Lynn Rogers

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service/File photo

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday named Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers as Kansas’ next state treasurer, and he said he hopes to expand state programs designed to help farmers and prospective homeowners obtain low-interest loans.

The Democratic governor cited her 2018 running mate’s nearly 40-year career in banking as a key reason to appoint him treasurer. The office will become vacant Jan. 2, when Republican State Treasurer Jake LaTurner steps down to take the eastern Kansas seat in the U.S. House, which LaTurner won in November.

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The number of black farmers in the U.S. is shrinking — down to less than 2% of total farmers — and many are losing their land.

Members of the Kansas Black Farmers Association are working with the state in hopes of reversing that trend.

Gov. Laura Kelly said Wednesday she’ll dispatch her lieutenant governor to a dozen small cities across the state in hopes of crafting a plan to aid rural areas.

Kelly created the Office of Rural Prosperity and named Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers to head it in January soon after taking office.

Rogers will travel to 12 rural communities this summer to “listen to Kansans” and develop “long-term, sustainable solutions” to problems that have spurred decades of population decline in all but a handful of the state’s 105 counties.

Mark Statzer / KMUW

The Democrats running to be Kansas’ next governor brushed off the idea of a tax increase to cover the state’s needs during a Democratic forum in Wichita on Wednesday night sponsored by KMUW and KWCH.

State Sen. Laura Kelly said it’s too soon after repealing the Sam Brownback-era tax cuts to talk about a tax increase.

“We need to let the dust settle,” Kelly said. "We have no idea the full impact of that or the full impact of the federal tax cuts that have occurred."

Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer was clear that he doesn't support a tax increase.

Democrat Laura Kelly all but set the field in the Kansas governor’s race Thursday by picking fellow state Sen. Lynn Rogers as her running mate.

Among the leading contenders, only Republican former state Sen. Jim Barnett has yet to complete his ticket. He’s expected to do that a day ahead of next week’s June 1 filing deadline.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW/File photo

After winning a seat in the state Senate in the general election, Democrat Lynn Rogers says he will continue to serve on the Board of Education for Wichita Public Schools.

State law allows those elected to state office to continue serving on local school boards. In 2000 former Wichita school board member Jean Schodorf chose to keep her seat on the board when she was elected to the Kansas Senate. Her school board term expired in June 2001.