Governor-elect Kelly announces final cabinet appointments ahead of inauguration

Ahead of her inauguration next week, Governor-elect Laura Kelly announced her final cabinet appointments. She named former Representative Delia Garcia to lead the Kansas Department of Labor, Mark Beshears to lead the Kansas Department of Revenue, Brad Loveless to lead the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, and Lee Allen will continue as Chief Information Technology Officer.

“Next week, my team will officially begin our work to rebuild our state on behalf of Kansans,” said Kelly. “I’m pleased to have such a strong group of leaders by my side as my term begins.”

Former Representative Delia Garcia will serve as secretary of labor. She represented the 103rd House District of Kansas from 2005 to 2011. During that time, she served on the House Labor & Commerce Committee, Local Government Committee and more. Most recently, she worked as the chief executive officer of ReflectUS, a nonpartisan coalition working to increase the number of women in public office and increase diversity in representation across the racial, ideological, ethnic, and geographic spectrum.

“Delia Garcia has broad experience from her work in Wichita, Topeka, and Washington, D.C.,” said Kelly. “I know she will bring energy, hard work and new ideas to our administration.”

Previously, Garcia worked at the National Education Association in Washington, D.C., and the National Migrant Seasonal Head Start Association. In Wichita, she managed her family’s small business, Connie’s Mexico Café Inc., Kansas’ oldest family-owned Mexican restaurant.

“I look forward to working to ensure we have a workforce that is skilled, prepared, innovative and ready to enter a changing economy,” said Garcia. “Understanding the trending dynamics of our economy, I look forward to collaborating with peers in our Department of Commerce to make Kansas a more competitive state.”

Brad Loveless will serve as secretary of wildlife, parks and tourism. He is the senior director of environmental conservation and sustainability at Westar Energy, managing environmental stewardship. Previously, he was the director of biology and conservation programs. Earlier, he held several environmental management positions at Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation.

“Brad Loveless has spent his career working to protect Kansas’ natural resources and ensure businesses operate in a safe and compliant manner,” said Kelly. “He is a scientist and outdoorsman who will bring a new vision to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.”

Loveless has been active on numerous boards, including the Kansas Land Trust Board, Kansas Water Authority, Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education, and Kansas Alliance of Wetlands and Streams. He received many awards for his work, including being recognized as the 2009 Kansas Wildlife Conservationist of the Year.

“In my roles at Westar I have had the pleasure of working alongside the professionals at wildlife, parks and tourism for decades,” said Loveless. “They are dedicated, innovative and incredibly hard working and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to lead and serve them.”

Lee Allen will continue as executive branch chief information technology officer (CITO). He was appointed as the state’s CITO in July. Allen came to the position with more than 20 years of IT experience in both the public and private sectors, most recently serving eight years with Kansas human services departments.

“Lee Allen will continue to lead the state’s technology efforts at this critical time for our state,” said Kelly. “Technology changes and modernization will be key to our state’s ability to serve all Kansans.”

Allen has unique experience overseeing IT inside state agencies and deep understanding of the development and implementation of IT strategies that work for state business units while accomplishing key administration goals. Allen currently serves on the state’s Information Technology Advisory Board as well as the Information Technology Executive Council. He holds an MBA and is a veteran of the U.S. Army.

“I am honored to be selected by Gov-elect Kelly to continue serving as the chief information technology officer,” said Allen. “Technology is essential to the way the state provides services to our citizens. We will continue to focus on strengthening the security and improving service levels for all state agencies.”

Mark Beshears will lead the Kansas Department of Revenue for an interim period. He is currently the chief deputy general tax counsel for the Kansas Department of Revenue. Beshears served as the secretary of revenue in the early 1990s under Governor Joan Finney.

“Mark Beshears has had a long, successful career as an expert in state and local tax issues,” said Kelly. “I’m grateful Mark stepped up to lead again as we transition into a new administration and new chapter for Kansas.”

Beshears worked at SPRINT for over twenty years, serving as senior counsel and assistant vice president of state and local tax.

“It is an honor and privilege to be asked to serve in the administration of Governor-elect Kelly,” said Beshears. “I look forward to working with her administration to make Kansas a great place to own a business, work, raise a family and enjoy the wonderful natural resources and beauty of this great state.”