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Common Sense, Common Ground

August 23, 2019

I want to welcome you to a new medium for me to share my thoughts on current issues and actions we’re taking to grow the Kansas economy. Given the timing of my first post, I wanted to start off with something that is making national headlines and is truly historic: the end to the economic development ‘border war’ with Missouri.

My ancestors were Free-Soilers who came to Kansas in 1854, in part, to fight Missourians. Unlike the border war of that era, I’m proud to say this modern-day version came to a sensible conclusion, with no bloodshed involved. Instead, the end came as a result of both sides coming together around the same table and realizing the conflict would not be solved through further division but, rather, by seeking and finding common ground.

Kansas and Missouri share a thriving metro area that has experienced a lot of growth in recent years and has huge potential for more. But, in order to realize that potential, Governor Laura Kelly and officials on both sides recognized the need to restore common sense to the common ground we share.

Signing doc

In declaring an end to the economic development border war, we accomplished something that had been put off for far too long. We are reigning in the use of incentives that encourage border hopping and refocusing on our main goal for economic development: the creation of new jobs. Rather than continually slicing up the economic development pie—and arguing over the pieces—this agreement between Kansas and Missouri realigns our efforts and, in fact, grows the pie to support the continued growth of the Kansas City metro—which is good news for both states.

I am proud to fight alongside Governor Kelly to do the hard things that need to be done. It was important that we chose not to kick the can down the road on this ongoing struggle between neighbor states and, instead, open the lines of communication and cooperation to help us work together and achieve better results.

I’m grateful to Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Missouri Economic Development Director Rob Dixon and KC Mayor Quinton Lucas for their leadership to help get this done. Through continued cooperation on both sides of the border, we will no longer allow boundaries to define the potential for progress.

This process involved working late into the night with people on both sides of the border—at the state and local levels—following a long and winding road wherever it leads in order to deliver progress, as promised, for our state. This is the leadership that Kansans can and should expect from Governor Kelly's administration and from state government as a whole. We will work hard every day to create jobs, focus on what works and restore the “Kansas common sense” that served our state so well throughout its history.

It is my hope to keep Kansans informed and involved in our efforts to rebuild the Kansas Department of Commerce and grow the Kansas economy. In future posts, I'll share more about our goals to make this happen and updates on our current progress. I look forward to sharing more as we go, and I welcome your continued engagement.

Ad Astra Per Aspera,

-DT

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