New Kansas governor fills out administration ahead of inauguration

photo by: AP Photo/John Hanna

In this Dec. 17, 2018 photo, Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press at the Statehouse in Topeka. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA — Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly has continued naming new members of her administration in the week leading up to her inauguration.

Kelly announced new members of her cabinet Wednesday after revealing other top officials earlier in the week and at the end of the previous week. Those announcements followed major news on Thursday that Kelly would replace the top administrator at Kansas’ troubled child welfare agency.

Kelly takes office Monday, Jan. 14.

Commerce job goes to campaign treasurer; interim transportation secretary named

The incoming Democratic governor has named a local economic development official who was her campaign treasurer as Kansas’ next commerce secretary.

Kelly announced Wednesday that she will nominate David Toland of Iola to lead the Department of Commerce.

Toland is president and CEO of Thrive Allen County, a non-profit economic development agency. He also helped Kelly develop a rural development plan during her successful campaign last year.

The state Senate must confirm Toland’s appointment because Kelly intends for it be permanent.

Kelly also announced Wednesday that she is naming Julie Lorenz of Lenexa as interim transportation secretary.

Lorenz is a senior strategic consultant for the Kansas City engineering, planning and architectural firm Burns & McDonnell. She previously led strategic planning for the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Kelly taps prisons chief, health agency head

Kelly plans to put a former corrections secretary back in charge of the Kansas prison system and have a military doctor run the state health department.

She also plans to temporarily retain the state’s top emergency management official under her Republican predecessors.

Kelly announced Tuesday that Roger Werholtz will be interim secretary of corrections. Werholtz was secretary from 2002 to 2010.

She also said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli will remain as adjutant general to ensure a smooth transition in his department. The adjutant oversees the Emergency Management Division and commands the Kansas National Guard.

Kelly on Monday said Lt. Col. and Dr. Lee Norman will serve as interim secretary of health and environment. He is the Army’s medical liaison to the adjutant general.

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Predecessor’s budget director to remain

Kelly is keeping her Republican predecessor’s budget director, saying he’s proven he can work with legislators of all political stripes.

She announced Friday that former state Rep. Larry Campbell will remain a key adviser on fiscal policy. Departing GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer appointed Campbell to the post in February 2018.

Campbell is a 63-year-old former banker who served 13 years in the House as a Republican before becoming budget director. He is a former Olathe mayor and a current member of its City Council.

Kelly called Campbell “a team player who wants to find solutions.” The new governor served 14 years in the Senate and was a key player in budget debates for almost a decade.

Key staff to include federal prosecutor as chief lawyer

Kelly has picked a federal prosecutor to serve as her office’s top attorney and filled other key staff positions.

She announced Tuesday that Clay Britton will be her chief counsel. He has worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Kansas since October 2016 and previously was an assistant Kansas attorney general and attorney in private practice.

Haley Pollock will serve as Kelly’s policy director. She worked for Kansas Action for Children and managed Democrat Paul Davis’ unsuccessful campaign last year in the 2nd Congressional District of eastern Kansas.

Cory Sheedy will serve be Kelly’s legislative director after working as the Kansas House minority leader’s chief of staff.

Communications consultant and longtime environmental activist Scott Allegrucci will be Kelly’s appointments director.


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