TOPEKA — Gov. Jeff Colyer pointed to work on abortion, education and a leadership shuffle at the state's controversy-plagued child welfare agency Friday on the list of accomplishments during the 100 days since replacing Republican Sam Brownback.
Colyer didn't mention the election campaign, but his schedule has shown a desire to demonstrate leadership skills and place a fresh face on the executive branch ahead of the Aug. 7 gubernatorial primary against Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer and others.
The governor's list of Top 100 moments during his three months in charge was topped with opposition to the funding of Planned Parenthood and demands for amendment of the Kansas Constitution to limit abortion rights. He praised signing a bill expanding state aid to public education by more than $500 million over five years ahead of a Kansas Supreme Court assessment of the law's constitutionality.
Prominently mentioned was installation of a new secretary at the Kansas Department for Children and Families, which had been engulfed by criticism for mishandling child death and abuse cases. He referenced signing of legislation requiring disclosure of DCF information about certain cases of child fatalities or near-death experiences.
"However, the work is not finished yet," Colyer said. "We cannot settle and we cannot go backwards. We are going to keep up the momentum of these first 100 days as we continue to grow our state for the future."
House Minority Leader Jim Ward, D-Wichita, said direction of the governor's office hadn't changed much since Brownback resigned to serve President Donald Trump at the U.S. Department of State.
Colyer was as lieutenant governor under Brownback since 2011, while Ward recently suspended his campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
"The first 100 days of Governor Colyer's time in office was just like the prior six years of Sam Brownback," Ward said. "The list is just more evidence Kansas will get four more years of Sam Brownback if he would be elected governor on his own right."
Bills kept off Colyer's desk during the 2018 legislative session would have granted 18-year-old Kansans the opportunity to carry a concealed firearm, expanded eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and triggered a massive tax cut that could limit future budget options.
He signed an executive order banning inclusion on applications for executive branch jobs a box to be checked if the person had a criminal record. He also signed a bill raising penalties for repeat DUI offenders. No. 21 on the list was a call for more transparency in state government.
The governor mentioned meeting with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, D.C. He represented Kansas at the viewing of the late Billy Graham in the Capitol rotunda.
"Successfully responded to measles outbreak," his list said. "Broke ground on new Lansing Correctional Facility. Signed bill to encourage poultry producer investments."