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Kelly Rogers Inaugural Committee announces Sarah Smarsh to emcee inaugural ceremony, further event details

The Kelly Rogers Inaugural 2019 Committee today announced that award-winning author and journalist, Sarah Smarsh, will serve as the master of ceremonies for the inauguration of Governor-elect Laura Kelly, Lt. Governor-elect Lynn Rogers, and other elected officials on January 14, 2019.

“I am overjoyed that Sarah Smarsh will play such an important role in the inaugural ceremony,” said Kelly. “Sarah’s story – one she is telling honestly and without reservation – is a story shared by many Kansans. She is a true inspiration to me and the people of Kansas.”

Smarsh is fifth-generation Kansan and author of the New York Times Best-seller and National Book Award Finalist Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth.

“As a Kansas resident and writer concerned with the public good, I’m honored to be of service on inauguration day,” Smarsh said. “The upbringing that I’ve written about – on a proud, struggling family farm among people who felt disconnected from government – makes it all the more heartening to participate in this historic event. The governor-elect’s strong spirit and inclusive values bode well for our state’s next chapter.”

The swearing-in ceremony for Governor-elect Kelly, Lt. Governor-elect Rogers, and other statewide elected officials will take place at the Kansas Capitol at 11 a.m. on January 14, 2019, and is free and open to the public.

Smarsh will lead the ceremony, Sister Therese Bangert will deliver the invocation, and Poet Laureate of Kansas, Dr. Kevin J. Rabas, will recite a poem. Chief Justice Lawton Nuss will administer the oaths of office.

An Interfaith Service at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site will take place at 8 a.m. that morning. Rev. Tobias Schlingensiepen will lead the service. It will feature blessings from different faith community leaders, including Dr. T. La Mont Holder, Dr. Swapna Mamidipally, Msgr. Stuart Swetland, Imam Omar Hazim, Rev. Rachael Pryor, and Rabbi Moti Reiber. Due to space constraints, this event is invitation-only and not open to the public.

The Inaugural Ball will be held at 6 p.m. that evening at the Kansas Expocentre and highlight food from across Kansas. The master of ceremonies will be Tim Schlosser, with toasts given by Speaker Ron Ryckman, Senate President Susan Wagle, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, and House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer. This is a ticketed event.