KC Star: Four former Kansas governors stand up to Sam Brownback
By Steve Kraske | Kansas City Star
There they were last week, seated in winged-back chairs at Kansas City’s Union Station: Bill Graves, Kathleen Sebelius, Mike Hayden and John Carlin.
Four of the last seven Kansas governors. Two Republicans, two Democrats, and a fifth, Mark Parkinson, sent his regrets, saying he wanted to be there.
Their message was simple: Kansas voters need to wake up and oppose the push to oust sitting members of the Kansas Supreme Court this fall. Five of the seven justices’ jobs are on the line. If voters knock them all out, Gov. Sam Brownback will pick their replacements. That’s 71 percent of the court.
“We’ve seen an unprecedented assault on the judiciary in the last number of years in Kansas,” Sebelius said. “Something that none of us ever experienced, I think, when we served as governors. This is an unusual time.”
Somehow overlooked in this gathering was just how extraordinary it was. Four former governors of both parties giving voice to a mutual concern. This was probably unprecedented in Kansas or maybe any other state as well.
But something else shouldn’t be lost on anybody. By standing up to Brownback’s vision for the courts, the governors were standing up to Brownback himself. They were taking dead aim at an administration that through its tax and budget policies has done so much to reshape the state they once served.