Kansans welcomed with fanfare the swearing-in of Gov. Jeff Colyer yesterday. Flags lined the grounds of the state Capitol and an enormous U.S. flag flanked Kansas law enforcement in dress uniforms awaited Colyer’s arrival.
He took the oath of office and delivered a speech kicking off what may be a short appointment as Kansas’ top executive. Colyer will complete Ambassador Sam Brownback’s term, which sunsets in early January 2019, though he is running to retain the position.
“Today is a new Day in Kansas,” Colyer announced to a crowd in the Capitol.
If inaugural attendees were looking for evidence of how Colyer would lead or what positions he would take, they left disappointed. The new Governor explained some of his background and experiences as a physician and said he wants to listen instead of “blame and complain.” He spoke of Kansas character and Kansas’ presidential son, Dwight D. Eisnenhower.
“Eisenhower taught us that you have to listen before you serve and you have to serve selflessly before— you can lead effectively,” he said.
Colyer’s speech was light on policy however. He said he believes every life is sacred, and that he will always choose “an optimistic path for Kansas.” He only briefly touched on the elephant in the Capitol–how to address a possible stand off between the Kansas Legislature and the Kansas Supreme Court over school funding.
“I will not be responsible for shutting down the Kansas government or our schools,” he said. “This is not Washington.”
Colyer has announced he hopes to retain the role, but he faces a crowded Republican primary in addition to a Democratic nominee and a well-funded independent candidate should he win the Republican nod.
The new Governor has yet to announce a new Lt. Governor. Sources tell the Sentinel he’s narrowed a potential list to a handful of candidates.
Colyer was the state’s longest serving Lt. Governor. He is now Kansas’ 47th Governor.