Brownback’s communications director to step down

? Gov. Sam Brownback’s office announced Monday that communications director Melika Willoughby will step down at the end of this week to take a job with a nonprofit conservative organization, the Forge Leadership Network.

Willoughby, who has served as communications director since November 2016, is the second person in the governor’s communications office to resign in recent weeks as the governor himself prepares to depart to accept a diplomatic post in President Donald J. Trump’s administration. In late July, Ian Fury, who held the job title of policy analyst, left to take a job as field director for the Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

“I am deeply grateful for Melika’s service to the state of Kansas,” Brownback said in an email statement announcing her departure. “She has been a tireless warrior for conservative principles and an advocate for making Kansas the best state in America to raise a family and grow a business. I trust that she will accomplish great things in the years to come.”

Rachel Whitten, who is currently the spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Revenue, will fill the role as the governor’s spokesperson through the end of Brownback’s time in office.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who has announced he will run for a full term as governor in 2018, recently named former WIBW-TV reporter Kara Fullmer as his new press secretary. She is expected to continue in that role once Colyer becomes governor.