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Governor Kelly Announces $28.5M for High-Speed Internet Infrastructure Governor Laura Kelly announced today that $28.5 million in grants were awarded to 12 entities through the Lasting Infrastructure and Network Connectivity (LINC) program. The LINC program provides strategic funding for crucial aspects of broadband connectivity to reduce the cost of internet service, increase availability, and improve performance. Governor Kelly Announces $5M to Expand Access to High-Speed Internet in Rural Kansas Communities Governor Laura Kelly today announced that $5 million has been awarded to eight internet service providers (ISPs) in the latest round of Broadband Acceleration Grants for 2023. The awards will be paired with an additional $6.6 million in matching funds, resulting in an investment of nearly $12 million for high-speed broadband access projects across 10 rural Kansas counties. Commerce Program Opens Employment Pathway for Justice-Involved Kansans KANSASWORKS, a division of the Kansas Department of Commerce, is taking significant strides to empower justice-involved individuals across the state through the Re-entry Specialized Employment Counseling & Training (ReSpECT)WORKS program. This program provides intensive case management and career navigation for eligible individuals released from the prison system in Kansas. Governor Kelly Proclaims Apprenticeship Week in Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has proclaimed this week, November 12-17, Apprenticeship Week in Kansas. National Apprenticeship Week is an annual event to promote the essential role apprenticeships play in developing a skilled and vibrant workforce here in Kansas. In September 2022, Governor Kelly created the Office of Registered Apprenticeship within the Kansas Department of Commerce to promote the creation of registered apprenticeships as a tool for developing the state’s workforce. View All


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Capitol Insider podcast: Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers leads rural prosperity efforts

Feb 17, 2019

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Tim Carpenter


Feb 17, 2019 at 5:00 PM Feb 18, 2019 at 10:41 AM

The heart of Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers’ rural development initiative is the search for a basket of remedies to quality of life challenges eroding communities outside the state’s urban centers.

The administration’s new Office of Rural Prosperity intends to grapple with housing shortages, financially struggling hospitals and shuttered businesses on main street. Priorities include boosting access to broadband services, expanding manufacturing jobs and driving tourism.

“We’re just getting started,” Rogers said on Capitol Insider, a podcast of The Topeka Capital-Journal. “It’s not going to be the state’s job to fix everything, but what we hope this office will do is shine resources and shine a spotlight on rural Kansas. I tell people, in a lot of cases, rural Kansas will have a seat at the table. When we look at policy initiatives or programs, we want to ask the question: How will this affect rural Kansans and the way of life of rural Kansans?”

Rogers is a former agriculture banker who represented a Wichita district in the Kansas Senate before the November election victory of Democrat Laura Kelly in the race for governor.

“One of the things we heard from the campaign is people throughout the state, no matter where they were at, didn’t feel like they were being listened to,” Rogers said.

He said sources of potential economic development funding from the township to federal levels would be identified. Strategies working in cities and towns will be chronicled so others don’t have to reinvent the wheel, he said. The Kelly administration can assist by bringing ideas and resources together, he said.

Rogers said rural housing shortages meant school districts or small businesses had difficulty retaining employees. Lenders are reluctant to make home loans and municipal governments can’t afford infrastructure necessary to support residential expansion, he said.

“We’ve got to look at some grants and some tax credits,” the lieutenant governor said. “How do we put those in effect so they have the biggest bang for the buck?”

He said the state could target construction of four-lane highways to enable more communities to bid on major business expansion projects.

Kelly proposed expansion of Medicaid eligibility to about 150,000 Kansans, which would funnel millions of dollars to rural and urban hospitals. The federal government would pay 90 percent of expansion costs.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate have raised financial objections to deepening access to Medicaid in Kansas.

“Medicaid expansion won’t save rural hospitals,” said House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita. “Utilization of hospitals has fundamentally changed. You simply can’t keep a 25-bed hospital staffed when you don’t have people in beds.”

Rogers said anxiety about availability of health care was often raised by Kansans interacting with the Kelly administration. He said people were aware of hospitals closing down, failing to meet payroll or losing medical professionals.

“With the expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska — you know, that got passed in the election in November — they’re fearful that many of our health care professionals on the northern tier will take jobs in Nebraska because they’ll have a little bit more money to hire people,” he said.

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