The Chanute Tribune: Insurance commissioner vying for governor's seat

A candidate for the Republican nomination for Kansas Governor is touting his experience with the Kansas Insurance Commission to improve efficiency.

Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer said he reduced the number of employees 20 percent while increasing activity 30 percent.

“We can do the same thing in the broader state government,” Selzer said.

Selzer visited Chanute Wednesday afternoon as part of a swing through southeast Kansas. He also visited Iola in the morning and followed his stop in Chanute with a meeting of the Kansas Livestock Association in Wilson County.

Selzer said he has attended several Farm Bureau board meetings because of the need to focus on agriculture for the state economy. Selzer is a fourth-generation Kansan and grew up on a farm near Goessel in central Kansas. He earned an accounting degree at Kansas State University and became a Certified Public Accountant, practicing for six years in the Kansas City area. After earning a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, he spent more than 30 years in the insurance business.

He won a crowded primary for insurance commissioner and then won the general election in 2014.

Selzer said he is looking to run government more like a business and more efficiently.

“We’ve got a budget mess,” he said, adding that costs are growing faster than the economy.

“That is unsustainable,” he said.

Selzer said the manufacturing sector in Kansas is huge and the service economy is critical. He said all sectors have to grow, and that requires a laser-like focus on agriculture.

“That means a governor who understands agriculture,” he said. “Kansas can’t grow if ag doesn’t grow.”

Selzer noted that education, corrections, highways and Medicaid need more accountability. While he said government and business are different areas, some factors are similar, and people do not know if they are getting the most value for their spending.

“It’s not necessarily a question of more,” he said.

Selzer said the corrections department needs to focus on its recidivism rate.

“That is incredibly costly,” he said, suggesting the department needs to push people into job training and education.

Facing a crowded primary field in the governor’s race, Selzer said he, Jim Barnett, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer remain valid candidates for the Republican nomination, and he is the only one with a career in private industry.


[via The Chanute Tribune]

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