This isn't a new idea, but it is interesting to hear Gov. Kathleen Sebelius tell the Topeka Capital-Journal that two of the state's largest economic development problems are anti-gay crusader Fred Phelps and the state's anti-evolution school board.
Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church are based in Topeka. Last year, the Kansas state Board of Education voted to de-emphasize the teaching of evolution and teach intelligent design in Kansas schools.
The Capital-Journal reports:
Calling the Kansas State Board of Education one of the state's worst public relations tools, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday said she would push in a second term for a constitutional amendment to shift the board's powers to the governor's office.
"I think we have a real institutional, structural problem in the state," Sebelius told The Topeka Capital-Journal editorial board. "The elected school board that we have in place doesn't function in this day and age. There's very little accountability."
The Democratic governor said the board has been an embarrassment to the state in the board's efforts to alter how evolution is taught in the classroom. In an interview, Sebelius said she has encountered people outside the state who have heard of the board's decisions -- and little else -- when it comes to Kansas.
"Fred Phelps and the school board are all they know about," she said. "No amount of economic development dollars can cancel that out."
The Kansas City Star's KC Buzz Blog reports that Sebelius said today that she did not link the state school board with Phelps. Personally, I don't think the above quote is implying that the governor thinks the school board is the same as Phelps. She's making the valid point that both are bad PR for the state.