We were very excited by the results of the gubernatorial election last week. We congratulate Laura Kelly on her convincing victory and look forward to working with her for the betterment of Kansas when she takes office in January. We also particularly want to congratulate KIFA's good friend Sen. Lynn Rogers on his election to Lieutenant Governor.
Since KIFA began in 2016, and even in our work before that, we have always been in the position of playing defense, of trying to stop bad things from happening in the Kansas legislature. We always knew that if this or that anti-immigrant, anti-poor people (though not, of course, anti-poverty), pro-gun etc. policy could get through the legislature, it would be signed into law with no question. We anticipate that Gov. Kelly's veto pen will protect us from a lot of that, and that's a relief. No armed teachers in public schools, for instance.
We also are looking forward to an executive branch populated with people who are experts in their field and who actually want to do a good job, as opposed to the partisan and patronage appointments we've endured for the past eight years. We look forward to policy that is developed in order to benefit the people government is meant to serve, and not in furtherance to an ideology divorced from reality and ignorant of its own consequences.
Of course, we must be careful not to be too, shall we say, millennial about the results of one election. Gov. Kelly will be facing a legislature that is more conservative than the one that repealed the “Brownback experiment” in 2017, and although she is well suited to working in a bipartisan fashion, we're in a decidedly non-bipartisan age, and she will need all the help she can get. Medicaid Expansion, for example, is not going to just fall off the tree. We know Gov. Kelly will sign it, but we need to get it to her desk, and that's not going to be easy. The Senate leaders who prevented it from coming to the floor last year are still in place.
We will also need to address the damage caused by the Brownback years – welfare “reform,” privatized and starved social services, voter suppression, gun policy that has gone way too far. And we'll need to move policy forward in areas that haven't been discussed before, particularly in climate policy (of which there has been basically none). Sometimes we may need to give the governor a friendly push to move farther, faster than she might otherwise be inclined to go.
All of which is to say, we must not rest on our laurels – we have a lot of work to do. KIFA has worked to develop a unique and respected role in the policy ecosystem in Kansas: bringing the moral voice to public policy. And to do what we will need to do, we need you: your awareness, your engagement, and your support. And that is not any less important with friends in office - more, in fact - than it was when the headwinds were against us.