The latest on the swearing in of Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (all times local):.
Democrat Laura Kelly has been sworn in as the new governor in Republican-leaning Kansas.
Kelly took the oath of office Monday on the south steps of the Statehouse in front of banners that declared, “Equality,” ”Education” and “Opportunity.”
She was a veteran state senator from Topeka who pitched herself to voters as a no-nonsense problem-solver who could work with Republicans. The GOP has supermajorities in the Legislature.
Her victory last year drew national attention partly because she defeated Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. He’s a staunch conservative who touted an endorsement from President Donald Trump.
Kelly is the state’s 48th governor.
Her swearing-in followed those of Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary of State Scott Schwab, Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt and State Treasurer Jake LaTurner.
By JOHN HANNA
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ new Democratic governor is expected to take office promising a bipartisan administration even as she and her supporters celebrate a sharp break with her conservative Republican predecessors.
Gov.-elect Laura Kelly was scheduled to be sworn in as the state’s 48th governor Monday, with her inaugural address likely to stress the broad themes that underpinned her successful campaign last year. A veteran state senator from Topeka, Kelly pitched herself to voters as a no-nonsense problem-solver who could work with Republicans, who control the Legislature.
— KS Lt. Gov. elect Lynn Rogers (@LynnRogers4KS) January 10, 2019
“I’m hoping to hear that we’re going to have change, that we’re hopeful for the future, to get Kansas back on track,” said Kansas House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, a Wichita Democrat. “Her tone so far has been bipartisanship, and I think she’ll continue that.”
Kelly’s victory drew national attention because Kansas is a Republican-leaning state and her opponent, departing Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, touted his history of advising President Donald Trump. Kobach won a narrow victory over Gov. Jeff Colyer in the GOP primary after Trump endorsed Kobach.
But Kelly made the race more about whether Kobach’s fiscal policies would align with those of former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who pushed legislators to slash state income taxes as an economic stimulus. Most voters deemed Brownback’s experiment a failure because of the budget woes that followed, and legislators reversed most of the cuts in 2017.
The new governor has little choice but to work with Republicans, given their large majorities in the Legislature, which was set to open its annual session Monday afternoon. Even as voters were electing Kelly, in more local Statehouse races, GOP conservatives gained seats.
Top Republicans have said they will hold Kelly to a campaign promise not to increase taxes to pay for additional state spending. They will learn more about Kelly’s budget proposals later in the week, after she gives the annual State of the State address Wednesday evening.
“Any areas that we have common agreement or we can compromise and work on, we’ll do it,” said Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, a Kansas City-area Republican.