Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly tops off inauguration festivities with ball in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Hours after being sworn in as Kansas's 48th governor, Democrat Laura Kelly thanked a crowd of more than 2,000 mostly supporters at her Inaugural Ball on Monday.

The ball, with tickets ranging from $100 for individuals or $3,000 for VIP tables of 10, was held at the Kansas Expo Center in Topeka.

There were several mentions during the festivities that Kelly wasn't just the third female to become governor in Kansas, but also the third Democratic woman. Kansas is the first in the nation to elect three Democratic women to head the state.

Kelly was welcomed into the room Monday night at the tail end of a processional of all of Kansas’s Statehouse leaders.

Unlike earlier in the day when she echoed campaign promises of fighting for education and expanding health care, there was little mention in her approximately 10-minute speech. She instead took time to thank everyone down to the wait staff for making the night possible.

Kelly is a Democrat in a state with strong majority Republicans in both the House and Senate. But legislators who served on both sides of the aisle with her think she’s the right woman to bring the state together.

“Laura Kelly is down to business and down to work. She is very cognizant of the fact that there are differences and that it isn’t about her agenda but the people’s, and (in) order for the people’s agenda to work, it takes all of us working together," State Sen. Barbara Bollier said.

Bollier, a former Johnson County Republican, was one of a handful of legislators to switch parties between the election and Monday's opening of session.

“What we are seeing now is resurgence across Kansas that elects irrespective of party someone that speaks to the broader needs and the ones of state government delivering for the broader number of people," Democratic Sen. David Haley of Wyandotte County said.

Kelly, 68, is set to deliver the State of the State address Wednesday from the State Capitol.

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