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A high-stakes year for Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly

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Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is headed out of a contentious legislative session and into a competitive reelection campaign. Although the Republican-dominated Legislature blocked many of her priorities — including Medicaid expansion and medical marijuana — Kelly says she's confident about her record.

The Kansas Legislature adjourned on Monday, ending the final session of Gov. Laura Kelly's first term in office. The Republican-controlled House and Senate overrode several more of Kelly's vetoes and left a number of Democratic priorities unfulfilled.

"In spite of many efforts to thwart our agenda," Kelly tells KCUR's Brian Ellison, "we got a lot done."

Now the Democratic governor is preparing for a reelection fight coming up this November, where she'll likely face Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. But Kelly says she's a "more formidable candidate" than she was in 2018.

Before then, voters will weigh in on a ballot issue in August, which would remove the right to an abortion from the Kansas Constitution.

"My position on reproductive rights has been clear from the get-go, from the moment I walked onto the Senate floor," said Kelly, a former lawmaker. "I really do believe this is a decision that should be left to a woman and her physician, and not involve politicians."

Kansas City Today is hosted today by Brian Ellison. It is produced by Byron Love, Trevor Grandin and KCUR Studios, and edited by Gabe Rosenberg and Lisa Rodriguez.

Contact the show at news@kcur.org. Follow KCUR on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news.

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As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
Trevor Grandin is a contributing producer for KCUR Studios.