Topeka Gov.-elect Sam Brownback on Thursday tapped a veteran group to help with the change of administrations during the next two months.
“Their varied expertise, involvements and experiences in government, including members of the last two Republican transition teams, will ensure a smooth transition,” said Brownback, a Republican.
Brownback also named David Kensinger as his chief of staff. Kensinger managed Brownback’s gubernatorial campaign and has worked for him and other Republican Party officials for many years.
Brownback, a U.S. senator, also said he would not resign early from his Senate seat which will next be filled by U.S. Sen.-elect Jerry Moran, a Republican.
Kenny Wilk, a Republican who had represented Lansing when he was in the Kansas House, was named the chairman of the transition team.
“I feel very fortunate to have this eclectic and talented transition team,” Wilk said. While in the Legislature, Wilk chaired the House tax and budget committees and was instrumental in adoption of several economic development initiatives.
The transition team will be focused on helping prepare a state budget, legislative initiatives, cabinet and other high-level appointments and the inaugural.
When legislators start the 2011 legislative session, they will face an estimated $500 million budget deficit for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2011. Tax revenues are starting to increase after a historic downturn that spanned three years. Even so, the budget will lose hundreds of millions in federal funds that are expiring under the stimulus law.
Brownback campaigned on improving the state economy and said that focus would continue through the transition process.
The transition team also includes Wyandotte County Republican Party Chair Chiquita Coggs; state Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg; former House Speaker Kent Glasscock of Manhattan; former state Sen. Nick Jordan of Shawnee; state Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe; former Garden City mayor Dennis Mesa; former House Speaker chief of staff Sue Peterson; and Wichita City Councilwoman Sue Schlapp.
Brownback defeated state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, in the governor’s race. Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, decided not to seek election.
Lt. Gov.-elect Jeff Colyer said the incoming administration is looking for candidates for numerous positions and ideas about streamlining government. The transition office's phone number is 785-296-3700 and its e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.