Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday appointed former Rep. Melissa Rooker to be executive director of the Kansas Children's Cabinet.

Rooker, a Republican from Fairway who served in the House for six years before losing re-election in November, helped craft the school finance plan endorsed by last year's Legislature.

The Children's Cabinet oversees programs funded through the tobacco settlement and advises the governor and Legislature.

“I worked closely with Rep. Rooker for many years and know her to be a steadfast advocate for Kansas children and families with a depth of knowledge on the issues impacting our children,” Kelly said. “She shares my commitment to expanding and improving early childhood opportunities across the state. I look forward to her leadership as we stimulate innovation and partnership surrounding early childhood programs.”

Rooker said she was honored to work with the governor toward improving the health and well-being of children and families.

“Early childhood programs are critical to the development and success of Kansas children," Rooker said. "I’m eager to build on our progress by bringing new ideas and energy to the discussion.”

The governor also appointed Kim Moore chairman of the Children's Cabinet. He served as president of the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund in Hutchinson for more than 30 years.

“I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that high quality early intervention and support can have on children and families across the state of Kansas,” Moore said. “I look forward to working with the governor, Rep. Rooker, and the other members of the Children’s Cabinet to make sure all children in Kansas are safe, healthy and have the opportunity to succeed.”