Governor Kelly Tours Small Businesses in Emporia, Concludes “Healthy Workers, Healthy Economy” Tour

– Today, Governor Laura Kelly toured Emporia small businesses on the final stop of her relaunched, “Healthy Workers, Healthy Economy” statewide tour. Governor Kelly and Casey Woods, Executive Director of Emporia Main Street, were joined by community leaders during visits to the Axe Shedd, Trox Gallery and Gifts, and Sweet Granada.

“I listened to rural Kansans, small business owners, and health care providers from every corner of the state on my ‘Healthy Workers, Healthy Economy’ tour,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “They echoed the message shared by nearly 70% of Kansans: expanding Medicaid is critical for our communities. Kansans have worked to make their voices heard by contacting their legislators and asking them to support the Cutting Healthcare Costs for All Kansans Act. Tomorrow, Senators should vote yes on the motion to move this bill forward knowing they have the full support of their constituents behind them.”

A statewide poll released by the Sunflower Foundation in February revealed that 83% of small business owners favor expanding Medicaid in Kansas. Emporia Main Street, a non-profit organization that works to boost the local economy by supporting small businesses, recognizes the impact expansion would have on their community.

“We appreciate Governor Kelly visiting Main Street to better understand the needs of our business leaders and listen to their experiences,” said Casey Woods, Executive Director, Emporia Main Street. “Emporia Main Street understands the importance of quality health care options for our Kansas entrepreneurs and their employees. We can better support our small businesses by increasing access to health care and getting more of our workforce covered under Medicaid expansion.”

Studies have shown that Medicaid expansion increases productivity and improves workforce retention. When people are insured, they are more likely to access preventive health care services necessary to remain healthy and working. Medicaid expansion would also create nearly 23,000 new jobs in Kansas with 365 of those being in Lyon County.

“We strongly support Medicaid expansion because we see it as a pathway forward not only for our small businesses but for every resident of Emporia,” said Commissioner Erren Harter, Vice Mayor, Emporia City Commission. “The City is committed to improving the lives and health care outcomes of our residents, employees, and business leaders that benefit from this economic growth. Increasing access to health care by expanding Medicaid in Kansas is a step in the right direction.”

“The Emporia Area Chamber has been and continues to be supportive of Medicaid expansion,” said Jeanine McKenna, President and CEO, Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are eager to see this through to the finish line for our more than 300 members and the entire Emporia community. By expanding Medicaid, we can grow our workforce and strengthen our economy.”

Legislators representing Lyon County and the surrounding areas were invited to attend the tour. Kansans can find contact information to ask their local legislator to support Medicaid expansion here.

Photos from today’s event, for media use, are available below: