Colyer Taking Budget Lead As Brownback Prepares For Trump Administration Post

Nov 21, 2017

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback revealed Tuesday that in anticipation of his confirmation to a post in the U.S. State Department he has begun transferring major responsibilities to Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Brownback said Colyer is developing the budget that the governor is required to propose at the outset of the legislative session, which will convene Jan. 8, 2018.

“He’s doing those and getting ready for the legislative session,” Brownback told reporters after taking delivery of a Christmas tree at the governor’s mansion.

Colyer is also taking the lead on key personnel decisions. He has called a Wednesday news conference to announce the appointment of a new secretary for the Department for Children and Families.

Current Secretary Phyllis Gilmore is stepping down amid allegations that she and the agency have failed to address long-standing problems in the Kansas child welfare system.

Brownback, a Republican who has a little more than a year remaining in his second term, is planning to resign once the U.S. Senate confirms his nomination as ambassador for international religious freedom. He said he had hoped that would happen before Thanksgiving but is now talking with Vice President Mike Pence and former Senate colleagues about getting it done by Christmas.

“I think we’ve got a good prospect of getting up for a vote, and if I can get up for a vote, a good prospect of passing,” Brownback said.

Brownback declined to say whether he would consider stepping down before he is confirmed if the vote has not occurred by early January.

“We’re looking at what we need to do to get cleared through for the vote,” he said.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda.