The Weekender (12/17/21)


Welcome to the Democratic Governors Association’s Friday newsletter, the Weekender. We’ll be off for the next two Fridays but we wish you happy holidays and a happy new year!

Let’s get started.

Kansas: The Topeka Capital-Journal reported this week that Gov. Laura Kelly will soon release a broadband expansion plan to put Kansas’ broadband access in the top 10 states by 2030. Gov. Kelly established the Office of Broadband Development last year — in that time, it oversaw infrastructure investments leading to over 74,000 new hookups for households, businesses, and community institutions. The broadband expansion will build on the booming Kelly economy, which has led Kansas to “its best investment year ever.” Meanwhile, a new report from the Kansas Reflector revealed that GOP candidate Derek Schmidt “could be receiving thousands of dollars a year in income” from a natural gas well he owns while dragging his feet investigating the natural gas industry for price-gouging during a severe freeze last year. This uncovered conflict of interest is “prompting calls for him to disclose more information about his earnings as he investigates gas companies for potential price gouging during February’s severe freeze.” Schmidt’s campaign and the AG office both refused to disclose his earnings on the well.
Wisconsin:At an event last weekend, Rebecca Kleefisch appeared alongside and earned the support of election fraud conspiracy theorist Michael Gableman, the frontman of the Wisconsin GOP’s baseless, taxpayer-funded investigation into the state’s 2020 election results. Kleefisch has a long record of supporting the Big Lie. Earlier this year, she was called “Wisconsin’s Donald Trump” for backing election conspiracy theories and supporting a “forensic audit” of the results. Kleefisch even refused to say whether or not she’d sign a bill allowing the state legislature to overturn election results if elected governor. Kleefisch’s agenda proposes handing election oversight from a bipartisan commission to the GOP-controlled legislature, and her campaign leadership is filled with election conspiracy theorists. While touting Kleefisch, Gableman asked for support in keeping his election review going, leaving Wisconsinites with one big question: will Radical Rebecca support wasting taxpayer money on baseless conspiracy theories?

New York Times Slams Republican Governors’ American Rescue Plan Hypocrisy
This week, a report from the New York Times hit Republican governors for taking credit for state projects funded by the American Rescue Plan after opposing the vital economic and COVID relief. “Republican governors are spending the funds while attempting to undercut the law that allowed the money to flow,” wrote the Times.South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who threatened to refuse the “handout” over ideological objections, has had a change of heart now that nearly $1 billion is available for critical investments in her state. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis whined that he “got the short end of the stick” and called the ARP “Washington at its worst.” But Politico exposed DeSantis’ hypocrisy earlier this week, saying, “The governor’s budget is packed with federal stimulus funds from the Biden administration that DeSantis wants to use for his most politically popular programs.”The New York Times also slams Republican Govs. Greg Gianforte, Mike DeWine, and Doug Ducey for their “awkward dance” between criticizing the ARP and benefitting from the funding.

Democratic Governors Lead the Charge on Calling for Voting Rights Reform
As they stand as the last line of defense to protect the right to vote in their states, Democratic governors are fighting for voting rights reform on the national level. This week, Democratic governors penned a letter urging the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Seventeen governors signed on to the letter — Govs. Whitmer, Evers, Cooper, Newsom, Hochul, Brown, Wolf, Inslee, Lujan Grisham, Murphy, Sisolak, Pritzker, Lamont, Carney, Polis, Ige, and Walz.The letter said, “Without decisive action by the federal government this year to protect voters’ access to the ballot and ensure the integrity and transparency of our elections, the voices of Americans across the country, especially Americans of color, will be suppressed.”Whether they’re stopping the GOP’s schemes to suppress the vote and undermine democracy, or expanding access to the ballot box, Democratic governors have been pivotal in protecting Americans’ right to vote. Govs like Tony Evers and Tom Wolf have already taken critical action blocking Republican-backed voter suppression bills, while Govs. Steve Sisolak, JB Pritzker, Phil Murphy, and Janet Mills have signed legislation to make voting easier.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on CNN with Jake Tapper discussing the deadly tornado which devastated the state.North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on MSNBC with Chuck Todd stressing the importance of electing Democratic governors.

“Today Kentucky is absolutely united. We are united with our people; united to find and rescue as many as possible; united to grieve; and united to be here for our impacted families — not just today, but in the years to come so that we can rebuild together.”

  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on how the state will come together to mourn and recover from the heartbreaking loss of life this week.

“I don’t think the election was fair … I’m not a big fan of how that all played out.”
Who said it? Send your answer to, and we’ll reveal the answer in the next Weekender!
If you guessed Georgia Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan last week, you got it! On the growing rift in the Georgia GOP, he said, “It’s all avoidable if we just act like adults and move on. But that’s not reality at this point.”