Kelly to appoint Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers to fill state treasurer spot
Gov. Laura Kelly announced Thursday she would appoint her lieutenant governor, Lynn Rogers, to fill the state treasurer vacancy, pointing to his financial background and record in two years of serving as her second-in-command.
Rogers will replace current Treasurer Jake LaTurner in January, when LaTurner is sworn in to represent the 2nd Congressional District.
The treasurer’s post has often been a springboard for those interested in higher office. Joan Finney parlayed her work as treasurer into a successful run for governor in the 1990s, while LaTurner, Lynn Jenkins and Ron Estes all moved on to Congress from the job.
The position is charged with managing the state’s finances but also involves running a number of highly visible programs, including the state’s 529 college savings plan.
Before joining Kelly’s ticket in 2018, Rogers was a state senator from Wichita for one term. Previously he had worked for Citibank in Chicago, before moving to Kansas and working in agricultural finance before getting involved in politics.
Kelly praised Rogers’ tenure as lieutenant governor and said he would make the treasurer’s post more visible across the state, mirroring his work with the Office of Rural Prosperity and his many listening tours he has participated in throughout Kansas.
She said Rogers would “thrive in his new role.”
“Who better than somebody who spent their entire career in banking, but also has a long history of public service to be able to combine those two for the office of state treasurer,” Kelly said in a statehouse news conference.
Rogers said he will seek a full, four-year term in 2022.
In the meantime, he said his priorities would include boosting loan programs designed for affordable housing and agriculture, as well as continuing to promote initiatives like the state’s unclaimed property department.
“I look forward to applying all of this experience in helping protect the financial interests of Kansas,” he said.
The pick drew pushback from some Republicans, who believe Kelly should have replaced LaTurner, himself a Republican, with a member of their party. Such a maneuver is required for replacing legislators but not for those holding statewide office.
Jeff Colyer, who served as governor from 2014 to 2016 and is rumored as a potential rival for Kelly in 2022, blasted the move on Twitter and said Kelly “made a partisan appointment for State Treasurer.”
“She substituted her partisan preferences for the votes of hundreds of thousands of Kansans who opted for Republican leadership,” Colyer wrote.
But the governor defended the move, saying voters trusted Rogers enough to tap him as her lieutenant and would be able to oust him in two years if so desired.
“I know (voters) like him,” Rogers said. “And they will have chance to two years from now, to determine if they want him to continue.”
Kelly will now turn her attention to selecting a new lieutenant with a potentially bruising re-election fight ahead.
The governor said Thursday she has already selected Rogers’ replacement and will announce the pick next week. She said the selection had been shaped by the need for a strong leaded who could fulfill the role of governor if need be.