Sam Brownback | KCUR

Sam Brownback

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his Democratic challenger, Paul Davis, tangled over judicial selection in their final scheduled debate Tuesday.

Brownback criticized the current makeup of the state Supreme Court and referenced the recent overturning of death sentences for the Carr brothers, two convicted murderers.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Kansas gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis says if elected, he'll surround himself with the most bipartisan cabinet in the state's history.

"I want to try to bring the very best people we can into state government, and that's ultimately going to mean we're going to have roughly equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans," said Davis, a Democrat.

His comments came during an appearance on KCUR's Up to Date with host Steve Kraske on Wednesday.

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We all knew education was going to be an important issue in the race for Kansas governor.

But in the last three weeks of the campaign it just might turn out to 'the' issue.

Gov. Sam Brownback and his Democratic challenger, House Minority Leader Paul Davis, have charged each other with dastardly education deeds for weeks.

At a news conference last month in Topeka, Davis accused the governor of cutting education funding.

“All we’ve gotten from Gov. Brownback on education is deep cuts and failed leadership," he said.

www.tradingacademy.com/ / OTA Photos, Flickr

The Kansas budget has been in the national spotlight ever since Governor Sam Brownback signed dramatic tax cuts into law in 2012. Over the past several months, tax revenue has been coming in at lower levels than the state projected. Not surprisingly, the two sides of the political spectrum view the resulting conundrum differently. 

Guests:

  • John Hanna, reporter, The Associated Press
  • David Trabert, Kansas Policy Institute
  • Duane Goossen, former Kansas budget director

A former state senator confirmed Thursday that he was contacted by FBI agents looking into allegations of “pay-to-play” deals in state government.

Dick Kelsey, a Republican who represented the Goddard area until 2012, said the FBI questions centered on David Kensinger, a longtime political adviser and former chief of staff for Gov. Sam Brownback.

“The FBI called me,” Kelsey said. “They wanted to talk to me and did a number of times, along with an in-person, two-hour interview. The investigation is very real.”

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There are two big issues in the race for Kansas governor this year: How to fund education and how to grow the economy.

Republican incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback is standing firm on cutting taxes to boost the economy.

Brownback has cut income taxes for individuals and eliminated them for small businesses. He says this will spur business development and thus the economy will grow.

But House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Davis has a very different idea.

Davis says he will drive economic growth by spending more on education.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Everyone knew education was going to be an issue in the race for Kansas governor.

In debates and TV commercials, Republican incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s increased spending on public schools. His Democratic challenger, House Minority leader Paul Davis from Lawrence, claims Brownback has cut funding.

A health care compact bill designed to get Kansas and other states out of federal health regulations is gaining attention locally for its possible Medicare implications, but a national expert on Medicare says the compact, which would need congressional approval, is not even being discussed in Washington, D.C.

Frank Morris / KCUR

The three candidates for governor in Kansas diverge on taxes, health care and school funding, but they   came together Friday for a debate sponsored by the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce. 

The contest is largely between incumbent Republican Governor Sam Brownback and his Democratic challenger, Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis. Friday’s gubernatorial debate in Overland Park also included the Libertarian candidate, Keen Umbehr, who echoed some of Gov. Brownback’s views and pledged to take his income tax cuts to a new level.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Democratic challenger Paul Davis traded blows at the Kansas State Fair over the weekend as they met for their first formal debate.

It was a packed house in Hutchinson, Kan., in the arena where the debate was held. Before it even started, an energized crowd chanted and cheered. When Davis and Brownback took the stage they hit on some common themes they’ve been repeating on the election trail.

Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has unveiled some education goals he'll push for if he's reelected to a second term in office. Brownback says he'll aim for 60 percent of Kansas adults to have a college degree or technical certificate.

At events in Topeka and the Kansas City area Brownback also hinted at a clash over education funding between himself and his Democratic challenger in the gubernatorial race, Rep. Paul Davis.

Brownback touted funding increases during his time in office, specifically money targeted at technical education programs.

Frank Morris / KCUR

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made another trip to Kansas City Wednesday to stump for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and attend a fundraiser in Mission Hills.

Christie heads the Republican Governors Association (RGA).

“Kansas is an important race for us in the country, and that’s why I’m here and told the governor I’ll be back between now and election day as well,” says Christie. “RGA is going to make a significant investment here in Kansas, because we believe in Sam.”

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

High-ranking Republicans in Kansas will be working to eliminate divisions between some GOP voters. That comes after this week's primary election, which featured some contentious races among Republicans.

There were Republican primaries in Kansas for offices including the U.S. Senate, the U.S House and the state Legislature. Some of them were tough fights, but the state Republican Party's executive director, Clay Barker, says they're going to be sending a simple message now to Kansas Republicans.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Much like the winning drivers at Kansas Speedway next door, Sporting Kansas City is taking a victory lap.

Firmly planted in Kansas City with a state-of-the-art soccer venue and a first class practice facility and fields, Sporting Kansas City steered the area to another level with an announcement Wednesday of a proposed National Training and Coaching Development Facility in Kansas City, Kan.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was on hand for the formal announcement at Sporting Park before Sporting KC took the field for an international friendly match against Manchester City FC.

