Gov. Kelly appoints equal number of men, women in first year

photo by: AP Photo/John Hanna

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions from reporters on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, at the Statehouse in Topeka. The Democratic governor and top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature are headed toward a clash over proposals for cutting taxes. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

The Women’s Foundation of Kansas City commended Gov. Laura Kelly for appointing more than 150 women to state boards, commissions and the judiciary in her first year.

Kelly selected an equal number of men and women for various appointments, according to a press release the organization sent last week.

“In her first year in office, Governor Laura Kelly has taken major strides to close the leadership gap and make state boards and commissions more reflective of the communities they serve,” Wendy Doyle, president of the organization, said in the release.

In January 2019, women held 37% of state board and commission seats. By Dec. 31, 2019, Kelly had appointed 152 women and 152 men since taking office, a spokeswoman from the governor’s office confirmed.

“When it comes to making appointments to the state’s boards and commissions, I believe it is important that Kansas’ government truly recognizes and reflects the diversity and talent of Kansas residents and communities,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “To activate that commitment, this year I made a conscious effort to appoint near-equal numbers of men and women to boards and commissions across the state.”

In the judiciary sector, Kelly recently appointed Evelyn Wilson to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Lee Johnson. Kelly also named Marla Luckert, now the senior justice on the court, chief justice after Lawton Nuss’ December retirement from the position.

Doyle said that although there’s more work to be done, the organization is thrilled with the progress Kelly has made by appointing equal numbers of men and women.

“We look forward to working with the Governor to continue to close the gender leadership gap and ensure women’s voices are heard throughout state government,” she wrote in an email to the Journal-World.

Since 2014, the Women’s Foundation’s Appointments Project has strived to increase the number of women serving in appointed roles. There are more than 2,000 gubernatorial appointed positions statewide.

“Bringing more diverse voices to the decision-making table not only makes government more diverse — it also makes government more effective,” Doyle said in the press release.


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