Emma O’Brien

November 18, 2021


Topeka, KS — In a recent poll from Morning Consult, a whopping 54 percent of registered voters in Kansas — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — approve of Laura Kelly’s job performance as Governor. In a state like Kansas, that is no small feat, and signals that Kansans recognize and approve of the bipartisan approach Governor Kelly has taken to fully fund public education and dig the state’s economy out of Sam Brownback’s “tax experiment” hole.

“Since she was elected, Governor Kelly has consistently delivered for Kansans, and it shows in these numbers,” said Vicki Hiatt, KDP Chairwoman. “She has created jobs and boosted the state’s economy, fully funded public schools, and expertly managed the budget that had been recklessly mismanaged under the Brownback administration. Most recently, Governor Kelly called for an elimination of the state’s record-high food sales tax, an effort that will save Kansas families hundreds of dollars every year. It’s no surprise that an overwhelming majority of Kansans approve of the job Governor Kelly has done.”

This news comes on the heels of Republican Governors Association (RGA) Executive Director Dave Rexrode telling the National Journal that “economic and educational issues” will “dominate” the 2022 gubernatorial race in Kansas — a tough blow to the Republican frontrunner, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who stood by Governor Sam Brownback as he tanked the state’s economy and underfunded public education.

For nearly a decade, Schmidt fought to protect Brownback’s unconstitutionally low public school funding levels, which underfunded schools by hundreds of millions of dollars, consistently abdicating his responsibility to ensure that Kansas adequately funded its schools, as required by the state constitution. Schmidt defendedKansas legislators in court against arguments that they had failed to fund Kansas schools at a constitutionally required level, and fought for half a decade to keep Kansas’ education funding low, even in the face of court orders that demanded funding increases.

As Majority Leader in the state Senate, and after agreeing to adequately fund public schools in 2005, Schmidt and Kansas Republicans in the legislature left public schools dramatically underfunded through the late 2000s. The unconstitutionally low school funding was a direct result of Brownback’s tax cuts, and only ended after Laura Kelly was elected Governor in 2018.