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Public radio report: Kansas governor Sam Brownback leaving KS for ambassador post in Italy

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Governor Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, has reportedly been offered a new job as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome.

Kansas Public Radio reports Brownback is preparing to leave Kansas to take the job in Italy. KPR reports that it has talked to an anonymous source that calls the appointment a 'done deal.'

Gov. Brownback would fill the now-vacant position of U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture. His communication's director issued this statement after the report emerged Wednesday afternoon:

"Governor Brownback is focused on working with the Kansas legislature to balance the budget and pass a modern school funding system."

The last ambassador, David J. Lane (an Obama nominee), served for four years before leaving on Aug. 9 to become President of Sunnylands, a resort and estate in Ranco Mirage, Calif., frequently used as a place for national and foreign dignitaries to hold meetings in a relaxed setting.

In this position, Brownback would serve as ambassador to three U.N. food agencies: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; the International Fund for Agricultural Development; and the World Food Programme.

On Wednesday, Brownback was in Hutchinson, Kan., touring wildfire destruction.

Lane told KPR that he also heard Brownback had been selected for the position, saying that the ambassador position is a 'hugely important role' because of the high-profile global refugee crisis.

Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since GOP legislators slashed personal income taxes at Brownback's urging in 2012 and 2013. Even some Republicans concluded the tax-cutting experiment was a bust as an economic stimulus, and voters last year ousted two dozen of Brownback's allies from the Legislature, giving Democrats and GOP moderates more power. Brownback still promotes personal income tax cuts as a model pro-growth policy for other states and the U.S. government to emulate. He blames the state's budget woes on slumps in agriculture and energy production.