- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Senate has overwhelmingly confirmed Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s secretary of administration despite lawmakers’ questions about a $20 million state construction project.

The vote Wednesday on Secretary Sarah Shipman’s appointment was 37-2. She was the Department of Administration’s top lawyer and deputy secretary before she began serving as interim secretary in July 2015.

The department faced questions over its plans to build a new power plant for the Statehouse and four nearby government office buildings. The agency is financing the project through a 15-year lease-purchase agreement signed in December with Bank of America, paying 2.32 percent interest.

Democratic Sens. Anthony Hensley and Laura Kelly of Topeka voted against Shipman. Hensley said he believes Shipman misled legislators.

Republican Majority Leader Terry Bruce of Nickerson said Shipman diligently answered lawmakers’ questions.

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