Topeka Capital Journal: GOP candidate Ken Selzer argues Kansas needs more than ‘part-time’ governor

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Selzer said Thursday the next governor in Kansas had to make a commitment to government service greater than the part-time roles accepted by Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach after assuming statewide office in 2011.

Selzer, who is the state’s insurance commissioner, said in a statement that Colyer continued with his medical practice after being elected lieutenant governor and that Kobach was directly involved in court cases while serving as secretary of state.

“Kansans need a full-time governor, not a part-time plastic surgeon or immigration attorney,” Selzer said. “Kansans deserve nothing less from those who would ask for their vote to be their governor.”

Colyer became governor in January upon the resignation of Gov. Sam Brownback. He served as lieutenant governor and in the Senate and House while working as a surgeon in Johnson County. Colyer also volunteered in the past on international medical missions for a nonprofit.

“There is no governor or candidate in America that works harder than Gov. Colyer,” said Kara Fullmer, a spokeswoman for the governor. “Kansans know that Gov. Colyer is more than a full-time governor.”

She said Colyer was striving to be one of the most accessible governors in recent memory and was on a 105-county campaign tour of the state.

The primary election Aug. 7 will determine the Republican Party’s nominee for governor in Kansas. The seven candidates on the ballot are former Sen. Jim Barnett, of Topeka; Colyer, of Overland Park; Kobach, of Lecompton; businessman Patrick Kucera, of Overland Park; teenager Tyler Ruzich, of Prairie Village; Selzer, of Leawood; and teenager Joseph Tutera, of Mission Hills.

In a statement, Selzer also said Kobach and Colyer ought to have followed his lead by releasing their income tax returns to the public. If the governor and secretary of state were fully transparent about their sources of income, Selzer said, it would reveal they weren’t giving undivided attention to their roles in state government.

“It’s easy for candidates to call for transparency for others, but real leadership begins with personally setting the right example,” Selzer said. “If governor candidates don’t trust Kansans enough to let them know how substantial their other business interests are, Kansans shouldn’t trust them to lead their state.”

Kobach, who has directed most of his campaign attacks toward Colyer, didn’t respond to a request for comment about Selzer’s remarks. In the past, Kobach said he performed legal work unrelated to the secretary of state’s office outside of the typical 40-hour work week.

Wink Hartman, Kobach’s lieutenant governor running mate, did complain on Twitter about attacks by the ACLU of Kansas labeling Kobach as the “king of voter suppression” for advocating laws requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote and display of photo identification when casting a vote.

“Why is the liberal ACLU supporting Jeff Colyer for governor?” Hartman said.


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