Laura Kelly is the current Governor of Kansas. She is one of the governors who are interested in reopening their states in the current COVID-19 crisis, so it should come as no surprise to learn that she has been in the spotlight in very recent times. Let’s learn more about the Kansas Governor.
1. Born in New York City, NY
Kelly was born in New York City, NY. However, it is important to note that she was born into a military family with the result that she moved on a regular basis. In fact, Kelly has lived overseas as well thanks to overseas stationing.
2. Studied Psychology at Bradley University
In time, Kelly studied psychology at Bradley University, which is a school that can be found in Peoria, IL. Said school was founded by the philanthropist Lydia Moss Bradley who had been left a childless widow because of the deaths of her husband as well as their six children. After some study, she decided to buy a controlling interest in Parsons Horological School in LaPorte, IN with the intent of expanding it after her death so that it could provide a classical education as well as other programs in both home economics and industrial arts. However, the president of the University of Chicago Dr. William Rainey Harper convinced Lydia Moss Bradley to move forward with her plan in her own lifetime, thus resulting in the founding of what is now Bradley University.
3. Studied Therapeutic Recreation at Indiana University
Later, Kelly studied therapeutic recreation at Indiana University. For those who are curious, therapeutic recreation is focused on the use of recreation as well as other activities to address the needs of people with illnesses as well as other disabling conditions. Examples range from the use of creative arts to the use of games and the use of exercises. Meanwhile, Kelly went to Indiana University Bloomington, which would be the flagship institution of the Indiana University system as a whole.
4. Has Pushed For Mental Health Services
In the past, Kelly has been known to push for mental health services, which can have an enormous effect on people’s physical wellbeing and psychological wellbeing. Unfortunately, there is still considerable stigma over mental health issues in the United States and the rest of the world, which is a major contributor to people with mental health issues not getting the assistance that they need. Still, that is an excellent example of why people need to continue pushing for mental health services.
5. Has Pushed For Parks and Recreation Services
Besides mental health services, Kelly has been known to push for parks and recreation services as well. This is perhaps unsurprising because she was the executive director of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association at one point in time, which is very much a leadership role. In any case, parks and other public spaces can promote the health of entire communities, thus making them more important than they can seem on initial consideration.
6. Served As a State Senator
In 2004, Kelly was elected to the Kansas Senate. As a result, she served as the member of the Kansas Senate from the 18th District from January of 2005 to January of 2019, meaning that she had plenty of political experience before running for the Governor of Kansas. Moreover, Kelly wasn’t a backbencher but rather someone who held high-ranking positions, as shown by how she was the Assistant Minority Leader in the 2011 to 2012 session.
7. She Ran In an Effort to Reverse Sam Brownback’s Policies
One of Kelly’s main reasons for running for Governor of Kansas was to reverse Governor Sam Brownback’s policies. For those who are unfamiliar, Brownback was elected along with a huge majority in the Kansas House of Representatives, which enabled him to push through some serious changes to how the state was run. Examples ranged from the single biggest income tax cut in the state’s history that shifted the tax burden from wealthier Kansans to low-income and moderate-income Kansans to funding cuts for schools that forced them to close sooner than expected. Combined, Brownback’s policies turned him into the least popular governor in the United States, not least because his so-called experimentation had very real consequences for a wide range of people.
8. Vetoed Two Republican Bills to Further Cut Income Taxes
Kelly’s opposition to Brownback’s financial policies can be seen in how she vetoed not one but two Republican bills to further cut income taxes in Kansas. In her opinion, the state wouldn’t have been able to afford the estimated $245 million fall in revenues over a three-year period, meaning that the bills would have resulted in a financial crisis.
9. Has Faced Republican Opposition to Her Efforts to Combat COVID-19
Those who are curious about Kelly’s response to the COVID-19 crisis should know that she declared a state of emergency on March 12 after the first COVID-19 death in her state. This was followed by the closure of schools on March 18 and then the stay-at-home order on March 28. However, some of Kelly’s efforts to combat COVID-19 has met with Republican opposition. To be exact, the Republican-majority Legislative Coordinating Council voted to revoke her order on the grounds that it violated the free exercise of religion, while the Republican Attorney General urged law enforcement to not enforce the order. Eventually, the Kansas Supreme Court had to rule that the Legislative Coordinating Council had exceeded its authority, thus letting Kelly’s order stand.
10. Planning to Reopen
Kelly is one of the governors who have announced their intention to reopen their states. The exact details are expected for the evening of April 30. However, it seems that the reopening won’t happen all-at once but rather in multiple phases, which should come as no surprise to those who have seen other reopening plans. Besides this, counties are expected to be capable of instituting their own guidelines on how businesses as well as people will have to act so long as those guidelines happen to be stricter than those of the state.