Kansas Senate confirms appointees to higher education board

March 2, 2022 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Kansas Senate on Wednesday confirmed three people appointed by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly to the state board that oversees higher education, despite opposition from some GOP conservatives to two of them.

Former state Sen. Wint Winter Jr., of Lawrence; former Kansas City, Kansas, school Superintendent Cynthia Lane, and former BNSF Railway CEO Carl Ice, of Manhattan, have been serving on the state Board of Regents since June. Had the Senate rejected their appointments, they would have been forced to step down, but they now will serve four-year terms.

Senate President Ty Masterson, a conservative Andover Republican, backed their appointments, helping them in a chamber with a 29-11 GOP majority.

The vote on Winter was 24-9, with five GOP senators abstaining. The vote on Lane was 23-11, with four GOP senators passing. The vote on Ice was 38-0. Two Republican senators were absent.

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Winter is a moderate Republican who served in the state Senate from 1982 through 1992 and later became known for criticizing conservatives and supporting Democratic candidates, including Kelly in 2018.

Lane served as the Kansas City, Kansas, superintendent from 2010 until 2018, and her district sued the state over education funding.

Conservatives argued that Winter and Lane were not entirely forthcoming in filling out the Senate’s confirmation questionnaire, something they disputed.