Topeka The Kansas Republican Party has a new leader, a corporate executive from Johnson County who managed Sen. Sam Brownback’s last re-election campaign.
The party’s State Committee unanimously elected Amanda Adkins as its chairwoman Saturday. The 34-year-old Overland Park resident was the only candidate, and she will serve a two-year term.
Adkins immediately announced several initiatives designed to expand the membership of what is already the state’s biggest political party. They included a GOP think tank to study tax, economic and health care issues.
She replaces Kris Kobach, a conservative who decided not to seek a second term so that he could run for statewide office. Kobach has formed a campaign committee for a run for secretary of state in 2010.
Conservatives still control the state party organization, and Adkins had their support. But she also was acceptable enough to moderates that no opposition to her selection emerged.
“All that I ask in this time period is that you stand with me, you strive with me, to make sure that we keep Kansas a red state in 2010, and we show the rest of the country how things can be done, how conservative principles can be put into action,” she said.
Adkins also became chairwoman as her former boss, Brownback, embarked on a campaign for governor.
The senator hasn’t announced publicly that he’s running for governor in 2010, but he has said he won’t seek another Senate term, formed a gubernatorial campaign committee and began raising money.
But Adkins noted that her husband is a former employee of Brownback’s rival for the GOP nomination, Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh. She said she considers Thornburgh a friend, and Thornburgh endorsed her selection.
“Amanda is very bright. She’s the right person for this job,” Thornburgh said. “I’m going to do everything I can do to support her personally and support her efforts for the party.”
Adkins is an executive for Cerner Corp., a health care computer systems firm, overseeing development of its business with U.S. government agencies. She also was an executive for Cerner in Washington, where she worked with the conservative Heritage Foundation to develop health care legislation.