TOPEKA — The official field of gubernatorial candidates in Kansas continued to solidify Wednesday when Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer paid the filing fee to be on the August primary ballot and outlined central tenets of his effort to earn a full term as the state's chief executive.
Colyer, who took over nearly four months ago after the resignation of Gov. Sam Brownback, said he was committed to making state government more transparent, fighting Planned Parenthood on abortion, promoting technical education, aiding agriculture producers, requiring welfare recipients to work and viewing state aid to public education as an investment rather than a burden.
He pledged to reshape state government in his image, rather than that of his unpopular predecessor, and to address the challenging realities of governing.
"There’s a saying that the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior," Colyer said after signing paperwork with Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann at the secretary of state's office in Topeka. "We will get things done while others beat their chest."
Colyer, of Overland Park, is competing for the GOP nomination against Secretary of State Kris Kobach, of Lecompton; Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, of Leawood, and teenager Tyler Ruzich, of Prairie Village. Former Sen. Jim Barnett, of Topeka, is expected to file Thursday, one day before the noon Friday deadline.
Kobach announced he would welcome musician Ted Nugent to a performance event to raise money for his campaign June 23 at the Lenexa Community Center. Fans of the rocker and politician can have their picture taken with both and secure a VIP seat for $500.
Mann, a Salina businessman appointed lieutenant governor by Colyer, spoke during the official signup event that included payment of the $2,207 filing fee. With small children clinging to his legs, Mann echoed the governor's point about creating an environment in Kansas attractive to the next generation.
"I look forward to working with him in the days ahead to enhance opportunities for all Kansans and ensure that the future remains bright for not only ourselves but our children," Mann said.
Colyer, a Johnson County surgeon who served as lieutenant governor under Brownback since 2011, said his administration was dedicated to expanding openness of state government. He expressed pride in seeking U.S. Supreme Court review of a case that involves Planned Parenthood, a national family planning organization.
He said that if elected governor, he would emphasize allegiance to the Second Amendment right to bear arms and attempt to moderate state taxes and regulation.
"And let me be clear: We are running to win," Colyer said. "The good news for Tracey and I is our campaign is working. Kansans are responding to our message."
On the Democratic Party's side of the campaign ledger, gubernatorial candidates include Sen. Laura Kelly, of Topeka; former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, of Wichita; former state Rep. Josh Svaty, of Topeka; and teenager Jack Bergeson, of Wichita.