In her first State of the State address Governor Laura Kelly said Kansas is moving in the right direction. She packed her speech full of issues, laying out several specific goals for the legislative session.
Some of her comments even earned postivie response from Democrats and Republicans.
“2019 offers an unmatched opportunity for Kansas to continue its upward climb, but for our fragile recovery to continue, we must resist running to our partisan corners,” Kelly said.
Governor Kelly maintained a theme of bipartisanship throughout her speech as she appealed to the Republican controlled legislature. That message got through to Republicans, Representative Brenda Deitrich and Representative Fred Patton.
“The policy positions we’re going to have to hear over the next couple of days to see what they cost and how we’re going to implement them,” Patton said. “But overall I liked the direction. Lets take things slow and work together.”
“I liked her bipartisan tone. I’ve worked with her now for a number of years and she’s somebody who really truly does believe in compromise and being able to reach across the aisle,” Deitrich said.
She didn’t shy away from the issues either, touching on many of the topics that were central to her campaign including Medicaid expansion and education.
“We’re going to properly fund our schools this year, and next year, and the year after that,” Kelly said. “Every year, every month, every day that I’m Governor.”
Those issues appealed directly to her fellow Democrats, like Senator David Haley.
“Education of our children across the board, irrespective of what our zipcode might be,” Haley said. “Of course, the general health and wellbeing as we watch or hospitals and health institutions suffer, that we now have an opportunity to look towards expanding Medicaid.”
Kelly found the most support promising reforms for the state’s foster care system.
“We must fix our broken foster care system and do absolutely everything in our power to ensure that our most vulnerable children are protected from neglect and violence,” Kelly said.
That plan, earned her a standing ovation from lawmakers from both parties. Democratic Senator Tom Hawk said that moment specifically stuck out to him.
“That should be most important to us in terms of getting our state back on the right track, particularly keeping our children and families first,” Hawk said.
The governor also promised to keep her door open for all lawmakers, ending her speech with ‘lets get to work’.