In his 2014 “State of the State” speech, Gov. Sam Brownback outlined his priorities for the upcoming year with the biggest focus on education.
Many Democrats agree with his ideas, but some say they didn’t hear any details on how he plans to get there.
Brownback started his speech with a laugh. “… as had been foretold and promised to us: God is in Heaven, the Legislature is back and the crane is gone,” he said.
But Brownback’s message was serious.
“Since December 2010,” he said, “Kansas has added on average more than a thousand private sector jobs every month and our unemployment rate has gone from 6.9 percent to 5.1 percent - tied for the 10th lowest rate in the United States.”
Representative Paul Davis said he isn’t sure about that.
“I’ve been traveling the state and what I’m hearing and seeing is not really the portrayal that Gov. Brownback gave us all tonight,” Davis said.
Brownback got lawmakers from both sides to stand up with his proposal of all-day kindergarten. “Thanks to the growing economy and the work of the Legislature, it is affordable,” he said.
Representative Jim Ward called all-day kindergarten “an easy applause line.”
“But he didn’t show me the money,” Ward said. “He didn’t tell me how he was going to fund it. So the hard questions come tomorrow.”
Brownback said the state has come a long way in the last three years. Senator Susan Wagle agreed.
“We’ve lowered taxes, we’ve put more money back in the pockets of Kansans, we’re growing jobs, businesses are moving in,” she said.
Brownback ended the evening with a positive outlook for the state of Kansas in 2014.
“Our dependence is not on Big Government,” he said, “but on a Big God that loves us and lives within us.”
Said Sen. Michael O’Donnell: “We should be very proud that Kansas is bucking against the national trend, which is more government and less jobs. We are getting by with less government and more jobs.”
As the Legislature gets to work, many lawmakers hope to hear more about the Governor’s plans to reach his goals in Kansas.
“We’re talking a good game,” said Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau , “but we need to walk the walk.”