Jeff Colyer

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Jeff Colyer
Jeff Colyer.jpg
49th Lieutenant Governor of Kansas
Assumed office
January 10, 2011
Governor Sam Brownback
Preceded by Troy Findley
Member of the Kansas Senate
from the 37th district
In office
January 12, 2009 – January 10, 2011
Preceded by Dennis M. Wilson
Succeeded by Raymond Merrick
Member of the Kansas House of Representatives
from the 48th district
In office
January 8, 2007 – January 12, 2009
Preceded by Eric Carter
Succeeded by Marvin Kleeb
Personal details
Born Jeffrey William Colyer
(1960-06-03) June 3, 1960 (age 57)
Hays, Kansas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ruth Gutierrez
Education Georgetown University (BS)
Clare Hall, Cambridge (MA)
University of Kansas, Kansas City (MD)

Jeffrey William Colyer (born June 3, 1960) is an American surgeon and politician. He is the 49th and current Lieutenant Governor of Kansas. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a member of the Kansas Senate (2009–2011) and of the Kansas House of Representatives (2007–2009). Colyer specializes in craniofacial plastic surgery.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Colyer was raised in Hays, where his father worked as a dentist.[2] He graduated from Thomas More Prep High School before enrolling at Georgetown University, where in 1981 he earned an undergraduate degree in economics and took pre-med courses. After receiving a master's degree in International Relations from Clare Hall, Cambridge in 1982, he obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Kansas in 1986.[1]

Colyer had residency training in general surgery at the Washington Hospital Center (1986–1988, 1989–1991); in plastic surgery at the University of Missouri–Kansas City (1991–1993); and in craniofacial/pediatric plastic surgery at the International Craniofacial Institute in Dallas, Texas (1993–1994).[1]

Colyer was a White House Fellow under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, working in international affairs.[3]

Medical career[edit]

In 1994, Colyer opened his own plastic/craniofacial surgeries in Overland Park, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.[1] He volunteers with the International Medical Corps, providing care in such areas as Iraq, Rwanda, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan where he performed both trauma and reconstructive surgery as well as training local doctors.[4]

Political career[edit]

In the 2002 U.S. House of Representatives elections, Colyer was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination in Kansas's 3rd congressional district; he was defeated by Adam Taff, who lost the general election to incumbent Democrat Dennis Moore.[2]

In 2006, Colyer was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives from the 48th district, receiving 62% in a three-way race. As a freshman legislator, he was selected to serve as chairman of the 2007 Legislative Health Reform Task Force.[3] In 2008, he was elected to the Kansas Senate to represent the 37th district, receiving 63% in another three-way race. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics:,[5] Colyer financed $25,000 of his own campaign.

Gubernatorial campaigns[edit]

On June 1, 2010, U.S. Senator Sam Brownback announced that Jeff Colyer would be his running mate. Brownback and Colyer were elected on November 2, 2010, and assumed office in January 2011. Colyer resigned his state Senate seat on January 10, 2011, prior to taking the oath of office as lieutenant governor.[6]


Despite numerous judges having rejected challenges to the natural born citizenship of Barack Obama, since before he was elected president in 2008,[7] Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach persistently demanded proof of citizenship before allowing Obama's name to appear on the 2012 Kansas presidential ballot. In September 2012, while leading the State Objections Board, and supported by Colyer and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Kobach requested additional evidence that Obama was born in the United States.[8] According to the Topeka Capitol-Journal, the three said they did not have sufficient evidence to whether or not Obama was eligible to appear on the Kansas ballot as a candidate for the 2012 presidential election. They stated a need to review his birth certificate and other documents from Hawaii, Arizona, and Mississippi, before they could respond to a complaint alleging that the president was not a "natural born citizen." "Given the cursory response from President Obama, the Board is merely attempting to obtain additional information before making a decision," said Kobach's spokesperson.[9] The New York Times editorialized that the actions of the Kansas authorities "reignited long-running conspiracy theories that the president was not born in the United States." CNN reported that "the Kansas ballot measure is one of several examples of the birther movement's still-persistent presence."[10]

2014 gubernatorial election[edit]

In October 2013, Kansas state representative Paul Davis, the Democratic minority leader of the Kansas House of Representatives, announced he would challenge Brownback in the 2014 Kansas gubernatorial election.[11]

In July 2014, more than 100 Kansas Republican officials endorsed his Democratic opponent Davis. These Kansas Republicans said their concern was related to deep cuts in education and other government services as well as the tax cuts that have left the state with a major deficit.[12]

In late September 2014, Tim Keck, chief of staff for Colyer, Brownback's running mate, unearthed and publicized a 1998 police report that noted that Davis, 26 and unmarried at the time, had been briefly detained during a raid on a strip club. Davis claimed he had been taken there by his new boss at a law firm that represented the club. Davis was found to have no involvement in the cause for the raid and quickly allowed to leave.[13] The incident and its publication were seen as particularly advantageous for Brownback, who until then had trailed badly in polling, as it could be expected to become the focus of a typical 30-second campaign ad used to characterize his opponent.[14]

Responding to criticism of Keck's involvement in the campaign, Brownback spokesman Paul Milburn commented that it was legal to use taxpayer-paid staff to campaign, responding directly to the controversy, saying, "Paul Davis must have spent too much time in VIP rooms at strip clubs back in law school...[because he] should know full well that the law allows personal staff of the governor’s office to work on campaign issues." In Kansas, however, getting records about crimes that law enforcement has investigated is difficult. The Legislature closed those records to the public over three decades earlier: If members of the public desire incident reports and investigative files, they normally have to sue to obtain them, cases sometimes costing $25,000 or more. Media law experts were amazed after learning Montgomery County's sheriff released non-public investigative files from 1998 with just a records request. Mike Merriam, media lawyer for the Kansas Press Association called the incident "unusual" and added, “they have denied releasing records routinely over and over and over again.” Brownback's campaign capitalized on the 16-year-old incident and distracted the public from criticisms of his own controversial policies.[15][16]

