Brownback won't commit to staying until end of session

Posted: Updated:
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback isn't committing to staying in that job through the end of the legislative session this spring.

"I just haven't been commenting about anything regarding Trump administration," said Brownback, during a KAKE News interview in Ashland.

Brownback wouldn't comment Thursday on Kansas Public Radio reports that he will be named the U.S. ambassador for three food and agriculture organizations in Rome. He told reporters he's focused on fixing the state's budget problems and writing a new education funding formula. When asked whether he was committing to staying through the legislature's session, he declined to comment.

"There have been rumors for a long period of time and obviously I've got plenty going on. We've got these wildfires, got budget issues, got school finance, so that's what I've stayed focused on," said the governor.

Kansas is facing a budget crisis and Brownback is trying to stave off income tax increases supported by many fellow Republicans. The state Supreme Court also ruled that the state must spend more on schools.

If Brownback steps down, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will become governor. Colyer also had no comment.

Previous story by KAKE News:

Governor Sam Brownback may be leaving the state for a job in Italy.

A former high-ranking government official, speaking to Kansas Public Radio on condition of anonymity, said Gov. Brownback will be named the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations agencies for food and agriculture in Rome.  

Melika Willoughby, communications director for the Governor's office, neither confirmed nor denied the report, adding in a statement to KAKE News that “Governor Brownback is focused on working with the Kansas legislature to balance the budget and pass a modern school funding system.” 

If Brownback were to leave his post, Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer would become governor.

Further details have not been confirmed. Check back for updates. 

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