Gov. Sam Brownback is a fan of fried Milky Ways

WICHITA — Why talk business when there’s food on a stick to discuss?

Gov. Sam Brownback was the guest speaker at the Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association’s Evening of Hospitality Monday at the Hyatt Regency Wichita.

He talked about a lot of things, such as the federal government shutdown.

“Hope you’re praying for your country.”

And small business.

“Small business is the engine of growth,” he said to applause.

Not surprisingly, though, his most fun remarks were about food.

“I eat all foods that come my way, so I appreciate everybody here.”

Brownback explained what a dining roller coaster he’s been on the last few weeks.

First there was an obesity summit he attended, followed by the Kansas State Fair.

Though Brownback is partial to Oreos, he said he ate an entire fried Milky Way on a stick – minus the stick – while at the fair.

He suggested it might be something for restaurateurs in the audience to check into.

“I don’t know if some of you want to consider serving that on a regular basis.”

Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association names new president and CEO

UPDATED — Adam Mills is the new president and CEO of the Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association.

Mills has been serving in that position on an interim basis since Don Sayler resigned in August after five years leading the group.

“As interim director, Adam did just an incredible job with starting to move the organization forward,” says Scott Redler, the association’s chairman.

The association, which was founded in 1929, represents the hospitality industry. That includes restaurants, private clubs, hotels and motels.

Redler says the group wanted to take its time in finding a new leader and do an exhaustive search, but he says the right pick was there all along.

“We’ve just been very pleased with his guidance.”

Mills has been the association’s vice president of member services since August 2003 and has led the effort to grow members and also managed their insurance programs.

Before joining the association, Mills owned his own insurance agency in Derby.

“He understands the member benefits that are critical,” Redler says. “It’s a great move.”

Sayler previously said he resigned because of professional and family health reasons.

“I’ve enjoyed association management and the hospitality industry, but the time involved and the stress is high.”