Gov. Jeff Colyer on Friday announced former legislator Tom Arpke will fill a new position to help businesses navigate regulations.

Arpke, a Salina Republican who served in the House from 2011-2013 before winning a term in the Senate, will be a regulatory ombudsman at the Kansas Department of Commerce. The governor described the position as a liaison between the state and companies who already operate in Kansas or are looking to do business here.

"As I have traveled the state listening to business owners, they have told me they need a more direct line of communication when they have questions or concerns about regulations and other aspects of running a business in Kansas," Colyer said.

For the past 10 years, Arpke has audited plants for environmental compliance and safety through his business, Arpke Inc.

"As a business owner myself," he said, "I am looking forward to being able to assist new businesses as they look to open their doors in Kansas, as well as helping existing businesses find simple solutions to their concerns so they can spend more time focused on growing their business."

Before he was elected to the Legislature, Arpke served as the treasurer for Kris Kobach during his 2010 campaign for secretary of state. Kobach was fined $5,000 for inaccurately reporting more than $75,000 in contributions and expenses. The ethics commission questioned Arpke's honesty in the matter, but Kobach said liberal prejudice was to blame.

Arpke lost his re-election bid in 2016 when he was defeated in the GOP primary by Sen. Randall Hardy, who ran on the promise of repealing 2012 tax cuts that doomed the state's budget.