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OPINION

David Toland makes sense as new lieutenant governor for Kansas

By The Editorial Advisory Board
Kansas Secretary of Commerce David Toland speaks about his appointment as lieutenant governor by Gov. Laura Kelly during a news conference Monday at the Statehouse.

Kansas Secretary of Commerce David Toland is a solid, sensible choice to become our state’s new lieutenant governor.

“No one works harder or has more energy than Secretary Toland and we are lucky to have him as a state,” Gov. Laura Kelly said while announcing her pick to replace Lynn Rogers, who will become state treasurer. “We are lucky that he (Toland) is willing to accept this new assignment. I look forward to having him by my side as we continue our efforts to keep Kansans safe and healthy, and our economy thrive.”

Toland is younger, which is important when surveying the increasingly gray countenance of Kansas leaders. He follows in the steps of other lieutenant governors, under Govs. Graves and Sebelius, who also served as commerce secretary.

This all seems well thought-out and for the good of our state. We’ve praised Toland’s work at the Kansas Department of Commerce in these pages before. He has already put his mark on the state and wants it to be successful.

Yet allow us a moment to say, clearly, what Toland is not. He’s not really representative of the diversity of our state. He’s not African-American, or Latino, or a woman. He’s not LGBTQ+. He will be another white man in a building that is bursting at the seams with white men.

Kansas is more than its flat, conservative, Midwest reputation would suggest. Gov. Laura Kelly’s rise to power itself shows that. So does the re-election of U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, who will shortly begin her second term in Washington, D.C. We are all part of a diverse, changing state that will only continue to evolve over the coming years. Our leaders will be part of that diverse and changing state, too.

So here’s our hope for Secretary Toland: As you settle into the lieutenant governor’s office, please work your hardest to reach out to every single Kansan. Remember our state’s communities of color. Remember those in the meatpacking plants, in service industries, those who are without a job at all. Talk to these fellow Kansans, and listen.

All of us in this state have a voice, and all of us deserve to be heard. We deserve to be seen. We hope the new lieutenant governor understands.