Kansans chose to change the party in the Governor’s office Tuesday, as Democrat Laura Kelly defeated Republican Kris Kobach.
“Today, I think the people of Kansas really spoke, and they spoke so loud,” Kelly said.
Kelly found a way to get the same Kansans that elected Republicans to every other statewide office to embrace her campaign for Governor.
“They put political partisanship aside, and they spoke with a single, thunderous voice for Kansans,” said Kelly. “Today, Kansans voted for change.”
Kelly said there will not only be a change in the direction in the state, but also in the tone in the state and it starts with young people like the ones who helped her campaign succeed.
“Across America, we are seeing more and more people, especially and fortunately, more young people, getting involved in the political process,” said Kelly. “It is a wonderful thing for our democracy and a wonderful omen for the future of our state.”
Kelly doesn’t see herself as part of some larger blue wave.
“There will be a lot of talk around America about the blue wave,” said Kelly. “I don’t believe that’s what’s happened here in Kansas. What happened in Kansas was a wave of common sense.”
Kelly gave more than a nod to the many Republicans who supported her candidacy.
“This wasn’t one side beating the other,” said Kelly. “It was Democrats and Republicans and Independents all coming together to put our state back on track.”
Kelly knows she needs Kansans of all stripes to make this state work.
“We cooperate, whether on the farm or at school or church, in the workplace, we’re all part of the same community,” said Kelly. “Today, voters across Kansas came together. We chose to put people before politics.”
The legislative priorities for a Kelly administration should be no surprise. Education is first.
“We are going to properly fund our schools this year and next year and every year after that,” said Kelly. “Every year, every month, every day that I’m your governor.”
Kelly also believes it’s time to expand Medicaid.
“Health care is a critical need for all Kansans,” said Kelly. “For too many, it’s still inaccessible and unaffordable. We can build a bipartisan group to get that done, but we can only do this…we can only do anything, if we work together. What we’re seeing in Washington, the division, the lack of decency, the insults and the fighting. We simply have to be better than that here in Kansas.”
Kelly believes it is up to her to be an example.
“I will do everything in my power to set the right tone,” said Kelly. “I will listen every day to leaders from both parties and to the people of this state. We’ll take the best ideas, no matter where they come from and we’ll work together, despite our political labels.”
Kelly closed out her acceptance speech on an aspirational note.
“We don’t want things handed to us,” said Kelly. “We don’t expect life to be easy. That raw grit, that fierce determination is part of our history. It makes us who we are. If we work together, if we put partisanship aside and Kansas families first, then the sky truly is the limit to what we can achieve, together.”
Kelly and her running mate, Lynn Rogers, will take office in January.