Sam Brownback/Jeff Colyer (R) — Governor, Lt. Governor

Sam Brownback / Jeff Colyer (KSN graphic)
Sam Brownback / Jeff Colyer (KSN graphic)

Biographical Information: 

  • Governor, State of Kansas
  • Degree in Agricultural Economics, K-State 1978; Law degree, University of Kansas 1982
  • Secretary of the Kansas Board of Agriculture, 1986-1993
  • Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994
  • Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 to the seat formerly held by Senator Bob Dole; honoring his commitment to serve two elected terms in the Senate, he did not seek reelection. He served on the Appropriations Committee, Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and Homeland Security Subcommittee

Personal Information: 

He has been married to his wife Mary for more than 30 years. They have five children.

Campaign Website: Sam Brownback for Kansas

Do you feel the 2014 Legislature’s school finance bill was adequate? What would you support in a new funding bill?

I was very pleased to sign legislation this year that increased funding to Kansas schools by more than $130 million.  The bill also provided funding bonuses for master teachers and more money for technical education.

It’s been a priority of mine over the last four years to continue to support our K-12 system.  State funding for K-12 has increased every year I have been in office.  More teachers are in the classroom.  Teacher salaries have increased.  At the same time we’ve been able to make strategic investments in programs with results that are measureable and broadly supported.  For example, we’ve dramatically enhanced the delivery of technical education in Kansas and now hundreds of high school graduates are obtaining industry-recognized technical certifications.  These certificates will allow them to support themselves and their families as they either work their way through college or enter the workforce.  We are also funding the Jobs for America’s Graduates program that mentors high school students who are at-risk of dropping out.  It’s been a tremendously successful program that is changing the lives of our children every day.  Moving forward, I will continue to support legislation and funding to effectively increase career and college readiness and literacy skills for Kansas students.

How do you plan to grow the Kansas economy in the next four years?

All signs point to a growing Kansas economy over the next four years.  More Kansans are working now than ever before in the history of the state.  We’ve created over 53,000 new private sector jobs.  At 4.8%, we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.  We are fourth in the nation in new construction.  We are growing.  However, some Kansans have not yet fully recovered from the Great Recession and there is more work to do.

Moving forward, I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to recruit businesses as they look to re-shore their operations back to the U.S. from overseas- particularly in the areas of manufacturing, services, and information technology.  We also need to focus on increasing our exports- particularly our aviation and agricultural products, and recruiting young innovative entrepreneurs to help us revitalize some of our struggling communities.

What specific state issue do you think deserves your immediate attention and how to you plan to address it?

The issue that deserves the most attention is making Kansas the best place in America to start or grow a business and to raise a family.  That will require us to keep the tax burden low on working families and small businesses.  It will require us to make sure our energy costs are affordable.  It will require a stable and business friendly regulatory climate.  It requires programs in our high schools and universities that will train our workforce with the skills and knowledge they need to compete in a new highly mobile global economy.  And finally, we need a state government that understands and respects that Kansans value their families, their faith, and their freedoms- including the freedom to save, invest, or spend their hard earned money as they see fit.

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