Colyer To Be Sworn In As Kansas Governor Today

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer faces a skeptical GOP-controlled Legislature deeply divided over a court mandate to increase state spending on public schools as he prepares to take over as Kansas’ next governor later tody.

Colyer, age 57, the state’s longest-serving lieutenant governor, iss scheduled to be sworn in as governor this afternoon. He is replacing GOP Gov. Sam Brownback, who is stepping down to become U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

Colyer said before the event that his inaugural speech will focus on broad themes about “what is special about Kansas,” rather than policy.

The biggest task facing Colyer and legislators is responding to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in October that funding for public schools remains constitutionally inadequate, even with an increase approved last year.

Brownback proposed phasing in an additional $513 million increase over five years, relying only on the annual growth in state revenues to pay for it. The plan angered many Republicans, who viewed it as fiscally reckless.

Colyer promised a more open and approachable administration after Brownback was nominated by President Donald Trump last summer for the ambassador post. But lawmakers are waiting to see whether he breaks with Brownback’s policies or modifies the school funding plan.

He remained a loyal No. 2 during seven years as Brownback’s lieutenant governor, even as Kansas voters turned on Brownback because of the persistent budget problems that followed aggressive income tax cuts the governor championed in 2012 and 2013. Lawmakers last year rolled back most of the cuts.

Colyer is a Kansas City-area plastic surgeon who does both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. He’s been associated with the International Medical Corps for three decades and has continued during regular medical relief missions as lieutenant governor.

He served two years in the Kansas House and another two years in the state Senate before being elected on Brownback’s ticket in 2010. They were re-elected in 2014.

 

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Now in his third year as News Director at KD-Country 94 and Z-96.3 The Lake, Chad is a jack of not all, but many trades. He spent previous years of his working life in hotel management, event planning, security, the aviation industry, staff writing for a newspaper, and as a small business owner. He began doing play-by-play of high school sports for KDNS and KZDY in 2009 and came to work full time for the stations in July of 2015. He is a single-father of a young daughter and enjoys spending his free time with her. His favorite activities include attending live music and sporting events as well as being a singer/songwriter. A natural conversationalist, he also enjoys a good discussion/debate on a myriad of topics from current events and politics to sports and philosophy. He resides in Beloit with his daughter and continues to write sports and meeting stories for a local newspaper.