Kansas governor’s spokeswoman resigns ahead of his departure


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s spokeswoman is stepping down within days, ahead of his anticipated departure.

The Republican governor on Monday announced Melika Willoughby’s resignation as communications director, effective Friday. She’ll become vice president of communications and strategic development for Forge Leadership Network, which identifies and mentors young conservatives.

Willoughby joined Brownback’s office in 2014 as deputy communications chief. She’s been part of his senior staff since November.

Brownback is serving his second term and couldn’t run again. But President Donald Trump has nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Brownback hasn’t set a date for his departure and the timing of a U.S. Senate vote on his nomination is uncertain.

Rachel Whitten will step in for Willoughby while remaining the state Department of Revenue’s public relations chief.

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