We don't want to be known as a fly-away state for governors
Our 46th Kansas Gov., Sam Brownback, a Republican, has resigned now to take a plum job in the Trump administration as U.S. ambassador at-large for international religious freedom.
On the same day, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, was sworn in as the next Kansas governor – our 47th.
Gov. Brownback was first elected governor in 2010 and was re-elected four years later (2014). His second term would not be completed until next year.
Colyer says he will seek election outright to the governor’s position next year.
Brownback is the second elected Kansas governor in a row to jump ship in the middle of a second term as Kansas governor.
The state’s 44th governor, Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, was elected in 2003, won a second four-year term and then resigned the office in 2009 to take a plum job in the Obama administration as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
After Gov. Sebelius resigned, her Lt. Gov., Mark Parkinson, was sworn in as the state’s 45th governor to serve out the rest of Sebelius’s term.
Parkinson, ultimately, did not seek election to the governor’s position. He just faded away.
On Kansas Day, I believe, it is an appropriate time to consider whether it is a good thing or a bad thing for our state that our last two elected governors did not stick around long enough to complete the second term of office that they were elected to.
Maybe it is not important at all.
After all, a lot of Kansans are certainly happy that Gov. Brownback is moving on this week.
The fact that our last two elected governors jumped the Topeka ship to take presidential appointments in the federal government probably indicates just how strong and powerful party politics still are in this country.
In my view, the governorship of Kansas is a vitally important position for our state and it’s a bad thing for the state when a sitting governor resigns in the middle of a term – even when I don’t particularly agree with him/her on every issue.
In the next election for governor, citizens should ask whether the candidates will sign a pledge that if elected they will not resign the office in the middle of a term.
Kansas does not want to be labeled as a “fly-over’’ state and it also shouldn’t want to be labeled as “fly-away’’ state when it comes to governors.