Gov. Laura KellyKansas Gov. Laura Kelly, elected in 2018, hosted AEM members earlier this summer on a call highlighting the role manufacturers play in Kansas’s economy. Gov. Kelly has been a long-time supporter of the equipment manufacturing industry and its policy priorities. AEM members in Kansas support more than 39,300 jobscontribute $3.4 billion annually to the state’s economy, and generate $249 million in tax revenue each year. 

Gov. Kelly took a few minutes to answer a few questions about her efforts to boost the equipment manufacturing industry in the Sunflower State.  

AEM: What are your key legislative priorities for Kansas? 

Gov. Kelly: Since I took office, my administration has prioritized rebuilding our state’s fiscal foundation, and focusing on addressing key issues like education, health care, economic development, and infrastructure.  

For the upcoming Legislative session, my number one priority will be working with my colleagues in the Legislature to extend access to quality, affordable health care for 150,000 Kansans by expanding Medicaid. Not only would expansion help our state keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it would also inject millions of dollars into our communities, create jobs, encourage economic development, protect our rural hospitals, and more.  

AEM: What issue would you like to spend more time on? 

Gov. Kelly: Health care and education are both issues that I believe are critically important to the overall success of our state. Ensuring Kansans have access to a world-class education and quality, affordable health care also encourages families and businesses to move to Kansas. These issues together will improve quality of life, foster economic growth, and will promote prosperity in Kansas now and into the future.  

AEM: How does trade impact your state? 

Gov. Kelly: Kansas has always been – and always will be – an export state, and we remain a national leader in agricultural productionCurrently ware: 16th in dairy, 10th in soybeans and hogs, seventh in corn, third in cattle, second in wheat, and first in sorghum. Our farmers and ranchers make up the backbone of our economy, with a total economic contribution of $65.6 billion to Kansas and creating nearly 250,000 jobs.  

Therefore, Kansas farmers, ranchers, and other members of our state’s agricultural community rely heavily on positive trade relationships and ample export opportunities. We are proud to partner with countries around the world that recognize and appreciate our high-quality beef, grain, and other agriculture products.   

AEM: What can be done to promote bipartisanship in Topeka?   

Gov. Kelly: During times like these, when we’re battling the worst public health crisis in a century, I believe that we see more clearly why it’s important to work across the aisle with our Republican colleagues and put the best interest of Kansans ahead of politics. In spite of our political disagreements, my administration worked with Republican leadership in the Legislature to pass a historic 10-year transportation plan, named after Kansas’ own Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program (IKE) will select projects more frequently and collaborate with communities to fix decades-old infrastructure problems, and critically, save taxpayer dollars.  

AEM: What’s been your biggest achievement while in office?  

Gov. Kelly: During my 14 years as a State Senator, one of my highest priorities was ensuring that our public education system was fully-funded, so that our school districts could access the resources they need to provide students with a world-class education. Unfortunately, for nearly a decade before I took office, Kansas was caught in a cycle of costly litigation for underfunding our schools.  

When I was running to be Governor, I promised Kansans that I would be the “education Governor.” That I would properly fund our schools and end this cycle of litigation.  

That’s why one of my proudest moments as Governor was during my first year, when I had the opportunity to sign a landmark bill that fully funded our public schools, finally ending years of costly litigation. I continue to look for opportunities to strengthen our public school system.   

AEM: And we like to share one fun thing with our readers, if able to please provide one fun fact about you.  

Gov. Kelly: While I was growing up in New York City, my dream was to replace Mickey Mantle as center fielder for the New York Yankees. Interestingly, when I moved to Kansas and soon after began my career in public service, was excited to learn that Mantle began his baseball career in in our state, playing for the Independence Yankees in 1949.

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