. Her paternal grandparents had homesteaded in the Burlington, Kansas, area before statehood, as well. All were farmers. When Sydney was seven years old her family welcomed twins, John Thomas and Tamara Jeanne.  Life changed.

Sydney attended Big Creek School located about half mile from her home. Her family belonged to the Big Creek Methodist Church where she was Sunday School Secretary. Her mother was the liturgical leader and dad, John, was on the church board and the school board.  Sydney joined 4-H at the age of 8 and her projects included sewing, gardening, cooking, animals (sheep), square dancing and photography.  She enjoys most of these things today.

In High School she played saxophone and was a twirler in the band. She was the Editor of the Student Monitor newspaper and a member of Student Council. She was selected to attend a 4-H Leadership Camp at KSU and fell in love with the University, the City of Manhattan and the beautiful Flint Hills. She attended Neosho County Community College where she was also involved in cheerleading and student government.

 In 1972, after a failed marriage, she brought her two children, Blaine and Becce, to Manhattan. Her sister Tami and brother-in-law Tom Hawk encouraged her to move and helped her to find work as Office Manager of the Manhattan Country Club. Her brother Gary and his family also lived in Manhattan where he worked at the Kansas State Forestry Department.

In 1975 Sydney married John Edward Carlin, not the Governor. They became the parents of two more children, Ryan and Mike. They were active in PTO and City Recreation sports and American Legion baseball, enjoying working with the children’s teams.

In 1988, when the County wanted to build a new jail across the street from the Manhattan Catholic School Sydney was PTO president. Believing that it was irresponsible to build a 60,000 square foot jail in such close proximity to a neighborhood, school, and church, the Carlins and several other families formed the Jail CORP (Citizens Organized for Responsible Placement) of the jail. That was the beginning of her political leadership.

Sydney decided to run for the County Commission in 1992. Being a real novice, she lost in the primary. A few months later she ran for City Commission and won a four year term and a year as Mayor.  As a city commissioner she worked to develop new plans for the Law Enforcement Facility, twelve years after Jail CORP was formed she helped cut the ribbon on a new law enforcement facility in a new – more satisfactory – location. Sydney focused on making things better for people in Manhattan. She worked with the state on streets and highways in Manhattan including Allen Road, Anderson Avenue widening and Seth Childs Road expansion.  She also negotiated for the purchase of land for a competition youth baseball field at Eisenhower Middle School and the Technology Park at the airport. She worked to expand Manhattan Public Library, and the Airport, always being sure that the citizens of the community were heard and protected from harm in the processes. She worked to create a Youth Advisory Board and eventually the Boys & Girls Club.

After serving as Mayor in 1996-1997, she ran for State Representative, losing to incumbent Jeff Peterson. Two days after the election Sydney enrolled at Kansas State University and completed her Bachelors Degree in 2000.  Looking for something meaning full to do, John and Sydney purchased a 1970’s home and Sydney was the General Contractor on the major rehabilitation two year project.

She is a member of the Seven Dolors Catholic Church, The Martin Luther King Committee, Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Colonists, PEO, Konza Prairie Quilters Guild, American Association of University Women and a co-founder of the Manhattan Women 4 Kansas.

She ran for State Representative again in 2002 and was elected in the 66th District. She has offered over a dozen bills which have become law including: the False Claims Against the State Act; Restrictions on the use of Eminent Domain for Economic Development; Insurance Coverage for Autism Therapy; Opportunities to Freeze Credit Reports for Minors; Military Education/Tuition bills; and this year’s Revenge Pornography bill.

Sydney is concerned about her neighbors and her community and works to promote and protect it in the state of Kansas. She believes in: Public Education; Higher Education and MATC; Safe Communities; Jobs and Economic Growth; Private Property Rights; and Broad-based Tax Policy.