Greg Orman is running an outsider campaign for Governor of Kansas this year.  Not beholden to either political party, Orman said, “I have spent most of my life as a registered independent.  I feel when you are a member of either major party, the expectation is to tow the party line, that compromise is bad.  Our system thrives on compromise.”  He also feels that being a member of either the Republican or Democratic Party means “you have to follow their agenda even if it is bad for their constituents.”
In regards to making a run for governor, he said, “my wife and I started talking about it last year. I feel something has gone very wrong in our state.  I am concerned about how the next four to five years will affect Kansas for generations.  I want to make Kansas a proud place to call home.”  He went to add that he was very concerned that “we send the worst of both parties to Washington, pleasing extremists and special interests.  If we do not start solving problems, our status as a state to do business with would be at risk.”
It has been a popular rallying cry at political events this year for incumbents or candidates to shout from the rooftops that they are pro-Second Amendment.  For Orman, he is more restrained, although he does say, “I am a gun owner, I support the Second Amendment.  We can have reasonable firearm safety rules, though, that do not restrict our Second Amendment rights.  I believe we should close the private sale loopholes.  I do not want people owning guns who should not be owning them, such as the mentally ill and people who have questionable backgrounds or convictions. Most gun owners and NRA members agree with me that people with firearms should have the training to use them.”
Recently, the State Supreme Court gave their ruling when it came to whether the state government was providing adequate school funding.  Orman said, “The good news about the court ruling was finally they told us what was adequate.  Before, we had no direction, and it was a guessing game.  It will be put behind us now that the court has ruled.  We need to be focused on root cause of the problem.  We need a growing economy.  What happens at night with that student affects their performance and outcomes, when they have a parent who is not home because they are working several jobs just to make ends meet.  We need to grow the KS economy and get more good paying jobs.”
Orman spoke of a “summer learning deficit,” and would like to see more summer learning and reading programs.  He also would like to invest more money into Pre-K programs, saying “Kindergarten preparedness is crucial.”
When it comes to infrastructure, Orman does not hold back, saying, “We are the geographical center of the the United States.  We should be the distribution capitol of the America, providing low cost transportation for agriculture and energy.  This won’t happen if we do not invest in our roads and bridges.  We need to get back to having a highway system that is the envy of our country.”
As an Independent and not beholden to any of the two major political parties, Orman believes he “would work very well with the legislature.  I do not have a natural enemy base.  Both of the political parties are too interested in seeing the other side fail. I am not a member of those teams.  My goal is to govern and be inclusive, bring both sides of the aisle together.  I believe I can bridge the gap and get them focused on serving the people.”
Orman pointed out at this time that he was still “going to spend the day in Wellington.”  He was looking forward to meeting people as he walked around Wheat Festival last Thursday.
He said he had “been to at least half of the counties so far.  We have a bus tour in August.  Kansas is an awfully big state.  Lots of counties.  My running mate (John Doll) has probably hit every country I have not hit.  When I picked John, I wanted a “strong and powerful voice for rural Kansas.  His campaign stops reflect that.”
As to where he feels he is in the race for Governor, he said, “I feel great about the race so far, traveling and talking to Kansans.  They want something different.  They want elected leaders who tell the truth. and who put their interests first. Our message is really resonating with them.”
He went on to say that “we made the decision not to take money from PACS or lobbyists.  I want my sole responsibility to be to the people of Kansas.  I have created jobs in private sector.  I want to bring those same skills to being governor.  The state is a sixteen billion dollar enterprise, touching the lives of millions every day.”
We spoke about the struggles rural communities have had in keeping their hospitals open.  Within the past few years, Independence lost their hospital due to closure.  Arkansas City took over the task of running its hospital, and Sumner County Regional Medical Center had its own changes over the past seven months.  Orman said he wanted to “expand Medicaid.  I want to improve health care access and affordability.  We can address the issue of fundamental fairness, and provide more resources for our hospitals to be pillars of our community.”
Orman spoke about how rural counties are losing population.  “It is the biggest challenge we face, a demographic challenge.  We need to grow the Kansas economy to create jobs and opportunities that keep the kids here.  We also need to create the tax base for people to want to stay.”
He went on to say, “People should demand every dollar we spend should be spent wisely.  I have released my transparency and accountability plan.  We are going to be accountable to them.  Every dollar we spend, we are going to make sure it is accountable.  We need to be more efficient.”
He also believes that law enforcement resources are being wasted on minor drug offenses.  “If you get caught smoking weed, it should be a citable offense like a speeding ticket.  Give you a ticket, pay a fine, and be on your way.”
With that, Orman stepped back out into the heat to meet more potential voters at Wheat Festival this week.