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum stopped in Kansas to campaign for Gov. Sam Brownback Monday in Olathe, Kan., where Santorum called Brownback a "warrior" for conservative principles. 

Santorum and Brownback served in the U.S. Senate together. Santorum says Brownback takes on the big issues, and he isn't surprised Brownback has ruffled some feathers with his tax-cutting, small-government policies. Santorum said Kansas could be a leader for other states.

Political Polls: Kansas Races

Jun 30, 2014
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A new poll shows Gov. Sam Brownback trailing opposing Democrat Paul Davis, who’s showing support from independents and Republicans that many didn’t expect.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk about that race, how Sen. Pat Roberts is faring against the competition and what former Missouri Congressman Todd Akin is saying this week.

Guests:

A routine financial meeting last week at the Kansas Statehouse turned into a heated exchange between Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and some Democratic lawmakers. The two sides sparred over the state's financial policies, and the meeting previewed many of the arguments that are likely to be repeated on the campaign trail this fall.

The state of Kansas borrows money to help manage cash flow during the year, but the annual meeting soon turned to a debate over fiscal policy.

Brownback Reassigns Two Top Administrators

May 21, 2014

Gov. Sam Brownback's office on Wednesday announced that Shawn Sullivan, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, will become the new state budget director and Kari Bruffett, currently head of the division of health care finance at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, will step in as KDADS chief.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and others remembered the Brown v. Board of Education ruling Friday in Topeka.

The event comes on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that ordered an end to segregation in public schools.

The governor spoke at the former Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, which is now a national historic site dedicated to the ruling.

Brownback says it’s important to remember the controversy surrounding the Brown v. Board ruling and the struggles of the civil rights movement.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer officially have started their campaign for a second term.

The two were joined Thursday at a kickoff event in Topeka by their campaign co-chairs, former Sen. Bob Dole and Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter of Dwight Eisenhower.

During the event, Brownback touted his economic policies and tax cuts he helped pass. He credits them with promoting job growth and helping to build a significant financial cushion in the state budget.

Tax cuts in Kansas have "landed with a thud," according to the co-author of a report that criticizes the state's actions for harming public services and sapping the state's long-term economic vitality. 

The report, which was released by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, says massive tax cuts enacted by Kansas lawmakers in 2012 have left the state's schools, public health departments and other public services "stuck in the recession." 

The FBI is investigating possible influence peddling by former aides of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, according to a story Sunday in The Topeka Capital-Journal.

The FBI is also looking into whether the governor’s office pressured the for-profit companies that run the state Medicaid system to use lobbyists from Parallel Strategies, a firm founded by the former aides, including the governor’s former chief of staff, David Kensinger, the newspaper reported.

parallelstrategiesks.com

Over the weekend, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s KanCare Medicaid program. 

Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill that might make it possible for Kansas to join a compact of states that want the power to run Medicare and Medicaid within their borders.

The new law also creates the possibility that the compact states could circumvent several key provisions in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“The Health Care Compact will allow states to restore and protect Medicare for generations to come,” Brownback said in a prepared statement today announcing that he had signed the measure. The actual signing was Tuesday.

Dignitaries applaud as Governor Sam Brownback signs a bill lowering employers' unemloyment insurance costs.
Steve Bell

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was in kansas City, Kansas Tuesday for the official signing of a bill that substantially reduces the percentage rate employers are required to pay into the state's Unemployment Trust Fund.

Brownback used the occasion to tout what he called a call, growing Kansas economy.

"People have said you can't cut taxes, create a business-friendly environment and fund state government," he said, adding, "Well, yes you can, and we are."

After the ceremony, the governor also commented on several bills on or soon coming to his desk.

Poll results released Tuesday indicate that the Medicaid expansion issue could be a factor in the Kansas governor’s race.

Gov. Sam Brownback is taking steps to help reduce a shortage of propane needed for home heating. He's easing trucking regulations and directing state officials to provide help to poor families.

Brownback and the state fire marshal say Kansans who are running low on propane should not try alternate heating methods that could be unsafe.

"There's a temptation sometimes to do almost anything to stay warm and some of those things, like using a stove to keep warm or hooking up a five gallon propane tank to your house, is dangerous. It can cost lives,” said Brownback.

Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing a reversal of some state university salary cuts and a 1.5 percent raise for classified state employees. He's also hoping to rewrite the Department of Corrections budget. 

Andover Republican and Senate budget committee chair, Ty Masters, says most of the governor's proposed $460 million dollar spending increase is allocated for corrections, but some lawmakers will still have concerns.

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Gov. Sam Brownback made comments aimed at the courts, referenced Kansas history and touted his administration's accomplishments during the annual State of the State address Wednesday night.

Brownback unveiled some of his legislative priorities as he spoke before the members of the Kansas House and Senate. He held up what he says are the achievements of his administration over the last three years: building up state financial reserves and balancing the budget during the recession.

Gov. Sam Brownback met with education officials and some top Republican lawmakers Monday to discuss school finance. The gathering comes as the Kansas Supreme Court considers a lawsuit over education spending and lawmakers prepare for the 2014 legislative session.

Brownback says the closed-door meeting was aimed at bringing together his office, education officials that represent local districts and lawmakers. He says those groups have not always seen eye-to-eye on the issue of education funding, leading to lawsuits.

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