By John Celock
A Wichita businessman has entered the Republican race for Kansas governor, saying it is time to take politicians away from the running the state.
Businessman Wink Hartman announced Wednesday that he would be entering the 2018 gubernatorial race, positioning himself as a candidate in the mold of President Donald Trump in not being a career politician. Hartman briefly touched on policies, rather focusing his announcement on the overriding theme of a businessman in the governor’s office.
“Folks it is time to accept that putting career politicians in charge is not the solution, putting them in charge is the problem,” Hartman said in a video.
Hartman said that the state’s current condition has stifled innovation and economic growth. He said that it was time for the state to focus on a balanced budget, school finance, health care, water, the Second Amendment, religious freedom and protecting life. He did not outline plans on the subjects or the state’s current tax and budget debate.
Hartman who said that he does not want to watch Kansas “deteriorate” did not mention term-limited Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in the video but touched on a variety of Brownback’s policies, along with the state Legislature. Lawmakers have been grappling with the state’s multi-million budget hole, which came following a series of tax cuts in 2012.
Hartman is the first Republican to formally enter the 2018 race, with Ed O’Malley, a former state lawmaker, launching an exploratory effort earlier this year. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer and Senate President Susan Wagle are all viewed as potential Republican gubernatorial candidates. U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, who was viewed as the GOP frontrunner, announced earlier this month that she would not run. On the Democratic side, former state House Minority Leader Paul Davis, who lost to Brownback in 2014, and former state Agriculture Secretary Josh Svaty are viewed as potential candidates.
Hartman, who runs a family oil company and other business interests in Wichita, has long been viewed as a likely GOP candidate for governor or Congress. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for a Wichita area congressional seat in 2010, finishing third in the primary.
Hartman, in a theme typical for business executive who seek elective office, said that he wanted to lead the state not seek higher office.
“True leadership is not about power, it is not about special interests or the next election,” Hartman said. “True leadership is about serving others above all else. Fellow Kansans consider the present environment it is time to put the chemistry set back in the closet and stop career politicians from experimenting with the future of Kansas.”