Brownback’s praise sounded, worked like endorsement

Gov. Sam Brownback issued a statement Monday congratulating the new leaders of the Kansas Legislature, saying, “The upcoming session offers us great opportunities to continue our work to grow the Kansas economy, create jobs and improve education.” His spokeswoman said, “The governor remained neutral in all of the leadership races. He endorsed no one.” But it certainly looked like an endorsement when Brownback appeared at the October fundraiser where state Sen. Susan Wagle (in photo), R-Wichita, announced her bid to be Senate president and Brownback spoke of the cancer survivor as “fabulous” and “inspiring.” It also worked like an endorsement, with Wagle capturing 23 votes to nine for Sen. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City. As we said in our Tuesday editorial congratulating Wagle for making history by becoming the first Wichitan and first woman elected to lead the Kansas Senate, the vote confirmed that it’s a conservative new day at the Statehouse: “And it says something about the changing state that the new leaders of both chambers now come from the population centers of Sedgwick and Johnson counties.”