ICYMI: Governor Kelly Calls For Healthier Political Discourse in Landon Lecture  

: “The second-term governor has long staked her reputation on being a commonsense, moderate policy maker focused on the nuts and bolts of government over politics. In her speech at K-State, she sought to further cement that brand, lamenting that politicians at the state and local level have lost sight of compromise and laying the groundwork for healthier political discourse.” 

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly warns polarization is ‘crushing’ the ability to govern the state
Katie Bernard, Kansas City Star 
February 16, 2024 

  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday bemoaned the polarization that she says has fundamentally upended the state’s politics since she first entered elected office nearly 20 years ago as a state senator.  
  • “Polarization is crushing our ability to get things done for Kansans,” Kelly said, citing her decade-long fight to expand Medicaid. Kansas is one of 10 states that haven’t expanded who is eligible for health coverage under the program.  
  • In the past decade, moderate Republicans have seen their power and presence shrink in the Kansas Legislature… Former Kansas Senate President Steve Morris, a moderate Republican who lost a primary challenge in 2012, argued this change has harmed the state. “It promotes these culture war bills and legislation gets passed that’s specific to somebody that has an agenda item that’s not good for the state,” he said. 
  • Kelly argued a toxic political discourse was blocking meaningful conversation and compromise within the Legislature on a slew of issues including child care, education, and tax reform.
  • “We need to get back to a place where people can disagree about politics, but still form a bond – still engage in community service and civic life together,” she [Governor Laura Kelly] said.