Committee approves senator for KCC post

A Senate committee quickly approved five of Gov. Sam Brownback’s appointees Monday, including one for the Kansas Corporation Commission.

A week after the governor’s appointment, Sen. Pat Apple, R-Louisburg, received approval on Monday from the Senate Confirmation Oversight Committee hearing to become the next commissioner of the KCC.

“It is humbling and an honor to be appointed by Gov. Brownback to this place in the state government that touches every Kansan,” Apple said.

The Kansas Corporation Commission regulates rates, services and safety of the public utilities, oil and gas production, and other energy-related programs in the state.

Before being picked for KCC commissioner, Apple was chairman of the Senate Utilities Committee.

One of his former colleagues on the panel, Sen. Robert Olson, R-Olathe, expressed his confidence for Apple in his new job.

“All the years I served with you, you’ve been one of the more fair guys in this building,” Olson said. “I know you’re going to work hard for our citizens and make sure everyone is treated fair.”

If confirmed by the entire Senate body, Apple would replace Thomas Wright. Wright’s term as KCC commissioner expired March 15.

Apple will serve a four-year term that will expire in 2018.

The second confirmation of the day was David Dillon as a member of the University of Kansas Hospital Authority.

Dillon, the CEO of The Kroger Co., says he will be moving back to the Kansas City area after his retirement from the business. Dillon has lived in Ohio for the last 18 years.

Dillon has been the CEO of Kroger and the subsidiaries like Dillons grocery stores for 11 years. He already retired as CEO but will be chairman of the company until the end of the year.

“To have any opportunity to give back to the state of Kansas is an honor, and I look forward to doing it,” Dillon said.

Dillon said he has served as a board member for several other companies, including DirecTV and Kroger, and he recently joined the Union Pacific Railroad board.

Sen. Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson and chairman of the Confirmation Oversight committee, referenced Dillon’s association with Uncork Kansas, which currently is looking to expand liquor sales to grocery and convenience stores.

Dillon said he has advocated for the bill and has talked to several members of the Legislature about the topic of liquor laws, but thought it should be separate from his appointment as a member of the University of Kansas Hospital Authority.

There were three other re-appointments on the docket, which were all also confirmed by the committee.

This article was originally printed in The Topeka Capital-Journal on March 31, 2014. 


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