Lt. Gov. usually a distant second fiddle

By

Opinion

July 22, 2018 - 11:00 PM

The Kansas Constitution requires all gubernatorial nominees to run on a ticket with their lieutenant governor nominees. Much more fanfare has surrounded the process this year than it has in the past. Why?

The state Constitution and recent history do make one thing clear: the next lieutenant governor may become governor someday. Current Governor Jeff Colyer was elected as lieutenant governor on a ticket with Sam Brownback, then became governor when Brownback resigned for his new ambassador job. Former Governor Mark Parkinson took over when Kathleen Sebelius resigned to join the Obama Administration. In neighboring Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson was elected lieutenant governor on a separate ticket, then became governor when Eric Greitens resigned due to scandals.

Parkinson made critical policy decisions during the Great Recession, and also brokered a compromise on the Sunflower Electric Plant which included renewable energy portfolios — quite a record for a two-year governorship. Colyer and Parson are now providing calm hands at the tiller, following tumultuous times under their very different predecessors.

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