(Video Courtesy KPTS)
I grew up in a single parent family with five siblings. I went to public schools and later graduated with high honors from Princeton University with a degree in economics. I started my first business in 1992 and have spent my life building, managing, improving, and turning around businesses. I live in Fairway, Kansas with my wife, Sybil, and two young daughters.
I’ve served on the board of the Kansas City Zoo and chaired the Capital Campaign for the YMCA Youth in Government program. I was a founder of the Common Sense Coalition for Change and a board member for The Centrist Project and Unite America. I served for many years on the board of the Gala at the Glen for Cystic Fibrosis. I have actively supported more than 40 charitable organizations over the last five years.
Position on the Kansas Budget:
Clearly the Brownback tax plan was a mistake. When Governor Brownback introduced the bill, he said it was going to be a shot of adrenaline in the arm of the Kansas economy. It turned out not to be the case, and as a result, Kansas’ economy has grown far more slowly than neighboring states.
The plan also led to significant increases in property taxes as the burden to provide services and resources shifted from Topeka to local governments. As I’ve traveled the state, many Kansans have told me that they feel like they are being priced out of their homes as a result of the Brownback tax plan. Farmers feel equally burdened with rising property taxes and lower incomes.
I believe we should maintain a stable tax policy until we fully understand the financial impact of repealing of the tax plan and have addressed the funding needs of a number of our agencies that have been starved for resources the past several years.
Position on School Funding:
I am a big supporter of public education. My wife, Sybil, was a public school teacher in the Turner School District in Kansas City, Kansas. My running mate, Sen. John Doll, was a teacher and a coach for 20 years. In the Kansas Senate he was the Vice-Chair of the Education Committee.
My administration will be ready to tackle the critical task of bringing Kansas education to adequate funding levels in 2019 and beyond as our Constitution requires. Toward that end, we’ll also be focused on making sure property taxes remain fair and equitable throughout the state. We will lead the legislature to ensure compliance.
We believe we can end the cycle of litigation without a Constitutional Amendment. Our education plan, which can be found on our website, details how we plan to close the achievement gap, embrace innovation, and create an environment where all our students create a foundation for success.
Position on Economy & Taxes:
With the repeal of the Brownback experiment, we should maintain a stable tax policy and give businesses certainty on taxes. We should target tax incentives to communities that work with the state to create a better environment for our industries to thrive.
The Brownback tax plan went too far too fast and led to significant increases in property taxes and indiscriminate cuts to state services. Our economy grew more slowly than neighboring states and many Kansans were priced out of their homes. Brownback’s most significant mistake was not changing course when all evidence suggested his plan was failing. In the private sector we don’t have that luxury – companies that avoid inconvenient facts go out of business.
I believe we should maintain a stable tax policy until we fully understand the financial impact of repealing the Brownback tax plan and have addressed the funding needs of a number of our agencies that have been starved for resources during the past several years.
Position on Health Care:
We should expand Medicaid, but we must do it in a responsible way and ensure some level of payment participation by patients as their incomes rise. Without Medicaid expansion, we send a terrible message to hard working Kansans who don’t make a lot of money. We tell them if they get sick, they should quit their job. That’s the wrong message. We need to be building pathways so that people can improve their lives and contribute more, not throw up more obstacles.
The lack of Medicaid expansion also hurts us from a workforce development standpoint. A $12 an hour job in Kansas without health insurance is much less desirable than a $12 an hour job in one of the 33 states that have expanded Medicaid. As I’ve traveled the state and spoken to the administrators at many of the regional hospitals, it’s become clear that our healthcare infrastructure is on the brink of failing financially. Medicaid expansion would help shore up our healthcare infrastructure that many Kansans rely on for care.
I have a plan to expand Medicaid at no cost to Kansas taxpayers. It can be read at www.ormanforkansas.com/problem_solving_platform
Position on Immigration:
Politicians in Washington have failed to do their job on this important issue. Both parties are to blame. Democrats torpedoed the immigration reform initiatives in 2007 and then failed to introduce their own plan in 2009 when they had 60 votes in the U.S. Senate, a 76-vote majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and President Obama in the White House. In fact, they didn’t even bring up the DREAM Act for a vote. Republicans, likewise, failed to act on the Senate plan that passed in 2013.
In 2014, when running for the U.S. Senate, I suggested our immigration policy needed to be tough, practical, and fair. By tough, I mean, we need secure borders.
However, I believe the deportation of 11.5 million undocumented immigrants is not practical, not economically advisable, and inhumane. It would harm many industries in Kansas and do significant damage to the economy of western Kansas. Anyone who does want to deport all undocumented immigrants in Kansas doesn’t understand the issue and isn’t fit to be governor.
We should allow undocumented immigrants working in Kansas continue to do so as long as they register with the government by a certain date, pay a small fine or perform community service as an acknowledgement that a law has been broken. These individuals must hold down a job, pay taxes, and obey our laws to continue to stay in the United States. This is how we make the system fair to U.S. taxpayers.
Highest Priority Issue in Office:
Over the past decade, Kansans know intuitively that something has gone very wrong with our state. I believe what happens over the next five years will determine the path our state is on for the next couple decades. As governor my top priorities will be growing and diversifying the Kansas economy, creating great high-paying jobs, improving education by emphasizing workforce development and closing the achievement gap, and ensuring healthcare access and affordability for all Kansans.
What needs to change in our state government?
In July, I released the most comprehensive good governance plan of any campaign. The plan is intended to make Kansas the most transparent, accountable, and effective state government in the nation. The goal is to empower Kansans to be fully involved in their government again, not just in the voting booth, but at all times. It’s available on my website at www.ormanforkansas.com/problem_solving_platform.