TOPEKA — Democratic Gov.-elect Laura Kelly completed high-level administrative appointments Friday with selection of Cabinet secretaries to manage the departments of labor, revenue and parks.
Kelly, the Topeka state senator elected governor in November, will be sworn into office Monday. She will deliver an inaugural address, and the 2019 Legislature, including the newly elected Kansas House, will convene at the Capitol.
“I’m pleased to have such a strong group of leaders by my side as my term begins,” Kelly said. “Next week, my team will officially begin our work to rebuild our state on behalf of Kansans.”
Kelly nominated former state Rep. Delia Garcia, of Washington, D.C., to lead the Kansas Department of Labor. She also selected Brad Loveless, a Westar Energy executive, to manage the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Mark Beshears, a tax attorney in the administration of Gov. Jeff Colyer, was named interim secretary at the Kansas Department of Revenue.
Garcia most recently was an executive at ReflectUS, a nonpartisan coalition working to increase the number and diversity of women in politics. In Washington, she worked for the National Education Association. She represented a Wichita district in the House from 2005 to 2011.
“I look forward to working to ensure we have a workforce that is skilled, prepared, innovative and ready to enter a changing economy,” Garcia said.
Loveless, the nominee at the wildlife and parks department, is employed as senior director of environmental conservation and sustainability at Westar. He was the 2009 Kansas wildlife conservationist of the year.
“In my roles at Westar, I have had the pleasure of working alongside the professionals at wildlife, parks and tourism for decades,” he said. “They are dedicated, innovative and incredibly hard working and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to lead and serve them.”
Beshears, chief deputy general tax counsel at the state’s revenue department, will lead the agency on a temporary basis. He was revenue secretary during the 1990s under Democratic Gov. Joan Finney. He also worked at Sprint.
Meanwhile, Kelly said Lee Allen would remain chief information technology officer for the executive branch. He was appointed in July and has more than 20 years of IT experience in the public and private sectors.