Local lawmakers discuss impact of Laura Kelly's ascension to governor Featured

Laura Kelly speaks to the Lyon County Democrats monthly meeting in July, a few weeks before she received the party's nomination to be governor. Kelly was elected to the post Tuesday. Laura Kelly speaks to the Lyon County Democrats monthly meeting in July, a few weeks before she received the party's nomination to be governor. Kelly was elected to the post Tuesday. KVOE News file photo

At least one current Republican lawmaker is calling Democrat Laura Kelly's ascension to governor "historic."


Senate Vice President and 17th District State Senator Jeff Longbine of Emporia provided context to that statement during an interview Wednesday with KVOE News. He said everything started with voter turnout, which resembled a presidential election instead of a midterm election. He also says voters saw the midterms as a chance for change, based on the recent tenure of Sam Brownback, and they took full advantage of that.

Meanwhile, 60th District Representative Mark Schreiber of Emporia says Kelly will face an interesting landscape after Republicans swept the position offices up for grabs, including Attorney General, Secretary of State, Insurance Commissioner and Treasurer. He also says the House skewed more conservatively after Tuesday night.

Kelly defeated the better-known Kris Kobach, the Republican Secretary of State, and three other challengers for the post including independent Greg Orman. Kelly got 48 percent of the vote, with Kobach claiming 42 percent and Orman seven percent.

A large part of Kelly's success was borne out in the number of prominent Republicans, including several past governors and former lieutenant governor Gary Sherrer, an Emporia State alum, that supported her campaign. Longbine says Republicans need to reassess their governance approach.

Schreiber says the party split has been in place for some time. Having said that, Schreiber added Kelly has a lot of work ahead as policy discussions get started.

 

Burlington resident Eric Smith, a Republican representing the House 76th District, says any tax increase would halt current and possibly future economic growth. He also says expanding Medicaid, a key plank in Kelly's campaign, creates spending problems that the state doesn't have the extra money to handle.

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