Brownback and Colyer were reelected, defeating the Davis ticket by a 3.69 percent margin.[17][18][19] His appointment of Keck as Secretary of the Department of Aging and Disability was confirmed on January 18, 2017.[20]

On July 26, 2017, Governor Sam Brownback was nominated by President Donald Trump to be U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom in Washington, DC.[21][22][23] If confirmed by the Senate, Brownback's departure would make Colyer governor.[24]

Electoral history[edit]

Kansas House of Representatives District 48 Republican Primary Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jeff Colyer 1,455 63.9
Republican Sherrelyn Smith 595 26.1
Republican Jeff Ippel 224 9.8
Kansas House of Representatives District 48 Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jeff Colyer 6,805 61.7
Democratic Pam Ippel 3,975 36.0
Libertarian Lorianne Fisher Koneczny 243 2.2
Kansas State Senate District 37 Republican Primary Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jeff Colyer 5,202 69.4
Republican Steve Baru 2,285 30.5
Kansas State Senate District 37 Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jeff Colyer 27,311 63.4
Democratic Bond Faulwell 13,249 30.7
Libertarian Rob Hodgkinson 2,464 5.7
Governor's election in Kansas, 2010  [25]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Sam Brownback – Jeff Colyer 530,760 63.28
Democratic Tom Holland – Kelly Kultala 270,166 32.21
Libertarian Andrew Gray – Stacey Davis 22,460 2.68
Reform Ken Cannon – Dan Faubion 15,397 1.84
Total votes 838,790 100.0
Republican gain from Democratic
Governor's election in Kansas, 2014[26]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Sam Brownback – Jeff Colyer 433,196 49.82
Democratic Paul Davis – Jill Docking 401,100 46.13
Libertarian Keen A. Umbehr – Josh Umbehr 35,206 4.05
Total votes 869,502 100.00


  1. ^ a b c d "AesthetiCare Staff". AesthetiCare. Archived from the original on September 5, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Mike Shields. "Who's Who: Dr. Jeff Colyer". Kansas Health Institute News Service. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D". Office of the Governor, State of Kansas. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Post-election, Doctor turned Lieutenant Governor in focus". Lawrence Journal-World. 2017-12-24. Retrieved 2017-03-10. 
  5. ^ Jeff Colyer 2008 campaign contributions Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  6. ^ Rothschild, Scott (November 8, 2010). "Colyer announces departure from Senate; endorses Merrick". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  7. ^ Around the nation, Washington Times, October 26, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  8. ^ "Kan. board delays decision on Obama, ballot". 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2017-07-15. 
  9. ^ "Kansas Republicans: We need to see Obama's birth certificate". Retrieved 2017-07-15. 
  10. ^ "Obama to appear on Kansas ballot after 'birther' challenge dropped". Retrieved 2017-07-15. 
  11. ^ Davis enters bid for KS Governor
  12. ^ Pianin, Eric (July 16, 2014). "Brownback Feeling Big Political Backlash to Tax Cuts in Kansas". The Fiscal Times. Retrieved July 17, 2014. In a startling rebuke to the governor, more than 100 Kansas Republican officials endorsed Davis on Tuesday, a rarity in statewide races and a wakeup call for Brownback, an arch conservative on economic and social issues and a former U.S. senator. The defectors said they are as concerned about cuts in education and other government services as well as the tax cuts that have left the state with a major hole in its budget. 
  13. ^ Strip-club smear campaign orchestrated by Sam Brownback official, says Paul Davis, Wichita Eagle, Dion Lefler, September 20, 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  14. ^ Three reasons the Paul Davis strip club story could hurt him in Kansas Politico, Sean Sullivan, September 22, 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  15. ^ Sam Brownback’s strip-club obsession: GOP governor basing his campaign on a lap dance: Sam Brownback's right-wing agenda hobbled Kansas, so his campaign is now focused on a meaningless 16-year-old story, Simon Maloy, September 26, 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  16. ^ In strip-club case, typically closed records were released, GOP tipped off, Lawrence Journal-World, October 4, 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Election 2014 – Kansas Governor – Brownback vs. Davis". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved April 9, 2015. 
  18. ^ Sam Brownback prevails over Paul Davis for second term as Kansas governor, Wichita Eagle, Byron Lowry & Suzanne Perez Tobias, November 4, 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  19. ^ "Kansas Secretary of State 2014 General Election Official Vote Totals" (PDF). Retrieved March 13, 2017. 
  20. ^ Senate Confirms Governor Sam Brownback’s Cabinet Nominees: Tim Keck for Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services, January 18, 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  21. ^ Lowry, Byron. Will Trump pick Brownback for religious freedom role?, Kansas City Star, May 19, 2017. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  22. ^ Sam Brownback Might Not Be Governing Kansas Much Longer, The Atlantic (AP), Russell Berman, March 10, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  23. ^ Smith, Mitch; Fortin, Jacey (July 26, 2017). "Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas Will Be Nominated as Religious Ambassador". New York Times. New York City. Retrieved July 27, 2017. 
  24. ^ Smith, Mitch; Eligon, John (2017-07-27). "Waiting in the Wings in Kansas: Who Is Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer?". The New York Times. New York, NY. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  25. ^ "Kansas 2010 General Election November 2, 2010 Unofficial Results". Kansas Secretary of State. November 2, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Kansas Secretary of State 2014 General Election Official Vote Totals" (PDF). Retrieved December 14, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Troy Findley
Lieutenant Governor of Kansas