Governor Colyer Targeted By Gubernatorial Opponents Over Brownback Budget


By Stephan Bisaha – Kansas News Service/KMUW

Gov. Jeff Colyer was on the defense during a Republican forum sponsored by KMUW and KWCH on Tuesday night.

He was targeted by his Republican gubernatorial opponents over Kansas’ budget issues during his time with the Brownback administration.

Former state Sen. Jim Barnett was one of several candidates who attacked Colyer over the Brownback era tax cuts.

“The Brownback Colyer tax experiment brought this state to its knees,” Barnett said.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach also went after Colyer, but Kobach criticized the Brownback Administration for government growth.

“The failure of the Brownback Colyer team was in when they cut taxes, the government kept on growing,” Kobach said.

Colyer brushed off the criticism, saying that was in the past.

“And what has happened over the past has happened,” Colyer said. “I’m looking forward.”

Colyer said he wants a simpler, lower tax system for the state.

During a question about the issues at the Kansas Department for Children and Families, Leawood businessman Patrick Kucera said the answer is more government and church cooperation.

“There [are] huge resources in the ministry and church world and the charitable world, and I believe that’s where the answer is,” Kucera said.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer touted his experience in both government and the private sector.

The candidates also debated school safety, legalizing marijuana and immigration.

The Democratic candidates for governor will take part in a forum Wednesday night live at 6:15 on KWCH 12.

Stephan Bisaha, based at KMUW in Wichita, is an education reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @SteveBisaha. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.