Gov. Laura Kelly today announced the appointment of Chris Howell as executive director of the Office of Native American Affairs and Governor’s Tribal Liaison.

The Native American Affairs office serves as the liaison for the governor to ensure that Native American concerns and needs are addressed in state policymaking.

“Chris will step into this important role with a breadth of relevant and meaningful experience in both the public and private sector,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “I appreciate his willingness to serve in such an important capacity, and help work toward positive state-tribal relations.”

Howell, of Lawrence, most recently served as Director of Tribal Relations for Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railway, and was involved in tribal outreach and communications with more than 86 tribal nations located along the BNSF railway system. Howell has served multiple state administrations, including as Interim Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Kansas Arts Commission. He graduated with a B.A. in business from Emporia State University.

Chris Howell is a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.

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