Topeka — Kansas Democratic Party Chairman Larry Gates said Saturday that comments made by state Republican legislative leaders about Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, “should offend us all.”
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, criticized Sebelius’ work on the state budget, adding he hoped Sebelius would leave Kansas and get a job in President Obama’s administration.
“It might actually be helpful,” Schmidt said, adding that he had thought about writing a letter to Obama on behalf of Sebelius in getting picked secretary of health and human services.
Senate Vice President John Vratil, R-Leawood, also said Sebelius had not been engaged in recent budget talks.
Their comments came when asked by reporters if Sebelius were chosen by Obama to lead HHS would that disrupt the budget process in the Legislature.
Gates issued a statement saying Schmidt and Vratil were out of bounds.
“Senators Schmidt and Vratil dropped to the lowest level of political gamesmanship by their personal attack. This type of behavior is not the solution — it’s the problem,” Gates said.
Schmidt and Vratil have pushed for a plan to cut schools by approximately $100 million, but that was rejected by a bipartisan coalition in the Senate after Sebelius said she would veto such a reduction.
Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said Sebelius had been extremely engaged in the bipartisan plan that was adopted by the Senate.
Hensley dismissed the comments of Schmidt and Vratil, saying, “This comes from two guys who only got 15 votes for their budget.”