Kansas Governor Sam Brownback once supported wind energy, but that was before petrochemical billionaires and Kansas natives Charles and David Koch became his largest campaign donors. Now, Brownback and the Kochs find themselves enmeshed in a highly competitive governor’s race, one that has become a referendum on the much-heralded notion that scaling back government and slashing taxes for the wealthy will lead to economic growth.
A key aspect of this debate hinges on the role of renewable energy in the state and the future of the Kansas’ Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a law requiring a certain portion of a state’s energy mix come from renewable sources. The Koch brothers have devoted a significant amount of time and money into repealing the standard and as of late, Brownback has wavered in his support. His Democratic opponent, Paul Davis, has taken a stand, saying he would “veto a bill that repeals our RPS” during the first gubernatorial debate.