An emotional Gov. Sam Brownback said he has accepted President Trump’s nomination to become the at-large ambassador for international religious freedom, but Brownback doesn’t have a timeline for when he will resign as Governor.
“This has just been made public,” Brownback said. “I haven’t reached out or heard from the Senate of the White House on dates or times for confirmation.”
The Governor hosted a press conference in a tightly packed ceremonial signing office, fielding questions from the Associated Press, the New York Times and local media outlets. He opened the presser joking “This is the day you’ve all been waiting for.”
He listed some of his accomplishments as Governor, and said his 30 years of service have been a “hoot.” However, he said he’s honored to assume the ambassadorship if confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
In his new role, Brownback will report to the U.S. Secretary of State. His job will require coordinating U.S. religious freedom policy between various branches of the U.S. government. Brownback represented Kansas in Congress in 1995 and 1996, before being elected U.S. Senator. In the Senate, Brownback said he helped craft the International Religious Freedom Act, which created at-large ambassador for international religious freedom role. The legislation has since been updated.
Since its initial passage, Brownback said religious liberty has gone in the wrong direction.
“It’s getting less free than more free,” he said. “That’s taken place over the last 20 years since the first bill passed.”
Brownback answered several questions about his tax policy, saying the small business tax incentive adopted in 2012, has been the dominant tax discussion in America for five years. Despite the legislature rolling back the small business tax incentive, Brownback said income taxes are lower today than they were when he entered office.
“I wish they were lower still,” he said. “We opened up an area of tax policy that we should have done more artfully, but this is an important policy move.”
He said the goal of the 2012 tax policy was to create small business growth and jobs. It lead to record small business formation in Kansas over the last six years.
“Our objective on that piece of the tax cut worked. Record small business formation when it was declining nationwide. That was our target,” he said. “What failed to materialized as much as we needed it to, because of the recession, was revenue to the state.”
Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer didn’t attend the press conference, but the Governor said Colyer is prepared to take the helm.
“Jeff is his own man,” Brownback said. “His own person. He’s an accomplished physician. An accomplished public policy person.”