Kelly Administration makes historic accomplishments in 2020

Published: Dec. 31, 2020 at 5:02 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Kelly’s administration made historic accomplishments in 2020.

Governor Laura Kelly says as Kansans say goodbye to 2020, her administration is highlighting the progress it made in the state, despite unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we enter 2021, it’s important that we do not let the events of the last year be exclusively defined by hardship,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Due to good public policymaking and fiscally responsible decisions my administration has made from day one, our state has been able to weather the worst of COVID and protect the foundation that will keep Kansas on the path forward.”

Gov. Kelly said on Wednesday that 2020 has been the most successful year for new capital investment in the state since the creation of the Kansas Department of Commerce.

According to Gov. Kelly, as of the week of Dec. 28, in 2020 alone, her administration has done the following:

  • closed 131 projects in 2020, worth more than $2.5 billion in capital investment and
  • created and retained a total of 13,871 jobs.

Gov. Kelly said since she has been in office, her administration has closed 224 projects worth more than $3.8 billion in capital investment which promises to create and retain 26,661 jobs.

According to Gov. Kelly, her administration remains committed to rebuilding Kansas’ economic foundation. She said in addition to reaching a historic and record-breaking milestone, her administration has worked hard to rebuild the state’s foundation. She said in September, her administration announced the new KANSASWORKS KanVet website to provide veterans in Kansas with specific resources and benefits on a single webpage. She said in November, her administration announced the creation of the Kansas Main Street Affiliate Community Program, which is an initiative meant to introduce more communities to the resources and technical assistance offered through Kansas Main Street. She said again in November, her administration announced that almost 2,000 small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic would get a share of over $130 million in Small Business Working Capital grants. She said her administration has distributed over $34.7 million in Community Development Block Grants to projects throughout Kansas.

Gov. Kelly said she has always prioritized transportation and infrastructure throughout her administration. She said she is proud of the following accomplishments her administration made in transportation and infrastructure in 2020:

  • APRIL: Governor Laura Kelly signed bipartisan Senate Bill 173 into law, creating a new 10-year Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program.
  • JULY: The Office of Rural Prosperity completed the 2020 virtual listening tour to continue the Kelly administration’s work towards solutions that will foster growth and prosperity in rural areas.
  • JULY: The Office of Rural Prosperity launched a partnership with the Kansas Sampler Foundation to engage, empower, retain and recruit young people in rural Kansas.
  • AUGUST: Governor Laura Kelly announces Grain Belt Express transmission line project with Invenergy to save up to $7 billion in electricity cost savings for Kansas and Missouri consumers by 2024.
  • OCTOBER: Established the Office of Broadband Development through EO #20-67, a step towards achieving the administration’s commitment to universal broadband coverage across Kansas.
  • NOVEMBER/OCTOBER: Secured $135 million in statewide funds and Connectivity Emergency Response Grant funds to expand broadband, specifically in underserved communities across Kansas.
  • NOVEMBER: Governor Laura Kelly announced more than $6 million in local transportation, technology projects statewide, marking the first-ever awards for KDOT’s Innovative Technology program made possible by the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program.
  • DECEMBER: Governor Laura Kelly announced more than $5.1 billion in grants as part of the Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program.
  • DECEMBER: Governor Kelly announced the First Statewide Housing Needs Assessment in 27 Years.

According to Gov. Kelly, continuing her promise to fully fund public education and improve access and opportunity for Kansas children, she made significant strides for students and teachers in 2020, despite challenges posed by COVID-19. She said her administration’s success in education for 2020 is as follows:

  • Fully funded K-12 education in the 2020 budget.
  • Secured more than $57 million in early childhood grants.
  • FEBRUARY: Received a $26.8 million grant from the Administration for Children and Families to continue efforts to strengthen the early childhood system in Kansas.
  • APRIL: Awarded $8,943,000 as part of a three-year federal Preschool Development Grant.
  • NOVEMBER: Secured more than $2.1 million in grant funding to fuel 59 ‘All in for Kansas Kids’ Quality Subgrants to help communities, service and child care providers, and other early childhood champions address needs and gaps in the early childhood care and education system through locally-driven ideas and approaches.
  • SEPTEMBER: Secured $21,700,000 in CARES Act funds for education.
  • JULY: Signed Executive Order #20-53, implementing Foster Care report cards to improve the transparency and function of Kansas’ foster care and public education systems.
  • AUGUST: In partnership with the DCF, Governor Kelly expanded the eligibility criteria for the Hero Relief Program and announced additional benefits for those receiving child care assistance to support families with delayed school openings.
  • NOVEMBER: Governor Kelly received the 5 of 5 Award from the National President of Jobs for America’s Graduates in recognition of Kansas meeting or exceeding national performance measures in five categories, including graduation rate and positive student outcomes.

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