Gov. Sam Brownback’s communications director Melika Willoughby steps down

Gov. Sam Brownback announced Friday that Melika Willoughby will step down from her post as communications director. (File photograph/The Capital-Journal)

Melika Willoughby will step down from her post as communications director at the governor’s office, Gov. Sam Brownback announced Monday.

Willoughby will join the Ohio-based Forge Leadership Network -- unrelated to the Topeka Forge Young Professionals group -- as vice president of communications and strategic development. Forge Leadership Network’s website states its mission is to “identify the best and brightest conservatives of the next generation and to train, mentor, and connect them to become future leaders in the public square.”

“Gov. Brownback’s commitment to expanding the freedoms of our citizens, empowering struggling Kansans through the dignity of work, and defending vulnerable unborn lives is peerless,” Willoughby said. “It’s been a distinct honor to serve on his staff in defense of these principles that make Kansas great.”

Willoughby will leave the governor’s office on Aug. 18, and Rachel Whitten will fill the role of spokesperson, while retaining her role as director of public relations at the Kansas Department of Revenue, until Brownback leaves office. Willoughby joined the governor’s office in 2014 and has served on Brownback’s senior staff since 2016.

“I am deeply grateful for Melika’s service to the state of Kansas,” Brownback said. “She has been a tireless warrior for conservative principles and an advocate for making Kansas the best state in America to raise a family and grow a business. I trust that she will accomplish great things in the years to come.”