|48th Governor of Kansas|
|Assumed office |
January 14, 2019
|Preceded by||Jeff Colyer|
|Member of the Kansas Senate|
from the 18th district
January 3, 2005 – January 2019
|Preceded by||Dave Jackson|
|Succeeded by||Vic Miller|
|Born||January 24, 1950|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Education||Bradley University (BS)|
Indiana University Bloomington (MS)
Laura Kelly (born January 24, 1950) is an American politician who is the 48th and current governor of Kansas. A member of the Democratic Party, she represented the 18th district in the Kansas State Senate from 2005 to 2019. Kelly ran for governor in the 2018 election and defeated the Republican nominee, incumbent Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Kelly was born in New York City to a military family that moved often and was stationed overseas. She studied at Bradley University, earning a Bachelor of Science in psychology, and at Indiana University, earning an Master of Science in therapeutic recreation. Kelly was the executive director of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association.
Early political career
Kelly was elected to the Kansas Senate in November 2004, later serving as Minority Whip. In 2007, she was asked to serve as the Ranking Minority member of the Kansas Ways and Means Committee. Kelly helped to establish the Early Childhood Development Block Grants program in the State of Kansas.
Some of the top contributors to Kelly's 2008 campaign were the Senate Democrats of Kansas, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee of Kansas, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Astrazeneca, the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA), the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association, and herself.
Governor of Kansas
On December 15, 2017, Kelly announced her intention to run for governor of Kansas. In the Democratic primary she ran against former mayor of Wichita Carl Brewer and former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Josh Svaty.
On May 24, 2018, Kelly announced State Senator Lynn Rogers as her running mate. On August 7, she defeated Brewer and Svaty, receiving 51.5% of the vote. On November 6, Kelly defeated the Republican nominee, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, receiving 47.8% of the vote.
Kelly was endorsed by former Kansas Governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. She was also endorsed by 28 former Republican lawmakers, including Kansas Governor Bill Graves, as well as former Lt. Governor and U.S. Senator Sheila Frahm, Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer, Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, Senate President Dick Bond, Senate President Dave Kerr, Senate Vice President John Vratil, Senate Majority Leaders Tim Emert and Lana Oleen, Senators Barbara Allen, David Wysong, Wint Winter, Jr., Pete Brungardt, Ruth Teichman, Barbara Bollier, Audrey Langworthy, Terrie Huntington, Bob VanCrum and Alicia Salisbury, as well as Representatives JoAnn Pottorff, Ginger Barr, Jim Yonally, Jim Lowther, Fred Lorentz and Representative and GOP Chairperson Rochelle Chronister, GOP National Delegate Don Johnston, and current Representatives Joy Koesten and Charles Roth.
Graves said, "Laura Kelly is the only Democrat I have ever endorsed for public office. And the reason I'm doing that now is because I believe so much is at stake in the state of Kansas. I have known Laura for over 30 years. She has all the qualities and all the capabilities that we are looking for to lead the state during this difficult time and to reestablish the state to what it once was." "Laura has integrity, and I know she will bring Kansans together regardless of party to solve problems," he added. Former Republican state senator Tim Owens was the campaign treasurer for Kansas independent candidate Greg Orman, but he stepped down from that post on October 30 and endorsed Kelly, believing only she could beat Kobach.
Kelly described her candidacy as aimed at reversing the fiscal, educational and other disasters of Sam Brownback's governance. She characterized her opponent, who had been noted for his broad disenfranchisement of voters and legal strategies against immigrants, as "Sam Brownback on steroids."
Kelly has said she would like to expand Medicaid and reform the KanCare program so more citizens have access to healthcare.
Kelly has said the experimental Kansas budget by Sam Brownback led to cuts in schools, roads and public safety. She would like to reverse those changes and pointed out that after there were major budget shortages she led a bipartisan effort to successfully balance the budget without increasing taxes.
Kelly has stated that she would like to ensure Kansas schools are funded and focus on improving the performance of Kansas students to be competitive with other parts of the country. For example, she would address the statewide teacher shortage and improve pay for educators. She would also like to expand early childhood programs and increase options for students pursuing higher education.
In her first official act as governor, Kelly signed an executive order reinstating the protections for LGBT workers that Governor Sam Brownback eliminated in 2015.
Kelly has been married to physician Ted Daughety, a specialist in pulmonary and sleep disorders, since 1979. They moved to Topeka in 1986, in part because of the quality of the educational system. They have two adult daughters, Kathleen and Molly Daughety.
|Democratic gain from Republican||Swing||+1.7%|
- "US News - Laura Kelly Upset Victory". Retrieved January 14, 2018.
- "Meet Laura Kelly | Laura Kelly for Governor". www.laurakellyforkansas.com. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
- "Senator Laura Kelly | Legislators | Kansas State Legislature". kslegislature.org. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
- "Governor Laura Kelly | governor.kansas.gov". Retrieved 2019-01-17.
- ""Kelly ending U.S House bid", Topeka Capital-Journal". Retrieved January 14, 2018.
- "Senator Laura Kelly - Legislators - Kansas State Legislature". kslegislature.org. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
- "KELLY, LAURA J - FollowTheMoney.org". www.followthemoney.org. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
- "Brewer promises community activist campaign for governor". kansas. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- Carpenter, Tim. "Democrat Joshua Svaty declares candidacy for Kansas governor". The Topeka Capital. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- "Kelly picks fellow state senator from Wichita as running mate". kansas. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- Almukhtar, Sarah; Bloch, Matthew; Lee, Jasmine C. (August 7, 2018). "Kansas Primary Election Results". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- "Kansas primary election results 2018". kansas. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- "Kansas Election Results 2018: Live Midterm Map by County & Analysis". www.politico.com. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- "Unofficial Kansas Election Results". ent.sos.ks.gov. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- "Former GOP governor of Kansas endorses Democrat Laura Kelly over Kris Kobach". Kansas City Star. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
- Laura Kelly touts growing list of Republican support, WIBW, September 14, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
- Carpenter, Tim. "Two dozen GOP lawmakers endorse Democrat Kelly for governor". The Topeka Capital Journal. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
- Former GOP governor of Kansas endorses Democrat Laura Kelly over Kris Kobach, Kansas City Star, Hunter Woodall, September 4, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
- Orman treasurer resigns, endorses Kelly in Kansas governor race, Wichita Eagle, Jonathan Shorman, October 31, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly hopes to ‘slam the door’ on Brownback’s policies, Lawrence Journal World, Peter Hancock, October 7, 2018. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
- "Election Guide: Laura Kelly (D-Kansas Governor)". KSNW. October 25, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- Almukhtar, Sarah; Bloch, Matthew; Lee, Jasmine C. (August 7, 2018). "Kansas Primary Election Results". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
- "Kansas Election Results". The New York Times. November 6, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
- Governor Laura Kelly official Governor website
- Laura Kelly campaign website
- Project Vote Smart - Senator Laura Kelly (KS) profile
- Follow the Money - Laura Kelly
| Member of the Kansas Senate
from the 18th district
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for Governor of Kansas
| Governor of Kansas