Trump to nominate Gov. Brownback to serve as ambassador


WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump will nominate Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to serve as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

If confirmed by the Senate, he’ll run the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

Brownback is a former U.S. senator and representative. The White House says he worked on the issue of religious freedom while in Washington.

Officials in Kansas expect Brownback to step down when he’s confirmed, but his office would not immediately discuss future plans Wednesday evening.

Melika Willoughby, Communications Director for Governor Sam Brownback, tweeted Wednesday that for now, Brownback is still Governor of Kansas and there will be a press conference tomorrow.

Kansas politicians weighed in on the announcement on Twitter Wednesday evening.

Congressman Ron Estes also released a statement after the announcement of President Donald Trump’s intention to nominate Gov. Brownback for the ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

“Sam Brownback’s commitment to Kansas is admirable and he has served our state and country honorably,” said Estes. “There is no better person to promote religious freedom around the world on behalf of America.”

KSN Political Analyst Jeff Jarman weighed-in on the announcement.

Jarman spoke about the legacy Brownback would leave behind.

“When he was first elected in 2010, he was very popular, he than got additional legislators elected to get his agenda put in place,” said Jarman.

Something Jarman says has changed over the last several years.

“And now he’s leaving shortly after the legislature overrode his veto to undo his signature tax policy, he leaves on a low note,” said Jarman.

Upon Senate confirmation, Brownback is expected to step down.

If that happens, that would elevate Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer to Governor.

Jarman says this is something Colyer had been preparing for.

“I think for Kansas the good news is we’ve been anticipating this might happen for some time, Colyer was working hard immediately after election, in anticipation that this might happen,” said Jarman.

Jarman says the question now is what Colyer will do if he becomes the next Governor.

“We don’t know much about him, and the question is what will he do to make himself known to the state so he can put whatever imprint he wants to on future school finance, future budget, on future taxes,” said Jarman.

Jarman says the timing of all this could leave the Colyer in the hot seat, especially with a decision on school funding for the state hanging in the balance with the Kansas Supreme Court.

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