TOPEKA — The executive director of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission resigned Tuesday after five years working as the governor’s liaison to Black communities throughout the state.
Kenya Cox, appointed to the job in 2016 by then-Gov. Sam Brownback, also served under Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer and Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. She was a prominent Republican in the Wichita area, serving in GOP leadership roles in Sedgwick County and the 4th congressional district.
“I have a love and commitment to Kansas’ African American communities, and I want to thank Governor Kelly for the opportunity to work with this administration on their behalf,” Cox said.
She said the commission was dedicated to representing “the greater good and to transcend the barriers that divide our communities to help build a better, healthier and more equitable Kansas for all.”
Kelly, responsible for naming a replacement, said Cox led the commission through multiple administrations and the COVID-19 pandemic. In a joint statement, neither Cox nor Kelly offered an explanation for abrupt departure of Cox.
“I’m particularly grateful for her and her fellow commission members’ partnership and efforts to provide information, advocacy and support services to Black Kansans through each phase of our COVID-19 response,” Kelly said.
The commission was authorized in 1997 under a bill signed by Republican Gov. Bill Graves. In 2004, Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed legislation moving the commission from a state agency to the office of the governor.