UPDATE: Governor Won’t Commit to Staying
Associated Press - March 9, 2017 5:42 am
A top Democratic lawmaker says he is joining the crowded race to replace Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita announced his candidacy Saturday. He had named former Democratic Party chairman Lee Kinch as his campaign treasurer earlier this week.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback isn’t committing to staying in that job through the end of the legislative session this spring.
Brownback wouldn’t comment Thursday on Kansas Public Radio reports that he will be named the U.S. ambassador for three food and agriculture organizations in Rome. He told reporters he’s focused on fixing the state’s budget problems and writing a new education funding formula. When asked whether he was committing to staying through the legislature’s session, he declined to comment.
Kansas is facing a budget crisis and Brownback is trying to stave off income tax increases supported by many fellow Republicans. The state Supreme Court also ruled that the state must spend more on schools.
If Brownback steps down, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will become governor. Colyer also had no comment.
ORIGINAL: A public radio report says Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will be named to an ambassadorship in Rome representing the U.S. at United Nations agricultural organizations.
The Associated Press could not confirm the Kansas Public Radio report Wednesday, which cited an anonymous former high-ranking government official as it source.
The report said Brownback would be named U.S. ambassador for three food and agriculture organizations in Rome. There has been speculation for weeks that Brownback would be offered an appointment in the administration of President Donald Trump.
Brownback spokeswoman Melika Willoughby would neither confirm nor deny the report and said the governor is focused on balancing the state budget and working on a new school funding system.
The report comes at a time when Kansas is facing a budget crisis and Brownback is trying to stave off tax increases supported by many in his own party.
If he leaves, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer would become governor.