BY BRYAN WEBER
Last Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Governor Sam Brownback as Ambassador for International Religious Freedom with a vote of 50 to 49. This prompted a swift resignation from Brownback, which will take effect on January 31 at 3 p.m. At that same time, the replacement, Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, will be sworn in and take the reins where Brownback had left off.
This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has pushed for Brownback to take on the ambassador role. Back in July of 2017, Trump originally nominated the controversial Kansas governor to the position, but the confirmation process seemed to stagnate and not develop. This caused Trump to re-nominate Brownback earlier this month, leading to a vote being held on Wednesday, January 25.
The nomination was unpopular with the Democrats, receiving no votes from the party. Republicans, on the other hand, were down two crucial members, Arizona Senator John McCain, who is currently battling cancer, and Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who is at a forum in Davos. This required two tiebreaker votes from Vice President Mike Pence. One of which was to end a filibuster and the other was the final vote on confirming Brownback’s nomination. This vote simultaneously led to Colyer fully replacing Brownback as the new Governor of Kansas.
If you do not know of Jeff Colyer, he a Thomas More Prep Marian alumni, held a fellowship in the Reagan administration, received a medical degree from Kansas University, and served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
Although Colyer will be taking the governing role on January 31, he will not hold the seat for very long if he does not appeal to the public. The 2018 Midterm Elections are right around the corner and there are more than a dozen potential candidates looking to take Colyer’s spot, but only time will tell how the rest of the year plays out for Kansas.