Leadership Overland Park Session 3 – State Government

Posted on Monday, March 12th, 2012 by
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Group Photo at State Capital

What a full day! For Leadership Overland Park’s third session, we joined with other chamber of commerce groups from Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee and Northeast Johnson County we bused to Topeka for a day of learning about our Kansas state government. After a brief tour of the Capitol along with views from the gallery of both the House and Senate chambers, we took a group photo with Governor Sam Brownback. The Capitol is a very nice building. I’ve driven by numerous times but never been inside. After 10 years of renovations, the end is near… the ongoing construction is supposed to finish next year.

The remainder of the morning was spent listening to the Secretary of Revenue, Secretary of Labor and the Director of Appointments and Boards. I enjoyed learning more about the details of the jobs these folks do. Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan is determined to reform the KS tax code. He feels a lower income tax rate will be a boom to our economy. Karin Brownlee is the current Secretary of Labor for Kansas and she talked with us about the steps they are trying to take to reverse a common stereotype about government – that government workers are not always highly motivated to excel at their work. She is working on ways to reward those employees who do go above and beyond and finding ways to motivate those who might be guilty of taking the “close enough for government work” mentality. She’s also made a point of identifying wasted spending in her department and fixing the problems that were causing it. Kim Borchers is the Director of Appointments and Boards, a job I had never heard of before. Governors can’t be experts on all topics, so she facilitates a large number of boards comprised of experts in various industries. These boards provide information the Governor uses to help make informed decisions about a topic. She indicated this was a great way for people to get involved in government; experts are needed in all sorts of areas. A list of those boards is available on this website: Gubernatorial Appointments.

After lunch the Governor joined us for a question and answer session where he shared his plans for governing Kansas. He talked candidly with us about how nice it is to be back in Kansas after his years spent in Washington DC and also how he thinks that Johnson County represents a major engine in the Kansas economy. Like Secretary Jordan, he too thinks a reformed tax code would be a big boost to small businesses in our state. He also would like to see teacher salaries be increased for the best teachers in our state. If you’re good at something, you should be rewarded for it. And he wants to maintain the quality of our road network in the state. We have a strong transportation industry and he wants to keep it that way. My company strongly agrees with him on this one!!

 

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