The Buzz

Kansas U.S. attorney Barry Grissom will step down Friday


Barry Grissom, who has served as the U.S. attorney for Kansas since 2010, will step down on Friday, he told The Buzz.

He said he will go into private practice, but added that he can’t reveal the firm he’ll join until he’s left his position.

Tom Beall, the first assistant U.S. attorney, will succeed Grissom until President Barack Obama makes an appointment or, if he doesn’t, the next president makes one.

Grissom, 62, said he tendered his resignation to the president about 10 days ago. A formal announcement is expected Monday.

It’s not unusual for presidential appointees to depart before a president’s term ends. Grissom said many of his colleagues have already stepped down.

He said he’s proud of the fact that he met with so many law enforcement officials in rural and western Kansas and “put a face on the federal government.

“A common refrain was, `This is the first time I met a U.S. attorney,’” Grissom said of a response he often received. “We never took the position that we were the big, tough federal government. We always treated law enforcement as our partners, as they are.”

Other achievements included the indictments of 22 gang members in Dodge City in 2012 that resulted in a dramatic decrease in crime in that city and a crackdown against business owners who hired undocumented immigrants.

He’s been critical of efforts to bar refugees from certain states or from the United States.

Grissom, a Democrat from Leawood, said he’s received encouragement to run for political office someday. The office that most interests him is the U.S. Senate.

“It’s always a question of timing,” he said. “There are always family considerations.”

A run won’t happen this year when Republican Jerry Moran is seeking re-election, he said. The next Senate election in Kansas would be in 2020 when the seat that Republican Pat Roberts’ holds would be up again.