Governing is what is next

Throughout the election just past, while we worked to engage voters in all levels of the ballot, we maintained that the single most important election on it was for Governor of Kansas. Not just because the election of Kris Kobach would mean a return to the policies of Sam Brownback, and worse. But because the position of Governor has the power to promote and stall legislation. Depending on the results the Kansas legislative races, that person would either have to act as a firewall against further extremist policies, or be able to support legislative measures we have been backing for years. As it turns out, Governor-Elect Laura Kelly will get to be a little of both, perhaps a more difficult job, but one she is well suited for.

The Legislative races ended with Democrats losing five seats in the Kansas House of Representatives, but picking up five more, three at the expense of moderate Republicans, which along with some moderate Republican losses has left the House in a more conservative position than last session. The Kansas Senate's lone race did not shift the balance there, making it unlikely that progressive ideas will get much traction in the Legislature the next two years.

But good ideas worked on by progressives, centrists, and even some conservatives, might see some action, and if they do, it will be with the support of a centrist, bipartisan Governor in Laura Kelly. Her entire campaign was run with a bipartisan approach, her service to Kansas to date is one of collaboration and collective work, not grandstanding like the ultra-conservative Kansas Truth Caucus has already begun with their loyalty pledge. If we achieve health care expansion this session—a policy 80% of Kansans support—it will be because Governor Kelly will be able to reach across the aisle to get the votes needed.

Because she understands, and her campaign understood from the beginning, that to be elected Governor, to lead Kansas towards the policies she holds dear, that progressives fight for, she was going to need the votes of Republicans in Kansas. She won election in a state where only 25% of voters are registered as Democrats.

To be more than a firewall, Governor Kelly is going to need the votes of Republicans in the Kansas Legislature.

This is what we mean when we talk about moderates. People who understand that to get the best good possible, we need to do it together, whatever their political opinions may be. Liberals can be moderates. Conservatives can be moderates.

The elections are over. Governing is what's next.

Remember, it starts here. With you. Do more than vote.

Do you like this post?
Sign Up

if you are new to MainStream.

Sign In

if you're a Member or part of our network.