Governor Kelly Appoints Chris Kennedy as Secretary of Wildlife and Parks

Governor Kelly Appoints Chris Kennedy as Secretary of Wildlife and Parks

For Immediate Release:
March 15, 2024

Nadia Marji CMP®, Chief of Public Affairs


TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today that she has appointed Chris Kennedy as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) effective March 18, 2024. Kennedy is preceded by Secretary Brad Loveless whose tenure with the Department began in January 2019.

“I’m grateful to Secretary Loveless for his steadfast commitment to the State of Kansas and our state’s natural resources over the past five years,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I’m confident that Chris Kennedy is the steadfast leader needed to guide the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks in its next chapter.”

Born in North St. Louis, Missouri, Kennedy was introduced to natural resources at a young age, having grown up shooting, hunting, boating, and fishing. He brings nearly three decades of experience in wildlife and natural resources, beginning with his first internship out of high school at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conducting water quality and quantity research projects across Arkansas, Kansas, and Louisiana. In 1996, Kennedy joined the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), where he remained until this appointment to succeed Loveless.

While at MDC, Kennedy assisted private landowners, managed public waters, conducted public resource education, and sought to increase the agency’s ability to serve all citizens. He is perhaps most well-known for his work researching, managing, and restoring aquatic species such as alligator gar while advancing opportunities for Missouri’s youth to work with resource professionals to better manage public resources. Kennedy has also been a guest on the National Geographic Channel's Monster Fish and Animal Planet’s River Monsters on episodes featuring the alligator gar.

“I am honored that Governor Kelly has appointed me to serve the people of Kansas in this capacity,” Chris Kennedy said. “I am delighted that my more than 30 years of experience will further strengthen the KDWP’s mission to conserve and enhance the state’s wildlife and natural resources to be enjoyed by Kansans for generations to come.”

To make the transition as smooth as possible, Secretary Loveless will assist Kennedy with integrating into the agency prior to Loveless’ formal departure in April.

“Chris has proven himself a great leader of people with an exceptional understanding of fish, wildlife, and outdoor recreation issues,” Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Secretary Brad Loveless said. “He’s very fortunate to be working with the professionals at Kansas Wildlife and Parks, and conversely, I know they will really appreciate and enjoy working with someone as capable and committed as Chris.”

A photo of Chris Kennedy for media use can be found here.