July 20, 2024

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Kansas Republican Party, Governor’s Office in Transition

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It’s a waiting game in the Kansas Capitol, according to Clay Barker, former executive director of the Kansas Republican Party.

No one knows when Gov. Brownback will resign from his role as Kansas Governor to serve as the at-large ambassador for religious liberty in Washington, D.C, Barker told delegates at the Kansas GOP summer meeting in Concordia on Saturday.

“It’s up to the U.S. Senate,” Barker said. If Brownback is confirmed, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Barker said, will move into Cedar Crest, the Governor’s Mansion.

Brownback is one of only two Kansans to serve in the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Senate and as Governor. The other was former Gov. Frank Carlson of Concordia.

The mural, “Tragic Prelude” by John Steuart Curry is on the second floor rotunda in the Kansas Capitol building.

Recently, Barker said, he and Brownback walked around the Capitol building, where Brownback pointed to a mural of a farmer. That is how the Governor hoped to be remembered by Kansans. The pair later passed the famous Capitol mural of Kansas abolitionist John Brown. Brown holds a Bible in one hand, a gun in the other, and a tornado and prairie fires raging behind him. According to Barker, Brownback said he’ll likely be remembered more like the Brown mural.

Barker recently stepped down from executive director of the Kansas GOP to accept a position as a special assistance to Colyer. Barker served as the executive director of the state party for six years. For the next few months, he will continue to do some administrative work on behalf of the Kansas GOP.

“You need new people in periodically,” Barker said. “I think we’re all going to be in really good hands.”

Party chair Kelly Arnold said in a press release that the party will take its time replacing Barker, hopefully hiring a new executive director in January 2018.

“We are thrilled for Clay as this move will ultimately assist our new governor in his transition,” Arnold said. “We are appreciative that Clay has kept us informed every step of the way, preparing us for the transition that will happen at the Kansas Republican Party.”


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