Kansas, state, United States: Modern Kansas

Modern Kansas

Kansas has become increasingly industrialized and urbanized, and industrial production has surpassed farm production in economic importance. Flood damage in the state, especially after a major flood in 1951, spurred the construction of dams (such as the Tuttle Creek, Milford, and Wilson dams) on major Kansas rivers, and their reservoirs have vastly increased water recreational facilities for Kansans. Since the 1970s, Kansas has become increasingly more urban and suburban. Accordingly, the economy has shifted its emphasis to finance and service industries located in and around the major urban centers.

Republican Bill P. Graves (1995-2003), was succeeded by Democrat Kathleen Sebelius (2003-09), who was also the first woman to chair the National Governor's Association; she resigned the governorship in 2009 to become U.S. secretary of health and human services, serving until 2014, and was succeeded by Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, also a Democrat. Republican Sam Brownback was elected in 2010, severly cutting the state's income tax rate in what became known as the "Kansas experiment." Brownback's fiscal policies left the state short of funds, leading mainstream Republicans to back the Democratic candidate when he ran for reelection in 2014, but Brownback prevailed and won. Nonetheless, in 2017 the state legislature repealed his tax cuts, overriding his veto. Brownback resigned in 2018 to join the Trump administration, with his term completed by the lieutenant governor. In the 2018 election, Laura Kelly, a Democrat, was elected governor, pledging to reverse many of Brownback's policies.

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