Karin Brownlee

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Karin Brownlee
Kansas Secretary of Labor
In office
January 7, 2011 – September 20, 2012[1]
Nominated by Sam Brownback
Preceded by Jim Garner
Succeeded by Lana Gordon[2]
Member of the Kansas Senate from the 23rd district
In office
January 13, 1997 – January 10, 2011
Succeeded by Rob Olson
Personal details
Born Olathe, Kansas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Doug Brownlee
Website karinbrownlee.com

Karin Brownlee was a Republican member of the Kansas Senate, representing the 23rd District since 1996. She was nominated by Governor Sam Brownback to serve as his Secretary of Labor.[3] Her nomination was confirmed by the State Senate and she subsequently resigned her Senate seat, effective January 10, 2011, when Governor Brownback was sworn in.[4] She was later by her own report fired by Governor Brownback.[5] She was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1996 and was the vice-chair of the Johnson County Republican Party from 1994 to 1996. She was also involved in the Kansas Republican Party State Committee from 1993 to 1996 and was chair of the Olathe Republican Party from 1992 to 1994.

Committee assignments[edit]

Brownlee served on these legislative committees:[6]

  • Commerce (Chair)
  • Financial Institutions and Insurance (vice-chair)
  • Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and Regulations
  • Assessment and Taxation
  • Confirmation Oversight
  • Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight
  • Transportation
  • Utilities

Major donors[edit]

Some of the top contributors to Brownlee's 2008 campaign, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics:[7]

Kansas Republican Senatorial Committee, Kansas Bankers Association, Kansas Association of Realtors, Kansas Contractors Association, Koch Industries, Kansas Medical Society

Financial, insurance, and real estate companies were her largest donor group.

Career after politics[edit]

Kansas Department of Labor[edit]

In early January 2011 Brownlee took office as Secretary in the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL). She claimed that the upgrading of the unemployment claims technology project commenced in 2005 was being mismanagement and brought in an outside technology company to review work to date.[8]

In August 2011 Brownlee terminated the employment of asthma sufferer Kathleen Arbogast who filed suit against KDOL in January 2013 claiming discrimination and retaliation and seeking $100.000 in damages. Abogats had complained about staff wearing perfume and other fragrances interfered with her ability to perform her duties. She was moved to the basement to remove her from such contact but claimed that the fragrances worn by other workers visiting her continued her asthma problems. KDOL sought to have the lawsuit dismissed but the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas denied the motion,[9] KDOL then appealed to the 10th circuit court which affirmed the decision in the District Court.[10] The case moved to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas which brought down its decision 9 September 2016. In the discussion it found that, " ... Plaintiff has pointed the Court to no statutory authority indicating that KDOL has the capacity to be sued. Accordingly, the Court grants Defendant’s motion to dismiss."[11]

In September 2012 Brownlee was removed from KDOL by Gov. Sam Brownback without explanation.[12]

Kansans for Wind Energy[edit]

In December 2013 Kansans for Wind Energy, announced that Brownlee had joined their organisation as a spokesperson to promote the use of wind energy in Kansas and the building of wind farms.[13] In 2015 she was still affiliated with Kansans for Wind Energy and also a lobbyist for NextEra Energy arguing against cutting renewable energy incentives.[14] She is a registered lobbyist with Capitol Advantage.[15]

Olathe Chamber's Business To Government (B2G) Steering Committee[edit]

The Government Affairs Groups purpose is to meet with elected officials to promote their platform with Brownlee actively involved July 2015-June 2016. It is a part of the Chamber of Commerce.[16]


  1. ^ Department of Labor leadership change
  2. ^ "Home Page". Kansas Department of Labor. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Koranda, Jeannine (December 7, 2010). "Brownback announces nominations for several cabinet positions". Wichita Eagle. 
  4. ^ Kansas Secretary of State Official Twitter Feed
  5. ^ Associated Press/ Desert News
  6. ^ Kansas Senate profile Archived 2010-02-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Brownlee 2008 campaign contributions
  8. ^ "Massive waste, Inefficiency in Labor Dept Technology Upgrade, Secretary Says 25 March 2011". KansasWatchdog org. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  9. ^ "Federal appeals court rejects Kansas Department of Labor's claim of immunity from lawsuit 20 June 2015". cjonline. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  10. ^ "United Staes Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit 19 June 2015" (PDF). US Courts. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  11. ^ "In the Unites States District Court for the District of Kansas Kathleen Arbogast Plaintiff v. State of Kansas, Department of Labor 9 September 2016". Kansas District US Court. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  12. ^ "Kansas labor chief says governor fired her 20 September 2012". LJWorld. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  13. ^ "Former state senator and cabinet secretary joins Kansans for Wind Energy as spokesperson 26 December 2013". Kansans for wind energy. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  14. ^ "Kansas Legislature mulls slashing renewable energy incentives 23 March 2015". PennEnergy. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  15. ^ "About Capitol Advantage". Capitol Advantage. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  16. ^ "B2G Steering Committee". Olathe Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 

External links[edit]