- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A state Senate panel has approved Gov. Sam Brownback’s pick as leader of the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The Senate Confirmation Oversight Committee voted to send Richard Carlson’s nomination for the position to the full Senate, the Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/2h12lbb ) reported.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley was the only person on the committee to dissent, citing Carlson’s role in passing a 2012 tax bill.

“Mr. Carlson, really, led the effort in the House to pass a plan that has basically decimated the Department of Transportation and the highway fund,” Hensley said. “I just don’t believe we should put him in a position of leading an agency that as a result of the tax plan was basically devastated.”

The Brownback administration has taken more than $1 billion from the highway fund over time to help fill previous budget holes.

Carlson took charge of KDOT in July as interim secretary. He was previously a legislative liaison for the Kansas Department of Revenue. Before that, Carlson chaired the House Taxation Committee, where he helped pass the state’s tax bill that severely cut income taxes.

Sen. Ty Masterson, a Republican, defended Carlson.

“He’s been a very effective leader. He’s done a good job,” Masterson said.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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