In a rather stunning development, Bill Graves, a former Republican Governor of Kansas, has decided to endorse Laura Kelly, the Democratic nominee for Governor of Kansas.
A former Republican governor of Kansas is endorsing a Democrat in the gubernatorial race.
Bill Graves, who served from 1995 to 2003, announced he’s endorsing Laura Kelly. Graves said in a video posted on Kelly’s Twitter page that this is the first time he has ever endorsed a Democrat for public office.
“The reason I am doing that now is because I believe so much is at stake in the state of Kansas, and it’s going to take someone with some very capable leadership skills, someone who is willing to work across the aisle and be part of solutions to problems with education, problems with our health care system, problems with the state’s infrastructure, problems with public safety,” Graves said.
Why would a former Republican Governor endorse a Democratic nominee? Well, Republicans in Kansas are claiming that Bill Graves is a longtime turncoat.
This is not unexpected. The modern Republican party is all about loyalty to the party over loyalty to the citizens they are supposed to be representing. So, of course, they are going to go after Bill Graves, and, of course they will use alternative facts to do so. Bill Graves has never endorsed a Democrat before.
Maybe Bill Graves just actually cares about the people of Kansas. And the people of Kansas haven’t been served well recently by the type of Republican that Kris Kobach represents.
Republicans have long sung the praises of trickle-down economics: Just cut taxes, and the economy will flourish as companies and individuals use the windfall to boost investment and create jobs. But a grand experiment in implementing those policies at the state level has revealed a far less rosy reality—and the consequences are threatening to spark a civil war among Republicans.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, launched an “experiment” in conservative policy after he was elected in 2010, drastically slashing the state’s income taxes under the assumption that the move would kick-start Kansas’ economy and rev up job creation. With help from Arthur Laffer, Ronald Reagan’s mastermind of trickle-down economics, Brownback convinced lawmakers in the state to cut personal income tax rates across the board and eliminate the top tax bracket, with further reductions to come. Kansas also completely erased the income tax bills for the owners of certain “small” businesses, totaling 330,000 by this year and including a host of subsidiaries of Wichita-based Koch Industries. The Koch-funded organization Americans for Prosperity helped Brownback push the bill and has remained a staunch defender of the changes. The tax cuts were sold by Brownback with the idea that they would pay for themselves when a renewed economy boosted state revenues despite the lower rates.
Four years after those tax cuts first went into effect, the opposite has occurred. The promised explosion of private-sector growth hasn’t come to pass, as the state’s economy has generally lagged the rest of the nation. In March, the Kansas Department of Labor reported, the state had only 800 more private-sector jobs than a year prior. The loss of tax revenue has decimated the state budget, creating a fiscal crisis necessitating drastic cuts, since the state, unlike the federal government, can’t run a deficit. As the Kansas City Star‘s editorial board recently highlighted, so far this fiscal year, Kansas is $420 million short of the revenue it had the year Brownback’s tax cuts first went into effect.
Bill Graves should be applauded. The State of Kansas has been ill served by the likes of Kris Kobach, who was Sam Brownback’s Secretary of State and did everything in his power to assist Sam Brownback’s elections by suppressing Democratic votes. The people of Kansas should come before political party. Maybe it’s time to give a Democrat a chance, someone like Laura Kelly, who fought against Sam Brownback’s disastrous agenda.
Laura Kelly had other ideas.
The Topeka Democratic senator wanted to know about three sisters missing from a northeast Kansas foster home. Phyllis Gilmore, the leader of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, appeared unaware of their cases.
Then the state’s foster care contractors dropped a bomb: More than 70 children were missing from the system.
The disclosure rattled Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration and turned DCF’s shortfalls into a prominent issue in the Kansas governor’s race. Paperwork filed a week later showed Gilmore was on the way out. She retired later that fall.