Contact:
Jane Moore
jane@kansasdems.org

 

September 21, 2021

DEMOCRATIC LEADERS RESPOND TO NEW REPORTS ON THE SYSTEMIC FAILURE TO SUPPORT THE KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Topeka, KS – Kansas Democratic leaders responded to reports by Topeka Capital-Journal and Associated Press confirming the failures of the Brownback Administration and their Republican enablers responsible to address the systemic issues facing the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) prior to pandemic.

Treasurer Lynn Rogers said: “The Republican supermajority has spent the last 10 years gutting state government, and they have spent the last 18 months outraged that the infrastructure is not in place to support Kansans in a time of crisis. The political games of the Republican supermajority have to stop. Their action — or inaction — has forever changed the lives of so many. Kansans deserve leaders that put partisan politics aside to solve the real problems affecting real people.”

Senate Democratic Leader Dinah Sykes said: “Kansans have suffered the consequences of chronically underfunded public services for years, from our public schools to our unemployment system. What we’ve experienced with the Department of Labor in this time of extreme systemic stress is an unfortunate – but predictable – result of austerity policies explicitly designed to undermine state agencies. Republicans had control over state government for the 8 years prior to Governor Kelly’s election, and have spent enormous energy since then avoiding responsibility for the system they neglected and sabotaged for close to a decade.”

House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer said: “For decades, the unemployment system in Kansas has needed updating. Despite holding the majority — and most of the time, the supermajority — the Kansas GOP ignored red flag after red flag. They had every opportunity to modernize the system to prevent failures like we have witnessed this year. Like they did with our roads, our schools, and our hospitals, the Republicans cheaped out. Rather, they gave tax breaks to giant multinational corporations instead of local businesses and families who need it the most.

Now, when we have a Democratic Governor, they are suddenly up in arms. It wasn’t the suffering of their constituents that propelled them to call for action. It was the opportunity for partisan political bickering that motivated the Kansas GOP to pay attention to our state’s unemployment infrastructure.”

Kansas Democratic Party Chairwoman Vicki Hiatt said: “Republican Governor Sam Brownback’s legacy is an unfortunate stain on Kansas. The detrimental decisions made by the Brownback administration created lasting effects that we are still seeing today; specifically, negligence toward much-needed IT improvements left the Kansas Department of Labor in a mess. We know how strong leadership impacts our state, and Governor Kelly took action to fix the Republican Party’s mess and fast-tracked the modernization of KDOL’s IT system. Although Republicans politicized the department during an unprecedented pandemic, Kansans know that Governor Kelly put politics aside to do what’s best for all Kansans.”

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Paid for by the Kansas Democratic Party, Yolanda Taylor, Treasurer

Kansas Democratic Party
501 SE Jefferson St
Suite 30
Topeka, KS 66607
United States