Gov. Sam Brownback’s spokeswoman is leaving her job as her boss prepares to join the Trump administration.
Melika Willoughby said in a statement Monday that this week will be her last working for the Kansas Republican. Willoughby took over the communications director role for the governor’s office last November.
“Governor Brownback’s commitment to expanding the freedoms of our citizens, empowering struggling Kansans through the dignity of work, and defending vulnerable unborn lives is peerless,” Willoughby said in the statement. “It’s been a distinct honor to serve on his staff in defense of these principles that make Kansas great.”
Willoughby was often the public face of the Brownback administration during a heated 2017 legislative session that saw Brownback’s 2012 tax cuts rolled back by the GOP-dominated Kansas Legislature.
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“I am deeply grateful for Melika’s service to the state of Kansas,” Brownback said in a statement. “She has been a tireless warrior for conservative principles and an advocate for making Kansas the best state in America to raise a family and grow a business.”
President Donald Trump last month picked Brownback to become the next ambassador at-large for international religious freedom. He is expected to leave office before his term ends in early 2019, elevating Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to the governorship.
Willoughby worked for Brownback as deputy communications director for two years, according to a press release from the governor’s office, before taking the lead communications job.
She gained notice during her time working for Brownback for emails she would send to the governor’s supporters. Those messages include an instance in which she described Medicaid expansion as an “Obamacare ruse” and “morally reprehensible.”
Willoughby’s next job will be vice president of communications and strategic development for the Forge Leadership Network, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
Bryan Lowry contributed to this report.