TOPEKA (CAPITOL BUREAU) — Two days after being sworn in, Governor Colyer is making changes at the Capitol.
“I think there is a good basis that we can move forward,” said Governor Colyer.
During a sit down interview this week, the governor said he is making an executive order to address sexual harassment, but didn’t offer any details.
“I think everyone should be treated with respect and should be treated fairly, that’s just the basis of it,” the governor explained.
In his first 48 hours, Colyer has made a number of changes to the governor’s cabinet.
On Friday, he named Republican State Rep. Larry Campbell of Olathe to be the new budget director.
“I’m hoping I’m bringing my experience these last few years on the appropriations and on the K-12 funding and put that to good use. I hope I can contribute to the team,” Campbell said.
Campbell explained he’ll be reviewing the current budget to see where changes can be made to address school funding.
In October, the State Supreme Court ruled the state wasn’t adequately funding schools. Districts involved in the lawsuit are asking for $600 million more.
“I think it’s very doable, it’s just a matter of how it gets done,” said Campbell. “We’ll have to figure out how to fund it properly.”
Some lawmakers think the change in budget directors is Colyer distancing himself from former Governor Sam Brownback.
“So he’s decided to have new budget director who will not represent the past,” explained Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka.
Democratic leaders said they were encouraged by a recent meeting with the governor, but explained they need action to show he’s serious about change.
“Don’t bring me in and ask my opinion and go right along like you’ve been going for seven years and think I’m buying that,” said State Rep. Jim Ward, who is also running for governor.
Both Ward and Hensley said an action they’d consider a change is Colyer expanding Medicaid, however they don’t believe he will.
“If the legislature is going to pass it, we’re very likely going to have to pass it over his veto,” explained Hensley.
Colyer said while there are a number of large issues to tackle, he’s motivated by the new revenue numbers showing the state brought in $165 million more than expected.
“I think there is a good cushion there, I’m not going to get too far out ahead of it, but it’s good news for us,” he said.
Colyer has not announced who will serve as his Lt. Governor, that announcement could come as early as next week.