Laura Kelly inaugurated as state's 48th governor Featured

Governor Laura Kelly Governor Laura Kelly Office of the Kansas Governor photo

Governor Laura Kelly plans to focus on equality, education and opportunity during her current term as governor.


Banners with those three words hung behind the new governor on the south side of the Statehouse during her inauguration ceremonies Monday, and those words served as a major focal point during her address.

Kelly also pledged to bring "a new chapter to the inspiring story of Kansas" during her formal address to the state.

Part of the inauguration ceremony also had a distinct local touch. Kansas Poet Laureate Kevin Rabas, an Emporia State professor, read his poem "Kansas Awakening."

Audio is from KVOE's television partner WIBW in Topeka.

Elected to the Kansas Senate in 2004, Kelly defeated former Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the general election back in November.

Monday marked the opening of the 2019 legislative session, and lawmakers got right to work with afternoon meetings once the inauguration activities ended. Kelly also has the State of the State address coming Wednesday evening. KVOE and KVOE.com will cover the State of the State and the Republican response starting at 6:30 pm Wednesday.


"Kansas Awakening" by Kansas Poet Laureate Kevin Rabas

Walk the early green
fields and run your fingers
across the wheat's whiskers
and you will know this land
is not ours, but we belong
to these fields and this simple
dirt, and when we shake hands --
rough hands, smooth hands -- we can
feel that heat, blood run
through the blue-green chutes
of the heart. This land
pulses with us -- the city
office towers with their yellow
lights always on,
the wind turbines, pinwheeling
to the breath of God,
the Main Street teens, music
up, windows down,
dragging that strip of blacktop
in the night of a one light town --
and at dawn the sidewalks
full of noisy kids
in backpacks with lunch sacks
walking to the yellow buses
that honk hope
and to the tough-shouldered
grain elevator, its white pillars
and ribs, that flashes
a lonely light, but holds
abundant, golden grain --
to all these and more
we say welcome: you belong
to this state, like we do, somewhere
in the middle, at the heart
of a body awakening
and coming into its own.

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