Key Quote: “Bipartisan cooperation is critical to every facet of our state’s success. I remain committed to my promise to work with all legislators, regardless of party, to deliver the results that will create a stronger, healthier Kansas.”
Laura Kelly: Leave the partisanship in Washington. Kansans need leaders to cooperate
The Kansas City Star
Governor Laura Kelly
January 4, 2021
A week from Monday, our state senators and representatives, Democrat and Republican alike, will travel to Topeka to convene the 2021 session of the Kansas Legislature.
Before session each year, lawmakers and my administration prepare and draft legislation with the purpose of improving Kansans’ lives and making our state a better place to work, live and raise a family.
However, due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our duty as lawmakers will undoubtedly hold a new and heightened significance this year. Our state’s ability to protect Kansans from this virus, expand quality, high-paying jobs and rebuild our social safety net will depend on more tailored approaches following the far-reaching effects of this global health crisis.
Too often, we’ve seen politics come before much-needed cooperation. For example, the bipartisan compromise to give 150,000 Kansans health insurance by expanding Medicaid was spiked last year for no reason other than partisanship.
Now more than ever, Kansans deserve leaders who will travel to Topeka to represent their best interests, rather than settling ideological scores. They need lawmakers who will put political differences aside to deliver mutually agreeable results that protect and promote Kansans’ health and financial welfare.
As we move forward into 2021, I ask that lawmakers across the state and across the aisle set aside scorched-earth tactics and work with me to enact inclusive policies that will invest in and benefit all Kansans.
Together this year, we can deliver not only a successful COVID-19 recovery but other critical initiatives as well.
In 2020, we broke the all-time record for capital investment in Kansas since the Department of Commerce was established, proving that anything is possible when we prioritize pro-business policies in line with our Kansas values.
By working with one another, we can strengthen our economic foundation by bringing in new capital investment, creating jobs and improving our communities.
We can expand broadband internet access and deliver on long-overdue infrastructure projects such as road and bridge improvements statewide. Thanks to the 10-year Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, we’ve made needed progress rebuilding our state’s infrastructure and transportation foundations.
We can continue to support our schoolchildren by ensuring they have access to the tools and resources they need to succeed. By prioritizing a comprehensive COVID-19 recovery and protecting Kansans’ health, we can get our students and teachers back in their classrooms.
We can commit to making strategic investments in much-needed modernization of technologies in agencies across the board — which have been underfunded and overlooked for years — to ensure our state is always ready to support Kansans.
And we can finally give thousands of Kansans long-overdue access to affordable health care, grow our economy and improve our rural health care infrastructure by expanding Medicaid.
Today, I call on all lawmakers to join me. Let’s recommit ourselves to rebuilding our state’s foundation and to putting politics and division aside in the name of public service.
As fellow Kansan Dwight Eisenhower once said: “The opportunist thinks of me and today. The statesman thinks of us and tomorrow.”
Bipartisan cooperation is critical to every facet of our state’s success. I remain committed to my promise to work with all legislators, regardless of party, to deliver the results that will create a stronger, healthier Kansas.
Laura Kelly is governor of Kansas.