Archive for Info Wyandotte

Kelly jumps into Kansas governor’s race

Sen. Laura Kelly (File photo, Kansas News Service)

by Jim McLean, Kansas News Service

A crowded field of candidates running for governor in Kansas gained its first woman Friday with the entry of state Sen. Laura Kelly.

Kelly, 67, who has represented a Topeka district in the Kansas Senate since 2005, has been an outspoken critic of Gov. Sam Brownback. As the top Democrat on the Senate’s budget-writing committee, Kelly has been particularly critical of the income tax cuts that Brownback said would revitalize the Kansas economy, which instead sent state revenues plummeting and triggered years of budget instability.

“I have watched the Brownback folks totally mismanage the state for the last seven years, and I can’t stay on the sidelines and let Brownback-like folks lead for the next four years,” Kelly said, referencing some candidates in the Republican field, which includes conservatives Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

The 2017 Legislature repealed most of the Brownback tax cuts. But Kobach, whom many view as the front-runner for the GOP nomination, has said he would attempt to reinstate them if elected.

As the top Democrat on the joint legislative committee that oversees KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, Kelly recently announced her opposition to a Brownback administration plan to renew it for another five years. Doing so would unfairly saddle the next governor with a program that continues to generate complaints from providers and patients about increased red tape and reductions in services, she said.

“We have lots and lots of KanCare recipients or their guardians coming to us with concerns about services that they need but are not getting,” she said.

Kelly is the fourth candidate to enter the race for the Democratic nomination, joining House Minority Leader Jim Ward, former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and former state Rep. Josh Svaty.

Svaty, who also headed the Kansas Department of Agriculture under former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, welcomed Kelly to the race but said he would be a better statewide candidate.

“This doesn’t change the ultimate objective for Kansas Democrats, which is to identify the best nominee who can defeat Kris Kobach next November,” Svaty said in a prepared statement issued as the news of Kelly’s candidacy was breaking. “I am the only Democrat that can win votes in every corner of this state.”

Weighing in on Twitter, University of Kansas political scientist Patrick Miller said Svaty’s appeal in rural areas of the state could help him in the Democratic primary but that Kelly is potentially the stronger general election candidate. Though, he said the recent entry of independent Greg Orman lessens the chance that any Democrat could win.

In addition to Kobach and Colyer, the crowded field for the GOP nomination includes former Kansas House members Ed O’Malley and Mark Hutton, former state Sen. Jim Barnett, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer and Wichita businessman Wink Hartman.

Jim McLean is managing director of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. You can reach him on Twitter @jmcleanks. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to

See more at


KCKPS employees receiving fitness trackers

Dr. Cynthia Lane, superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, spoke Dec. 13 during a distribution of fitness trackers to employees at Wyandotte High School. (Photo from Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools)

All Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools employees are receiving Garmin vivofit 3 activity trackers this month.

At a special event Wednesday, Dec. 13, the first group of district employees, the Wyandotte High School staff, received the activity trackers.

The fitness trackers are being donated to employees by BenefitsDirect, the Clay Blair Family Foundation, CBIZ and Guardian. The gift was made possible by Garmin, which worked with the Clay Blair Family Foundation and the district’s health care partners to make the special purchase possible.

Dr. Cynthia Lane, superintendent of Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, thanked the partners and corporate friends for the gift to all employees during the first distribution of the activity tracker devices to Wyandotte High School staff on Wednesday, Dec. 13, in the Social Hall of the high school at 2501 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kansas.

The event at Wyandotte High School also included remarks by:
• Mary Stewart, principal of Wyandotte High School
• Clay and Janet Blair of the Clay Blair Family Foundation
• Jeff Stoppel, vice president at BenefitsDirect
• Dave Krull, consultant at CBIZ Employee Services Organization
• Dustin Nye, key account manager at Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
• Haley Prophet, senior well-being specialist at Garmin

The activity trackers will be distributed to all other school district staff throughout the weeks of Dec. 11 and Dec. 18.

– Information from Melissa Bedford Fears, director of communications and marketing, Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools


Health care signup deadline today

A notable consumer signup deadline for federal health care plans is today.

It is the last day to sign up for the Affordable Care Act health care plans at

There are 10 different health insurance plans offered for Wyandotte County residents. They are under two different companies, Select by Medica and Ambetter from Sunflower Health Plan. Residents may sign up online.