TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Jeff Colyer is preparing to become Kansas’ next governor.
Colyer would be elevated when his two-term running mate, GOP Gov. Sam Brownback, resigns to become President Donald Trump’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Trump announced Wednesday that he would nominate Brownback for the post.
Kansas officials expect Brownback to step down as governor when he’s confirmed by the U.S. Senate, but his office wouldn’t discuss his plans Wednesday evening.
At a news conference Thursday Brownback said he hasn’t set a time to step down from governor, saying it will depend on when a confirmation on the new position happens. He went on to say he won’t necessarily wait for a confirmation but that it will play when he steps down.
On Friday the Lt. Governor released a statement on Brownback’s presidential nomination saying Brownback has served the state of Kansas and the citizens with distinction.
“As a doctor and a father of three beautiful girls, I am always optimistic for the future. As I’ve served in worn-torn countries, helping victims begin the healing process, I’ve seen first-hand the resilience of human beings. A Reagan alumni, I too believe people have an inherent dignity, requiring a respect for vulnerable life and civility for our fellow man.
“With humility and a deep sense of honor, I look forward to working with Kansans from across the state, listening to their vision for the future, as together we move toward a better tomorrow for the place that we love.”
Brownback has been governor of Kansas since 2011, winning re-election in 2014. He previously served as a U.S. Senator from 1996 to 2011 and a U.S. Representative from 1995 to 1996.
In 2016, a survey listed Brownback as the least popular governor in the United States.
Brownback’s 2012 tax plan has been largely criticized by fellow Republicans and business owners. This year, Kansas legislators rejected the tax-cutting experiment reversing many of the income tax reductions he championed in recent years as a way to fix the cash-strapped state’s budget. Brownback decried the action, saying it is harmful to the state’s economy, predicting that tax increases would slow job growth and discourage businesses from moving to Kansas.
In a statement released Wednesday night, Kansas Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley said Brownback will be remembered for becoming the most unpopular governor in America.
“His tax experiment failed to grow the economy as he promised. Instead, his policies have bankrupted our state and led to destroying nearly every agency of state government as well as his own political career.
Hensley went on to say that “Brownback is moving on not because of anything he accomplished but because of who he knows in Washington D.C.”