TOPEKA — Gov.-elect Laura Kelly embraced victory by promising to foster a leadership style in the governor's office that promoted consensus building.
It is an invitation too good for political advocacy organizations to ignore.
"We’ll take the best ideas no matter who they come from, and we’ll work together despite our political labels," said Kelly, the Topeka Democrat who defeated Republican Kris Kobach and three other rivals. "I will listen every day to leaders from both parties and to the people of this state."
On Wednesday, House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, said the GOP wouldn't be shy about sharing with the new governor.
"We look forward to getting all ideas out on the table and allowing the process to work so we can find the kind of solutions Kansans expect and deserve," he said.
Kelly's transition from state senator to governor lasts into January, but she already received post-election tips from friend and foe on tax, election, prison and immigration reform, and investment in children and health care.
Brandon Hill, president of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, said Kelly should take advantage of her position to expand Medicaid eligibility.
Kelly and the 2019 Legislature ought to view Tuesday's election as a sign voters "no longer want to see elected officials chip away at access to affordable health care," Hill said.
Since 2011, Govs. Jeff Colyer and Sam Brownback used their influence to limit Planned Parenthood's scope of work and financial support.
Eric Teetsel, president of the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas and son-in-law to Brownback, said he viewed Kelly as an "enemy of life, family and religious freedom." He recommended Kelly abandon pledges to undercut state restrictions on abortion and protections of faith-based foster care and adoption ministries.
"Family Policy Alliance of Kansas will never stop fighting for those values, no matter who sits in the governor’s office," Teetsel said.
Annie McKay, president of Kansas Action for Children, said the Kelly administration should broaden high-quality opportunities for early childhood learning.
"If you don't have a plan for kids, you don't have a plan for Kansas," McKay said.
Emily Fetsch, director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, urged Kelly not to revisit tax law championed by Brownback.
In 2012, Brownback signed an income tax reduction bill that triggered deep state revenue shortfalls. The crisis triggered nine rounds of budget cuts, three credit downgrades, and sweeps of highway and pension funds. In 2017, the Legislation overrode Brownback's veto of a bill reversing much of his tax program.
"Before the tax experiment, Kansas had a long history of responsible budgeting and public investments," Fetsch said. "We look forward to restoring that tradition."
Micah Kubic, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, said the governor-elect ought to support Election Day registration and oppose "restrictive voter registration laws."
He asked Kelly to continue criminal justice reforms approved by Brownback and Colyer. He suggested Kelly instruct the Kansas Highway Patrol not to take part in routine federal immigration enforcement.