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The Latest: GOP leaders brush off Kansas governor’s critique

January 14, 2019
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Gov. Laura Kelly waves after giving her inaugural address on the Statehouse steps in Topeka, Kan., Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The latest on the swearing in of Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (all times local):

1:28 p.m.

Two top Republican leaders in the Kansas Legislature are brushing off Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s negative assessment of state government under GOP control during the previous eight years.

Senate President Susan Wagle and House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins said Monday that they will look for areas where compromise is possible.

Kelly was sworn in Monday. She said in her inaugural speech that the Statehouse had lost the “spirit of neighbor-helping-neighbor” and was too partisan.

Hawkins, from Wichita, disagreed but said Republicans will try to work with the new governor.

Wagle, also from Wichita, said she was excited that Kelly ended her speech by talking about finding compromise and reaching agreements by shaking hands.

Wagle added: “I’m looking forward to that and I’ll hold her to it.”

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11:44 a.m.

Democrat Laura Kelly has been sworn in as the new governor in Republican-leaning Kansas.

Kelly took the oath of office Monday on the south steps of the Statehouse in front of banners that declared, “Equality,” ″Education” and “Opportunity.”

She was a veteran state senator from Topeka who pitched herself to voters as a no-nonsense problem-solver who could work with Republicans. The GOP has supermajorities in the Legislature.

Her victory last year drew national attention partly because she defeated Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. He’s a staunch conservative who touted an endorsement from President Donald Trump.

Kelly is the state’s 48th governor.

Her swearing-in followed those of Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary of State Scott Schwab, Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt and State Treasurer Jake LaTurner.

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12:01 a.m.

Kansas’ new Democratic governor is expected to take office promising a bipartisan administration.

But Gov.-elect Laura Kelly and her supporters also will be celebrating a sharp break with her conservative Republican predecessors.

Kelly was scheduled to be sworn in as the state’s 48th governor Monday. Here inaugural address was likely to stress the broad themes that underpinned her successful campaign last year.

She’s a veteran state senator from Topeka. She pitched herself to voters as a no-nonsense problem-solver who could work with Republicans. They control the Legislature.

Kelly’s victory drew national attention partly because she defeated Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. He’s a staunch conservative who touted an endorsement from President Donald Trump that helped him win a narrow victory over Gov. Jeff Colyer in the GOP primary.

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