Kelly’s pick for chief of staff fa­mil­iar to Kansas law­mak­ers

The Kansas City Star - - Local - BY JONATHAN SHORMAN [email protected]­chi­taea­gle.com

Kansas Gov-elect Laura Kelly has a cho­sen a face fa­mil­iar to Kansas law­mak­ers to lead her of­fice staff.

Will Lawrence will serve as Kelly’s chief of staff. Lawrence was pre­vi­ously chief of staff to Sen­ate Demo­cratic Leader An­thony Hens­ley.

“Will is a highly-skilled pro­fes­sional with a proven track record in the leg­is­la­ture of work­ing well with law­mak­ers re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal party,” Kelly said in a state­ment. “He has a sharp un­der­stand­ing of the leg­isla­tive process and the chal­lenges we face as a state. I’m pleased to have him on the team as we work to re­build our state.”

Hens­ley an­nounced that Kerry Gooch, Davis’ for­mer con­gres­sional cam­paign man­ager, would take over as chief of staff to his of­fice.

Lawrence is one of Kelly’s first per­ma­nent hires since her elec­tion in Novem­ber. As an at­tor­ney, Lawrence worked in the firm Fagan Emert & Davis, where Demo­crat Paul Davis – a for­mer gover­nor and con­gres­sional can­di­date – also works.

Al­though he of­ten works be­hind the scenes in the State­house, in Au­gust Lawrence chal­lenged in­de­pen­dent Greg Or­man’s can­di­dacy. He raised doubts about sig­na­tures col­lected by Or­man as he sought a spot on the gen­eral elec­tion bal­lot. Ul­ti­mately, a Repub­li­can­con­trolled panel dis­missed his ob­jec­tions.

Kelly has yet to an­nounce any cab­i­net-level staff since the elec­tion, but has named her tran­si­tion lead­ers. They in­clude Duane Goossen, a for­mer bud­get di­rec­tor un­der Govs. Kath­leen Se­be­lius, Mark Parkin­son and Bill Graves. Natalie Haag, chief of staff to Graves, is also part of the tran­si­tion, along with Joyce Al­le­grucci, who was chief of staff to Se­be­lius.

Kelly’s cam­paign man­ager, Jordy Zei­gler, is also on the tran­si­tion team.

CHRIS NEAL The Topeka Cap­i­tal-Jour­nal

Kansas Gov-elect Laura Kelly.

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