The Kansas Senate voted to confirm Friday secretaries of the state departments of agriculture and of wildlife and parks, along with a pair of Gov. Laura Kelly's nominees to lead commissions on securities and gambling.
The four Kelly administration officials fell short of unanimous confirmation because of the dissent of Sen. John Doll, a Garden City independent, who voted against them all to protest a lack of western Kansans in the governor's Cabinet.
Michael Beam, who worked for the Kansas Livestock Association for 35 years, was confirmed as secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. He had interacted over the years with 11 state agriculture secretaries.
"We couldn't get a better person than Mike Beam," said Doll, who vowed not to get a haircut until Kelly brought geographic diversity to the administration. "I just want to make people aware."
Brad Loveless, secretary at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, worked for Westar Energy for more than three decades at Wolf Creek nuclear power station in Burlington and at the company's headquarters in Topeka.
He was senior director of environmental conservation and sustainability at Westar after serving as the company's director of biology and conservation programs.
Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, voted for both Cabinet nominees but expressed reservation about Loveless' credentials.
"I am very hesitant to cast a vote for Mr. Loveless," she said. "I am concerned as to his background in this arena. I hope he is successful in that position."
Kelly, who appointed Loveless in January, said he was an "experienced, respected" leader of environmental and conservation programs in Kansas. She said he could be counted on to promote stewardship of the state's natural resources.
The Senate also voted 39-1 to confirm Donald Brownlee as executive director of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission and Jeffrey Wagaman to be commissioner of the State Securities Commission.
This round of confirmation votes came as the Senate prepared to adjourn Friday for a three-week break.
On Monday, the Senate approved the nomination of David Toland to be secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce. He prevailed 23-14 despite opposition tied to his work for an Allen County nonprofit economic development organization. The governor said Toland was among the state's "best and brightest."
"His energy, expertise and collaborative style will ensure that businesses have the partner they deserve," Kelly said.