In the wake of Donald Trump’s surprising presidential win, two of the top elected officials in Kansas have drawn attention as possibilities for the president-elect’s new administration.
Politico reported Wednesday that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is a contender for the secretary of agriculture spot in the Trump administration.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is seen as another possible addition to help Trump in Washington.
Kelly Arnold, chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, said Trump would have his pick of qualified people across the country to help his administration.
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“We have some good people to offer,” Arnold said. “And Trump will look at more than just, ‘Did this person help my campaign?’ He’s going to be looking for the best people available to put in these roles.”
Washburn University political science professor Bob Beatty said Kobach’s early support of Trump could lead to the outspoken conservative getting a role in the administration.
Both Kobach and Trump have made concerns about illegal immigration one of their central issues. The Kansas secretary of state could fit in somewhere in the Department of Justice.
Beatty said Brownback could be brought into the fold with the help of incoming Vice President Mike Pence, a fellow governor.
“They both make sense in different ways,” Beatty said of Kobach and Brownback. “But at this point, Kobach is just a natural fit right off the bat. Brownback could be more of just a traditional political possibility.”
Beatty also mentioned Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas as someone Trump could pick for a job in his administration. Like Brownback, Roberts also served on the president-elect’s agricultural advisory committee during the campaign.
Kobach said he’s helping the Trump transition team, with a focus on immigration. But he wouldn’t speculate about changing jobs to help the president-elect. Kobach said he’s also been involved with Trump’s much discussed border wall with Mexico, including how the United States could put pressure on the neighboring country to help pay for it.
“At this point, I’m just really happy that he’s going to be taking office and that a lot of the policies that I’ve helped the Trump team develop are actually going to come to fruition,” Kobach said. “But no, I’m focused on my job here. We’re very busy right now, among other things, defending our proof of citizenship law in court. I’ve got plenty of work here in Kansas.”
Kobach was a vocal supporter and adviser for Trump long before the Republican clinched his party’s nomination for president.
“If he doesn’t know something, he’s going to get the best people that do,” Arnold said of Trump. “And he’s going to surround himself with the best people so that he can make the right decisions. That’s important with a good leader, is having the right people surrounding him. And he’ll need it. He’s not a politician.”