A Kansas Senate panel recommended confirmation Wednesday for Gov. Laura Kelly's selections to lead agriculture and wildlife departments.
Lawmakers heard from Brad Loveless, the nominee for secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and Mike Beam, the nominee for secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
Loveless, an Ohio native, spent the past 34 years at Westar Energy, where he worked in environmental management at the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant in Burlington, then with environmental services at the utility's Topeka headquarters.
Loveless participated in a volunteer team that undertook environmental stewardship projects, and former Gov. Sam Brownback appointed him to a water authority board.
"As I get to learn our areas, we'll get our land managers out there with us, and we'll make sure we're doing a good job on our own land," Loveless said. "We need to be a model, frankly. We need to be a good example for all our neighbors about the best land management practices."
His goals include improving communications, running the wildlife agency like a business and being sensitive to the sometimes neglected responsibility of overseeing tourism for the state.
Beam told lawmakers about growing up on a Jewell County farm near the tiny north-central Kansas town of Esbon.
Beam said he is the proud product of a rural community, 4-H projects and the tradition of waving at people you meet on country roads whether you know them or not.
"Our parents showed us how to work long hours, take pride in our efforts, continually strive to learn and gain knowledge, serve our communities, respect and support our neighbors, be grateful for our blessings, and rely on our faith in times of stress or despair," Beam said.
For the past 35 years, Beam has worked in government affairs for the Kansas Livestock Association. He worked with 11 previous agriculture secretaries and was involved in policy debates at the Statehouse on water and natural resources, animal health, and the taxation of farm machinery.
Beam said he learned valuable lessons about listening to people who have different perspectives and the need to involve lots of stakeholders in order to pass legislation.
The Senate panel offered support to both nominees without opposition. Loveless and Beam await approval from the full chamber.