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Gov. Laura Kelly

What is the most important issue facing Kansas, and how do you propose to address it?

Our economic development success over the past 3.5 years has highlighted the drastic need for more moderate income housing, for more childcare options for families, and for internet connectivity and affordability all across the state. We completed a statewide housing assessment (first one in 30 years), worked with the legislature to create incentives for developers to build, redesigned some incentives to allow more flexibility in growing the housing stock, and significantly increased the budget of the Kansas Housing Resources Council to spur more housing projects.

What is your position on the expansion of Medicaid in Kansas?

The fact that Kansas has not expanded Medicaid is beyond understanding. We have left nearly $6 billion on the table, forfeited 20,000 jobs, forced the closure of rural hospitals, strained the budgets of our large urban hospitals as they provide uncompensated care, and lost much-needed health care providers to neighboring states. Each year as Governor, I have presented Medicaid Expansion proposals (all uniquely tailored to respond to stated legislative concerns). As long as I am Governor, I will continue to fight for Medicaid Expansion to provide access to healthcare for 150,000 Kansans and a healthier workforce for our businesses.

How do you think the selection of Kansas Supreme Judges should be handled?

Kansas Supreme Court Justices are appointed through a merit-based nomination process. When there is a vacancy on the court, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission submits the names of three nominees to the Governor, and the Governor then has 60 days to make the appointment.

As governor, the process of appointing justices to the Kansas Supreme Court is one I take very seriously. Not only must justices have knowledge of the law, but also a complex and nuanced understanding of the world and the people the law is intended to govern. This process is fair, impartial and ensures that a qualified individual is appointed to the Supreme Court.

How would you ensure all Kansas students from kindergarten to college, get a first rate public education in a safe environment?

In 2018, I ran to be the Education Governor. Before I took office, KS public schools were chronically underfunded, leaving our children to suffer the consequences. That was unacceptable. All four budgets I have presented and, ultimately, signed into law have fully funded our K-12 system. Our schools are the foundation upon which we build and grow our state. Without a first-rate educational system, we cannot recruit or retain industry, fill our workforce pipeline, keep our talented young people here or lure them in from other states. Funding for schools is an essential investment in the future of KS. In addition, I have signed budgets that significantly enhance investments in post-secondary education, both the institutions and the students.

As governor, what is your position on gun control and the issue of gun violence? What, if any, changes would you propose to current laws?

I have always been a strong supporter of the second amendment and believe Kansans have the right to purchase firearms to keep their families safe and to hunt. However, like most gun owners, I also recognize the need to balance this with public safety concerns. I believe that Kansans support common-sense safeguards – like requiring background checks on all gun sales. I have also called for increased funding for mental healthcare interventions as well as red-flag laws so that people in crisis can get the help they need.

Should the Government control healthcare and reproductive decisions?

A woman’s reproductive healthcare decisions should be between her and her physician. I’ll continue to oppose all regressive legislation that interferes with individual freedoms or threatens the strides we’ve made in recent years making Kansas a constructive place to do business.

How can the Governor’s office provide transparency to the affairs of the State?

When I took office, I took the lead of a state government that had, for too long, operated behind closed doors. I took action right away to increase transparency and ensure Kansans know what’s going on here in the Statehouse and throughout state government.

I reduced no-bid contracts in order to increase transparency in the procurement process and am a strong supporter of the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA). Whether it is through various online platforms and engaging with the press or meeting directly with Kansans, I remain committed to ensuring our state government is open and transparent.

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