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Democratic Senator Criticizes Regents Appointments

A Democratic senator from Topeka says Governor Sam Brownback is packing the Kansas Board of Regents with too many Republicans.

State law requires that no more than five of the nine regents belong to the same political party.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley said Monday that the governor is skirting the rules, because in February, one of the new appointees changed his registration from Republican to unaffiliated. Brownback said Hensley's criticism is not accurate.

“Well, there have been a number of people who have switched parties in the state of Kansas over time. And I guess at any time you could claim that. But I think these nominees are qualified. I think they meet the requirements. I think they’re going to do an excellent job as regents,” Brownback said.

The regent in question, Shane Bangerter from Dodge City, said the governor's office did not ask him to change his party affiliation. Bangerter said he has not been active in the Republican Party in recent years.