There is one word that best describes Kris Kobach. Leader. From taking the lead on national security issues in the aftermath of 9/11, to leading the fight against voter fraud and illegal immigration Kris has made waves nationally for his bold and effective leadership.
The values that made Kris a leader were developed growing up here in Kansas. Despite being diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 11 Kris thrived both academically and physically. He graduated from Washburn Rural High School in 1984 excelling in the classroom and on the athletic field. He developed a love for hunting and the outdoors. Eventually his success would take him away from Kansas. He graduated with honors from Harvard, received a Marshall Scholarship to study abroad, received a doctorate from Oxford, and his law degree from Yale. Through it all Kris remained a Kansan at his core and those core values led him back home in 1995.
After serving as a law clerk to Judge Tacha of the United States Court of Appeals, Kris went on to become a professor of Constitutional Law at UMKC. Despite this busy schedule Kris found the time to lead on other important initiatives including building schools in impoverished areas of Africa. All of these experiences helped prepare Kris for his toughest leadership test.
In September 2001, Kris and his wife Heather moved to Washington, D.C. so Kris could begin work as a White House Fellow in the Bush Administration. In this position Kris served as the chief advisor to Attorney General John Ashcroft on immigration law and border security.
Less than two weeks after arriving in DC, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred. Our nation was under attack and needed leadership. Kris helped fill the void.
General Ashcroft quickly placed Kris in charge of Department of Justice efforts to prevent terrorists from exploiting gaps in U.S. immigration controls. He led the team that designed and implemented the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, resulting in the apprehension of numerous suspected terrorists. This bold initiative helped keep Americans safe.
When Kris’s White House Fellowship came to an end, General Ashcroft appointed him Counsel. Kris went on to lead the Department of Justice reforms of the immigration court system, resulting in the reshaping of the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2002.
Since his time in the Bush administration Kris has become a nationally-recognized litigator representing US citizens, cities, and states in cases involving illegal immigration across the country. He is well known nationally for his role as co-author of Arizona’s SB 1070 illegal immigration law, the model for legislation addressing this important issue. Immigration is not the only legal realm where Kris has shown leadership. He is a well-known advocate for the Second Amendment, drafting several pieces of legislation that defend the rights of Kansas gun owners.
In 2010 Kris was elected Kansas Secretary of State. In that role he has ensured Kansas has the most secure elections in the nation. During his time in office he has led the charge to require Voter ID at polling places, require proof of citizenship for all newly registered voters, and doubled the size of the national Cross Check program which allows states to share information in order to catch voter fraud. Kris has done all of this while reducing his budget every year through efficiency and best business practices.
In 2016 Kris served as an advisor to the campaign of now President Trump. He continues to work with the President on matters of election fraud, immigration, and national security. President Trump knows there is no greater leader on these issues, which is why he named Kris to serve as the Vice Chair of the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.
Kris’s proudest accomplishment cannot be found in any of his job titles or experiences. It can be found in rural Douglas County. That is where you will find his wife Heather, and their five daughters. There is nothing more important to Kris than his family. Leaving a better Kansas for his daughters is what inspires him to lead. It is why he is running to be the next Governor of Kansas.