On January 14, 2019, Laura Kelly became the 48th Governor of the State of Kansas.
Governor Kelly grew up in a military family and learned the importance of service, integrity and accountability at a young age. She lived all over the world, but she and her family wanted to put down roots in a place with great public schools and vibrant communities. Kansas was an obvious choice.
Kelly began her lifelong career in public service at a state children’s psychiatric center and at a minimum-security prison for boys, where she learned firsthand the importance of accessible mental health care and evidence-based treatment.
Later she became the longtime executive director of the Recreation and Park Association in Kansas. Her role gave her an opportunity to travel to every corner of Kansas, where she gained extensive knowledge of the state and developed a passion for improving Kansas communities and Kansans quality of life.
As a state senator for 14 years, Governor Kelly was a leading voice in promoting healthy families in Kansas and the importance of top-notch public schools in communities of all sizes. She built a reputation as a no-nonsense leader who worked with Democrats and Republicans alike to get things done.
As a ranking member on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Kelly advocated for fiscally responsible, balanced budgets that reflected Kansans’ shared priorities. Her years of experience working on the state’s budget motivated her to take on the serious challenge of fixing far-reaching problems in Kansas.
As governor, Kelly has worked tirelessly to rebuild state’s broken foundation. Since taking office, she fulfilled her promise to fully fund public schools, she led the passage of a comprehensive 10-year infrastructure plan, and she has rebuilt Kansas’ economic development recruitment tools. All while balancing the state’s budget three years in a row, as promised.
Governor Kelly also established the Office of Rural Prosperity, reinvested in the arts and humanities, and reinstated LGBTQ protections to state employees. She continues to pursue policies good for Kansas families, and is working tirelessly to expand affordable health care to approximately 150,000 Kansans.
Kelly has always sought to strengthen early childhood education programs. From her time in the Senate where she helped create the Early Childhood Block Grant, which funded evidence-based programs across the state, to now as Governor, she plans to implement a robust, comprehensive early childhood system that benefits all Kansans. Her legacy will reflect the importance of childhood education and putting our kids on the right path forward.
Kelly and her husband Ted Daughety, a doctor of pulmonary and sleep disorders, were married in 1983. They have two grown daughters, Kathleen Daughety and Molly Daughety, M.D.
Governor Laura Kelly has made it her life’s work to fight for children and families in her community, on the job, as a four-term state senator and now as Governor.