Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer on Tuesday named Tracey Mann, who operates a Kansas City real estate firm and lives in Salina, as his lieutenant governor.
Mann is the managing director and principal of the commercial real estate company Newmark Grubb Zimmer. He has a farm in Quinter and an agricultural economics degree from Kansas State University, where he was student body president.
Colyer rose from lieutenant governor to governor last month when his predecessor, Sam Brownback, left for an ambassadorship in the Trump administration. Now running for the Republican nomination for a full term in the office, Colyer has named Mann to fill the job he held at the start of this year.
“Tracey has been a leader on economic development and rural issues in Kansas for years,” Colyer said in a news release. “I am excited to bring those skills to our team. Tracey truly knows what it means to listen, serve and lead.”
The governor said Mann would be on the ticket with him if Colyer wins the GOP primary.
Colyer announced his pick to enthusiastic applause at the Kansas Livestock Association’s annual legislative dinner.
“I’m excited to serve the great state of Kansas,” Mann said after joining Colyer on the podium.
Touting his experience helping businesses select locations, Mann said he was eager to work on initiatives to create the kind of jobs that might keep young Kansans from leaving the state.
“As lieutenant governor, I’m excited to tirelessly work to make Kansas a place that my four small children will want to stay and continue their lives when they grow up,” he said.
Mann ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House in 2010. His campaign for the 1st District seat was sidetracked when he called on then-President Barack Obama to come forward with proof of American citizenship.
Mann’s campaign later said the candidate misspoke and had long believed the nation’s first black president was, indeed, a U.S. citizen. But the Hutchinson News, an influential paper in the district, withdrew its endorsement and Mann finished a distant third in the crowded primary.
Asked Tuesday about his foray into birther politics, Mann called it a mistake and then quickly pivoted away from the topic.
“I had a football coach one time that said, ‘when you make a mistake you don’t make excuses and you move on,’” Mann said. “I’ve moved on from that and I can’t wait to serve our state as lieutenant governor and really talk about the issues that matter."
Before joining Newmark Grubb Zimmer, according to a release from the governor’s office, Mann was senior program director for the National Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values. In 1997, he served as Jerry Moran’s first intern in Washington, D.C.
Jim McLean is managing director of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and KCUR covering health, education and politics in Kansas. Follow him on Twitter @jmcleanks.