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Brownback defends his record and delegates give him a standing O

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback spoke to his state’s delegates at the Republican convention Thursday.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback spoke to his state’s delegates at the Republican convention Thursday. The Kansas City Star

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback offered a stout defense of his record Thursday, asking Kansas delegates to the Republican National Convention, “What hasn’t worked here?”

Citing his work cutting taxes creating jobs and boosting the state pension system, Brownback said his team has done “extraordinary things.”

“The country,” the two-term governor said, “has watched. And they’ve seen.”

Brownback was greeted with a standing ovation and received encouragement to keep going. He said state media isn’t reporting on the positive developments in Kansas, such as its below-4 percent jobless rate. He urged delegates to take to social media to spread a more positive story.

“You get beaten up a lot in this business,” he said. “I’ve been beaten up more than two rented mules. It’s a contact sport.”

Democrats, some fellow Republicans and editorial pages around the state have sharply criticized Brownback for the shape of the state budget, the downgrading of Kansas’ bond rating and tax increases that have hit the poor the hardest.

But Brownback insisted his controversial 2012 business tax cuts have resulted in record small-business creation and a shifting of financial resources from Missouri to Kansas for the first time in 18 years.

Meantime, the state has had to overcome a downturn in its economy both in the oil and farm sectors.

“What we’ve done is right. It’s working,” Brownback said. “It’s going to pay off long-term.”

Steve Kraske: 816-234-4312, @stevekraske

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