The future of Kansas will be molded by our next governor. With 12 candidates of varying political ideologies and perspectives, it’s important voters select the best person for the job.

Republicans will select from seven candidates on Aug. 7, 2018, and Democrats will choose from five. With so many on the ballot, how do you determine which candidate is most deserving of your vote?

You’ve got to get to know them.

The first place to familiarize yourself with a candidate is through their own campaign pages, newspaper and related media stories, and campaign events hosted around the state. When you have the chance to ask them a question, raise your hand and ask.

There are always issue-specific things to discuss like their approach to tax policy, education, and infrastructure investments. But it’s time to go beyond those general questions.

The Kansas governor not only oversees the state’s budget and signs bills into law, s/he has the broad authority to hire the top leaders in our state agencies and appoint Kansans to various regulatory boards. …

What role do they believe privatization should have in state government? Are they considering work requirements for Medicaid recipients? What actions can the state take to improve the Department of Children and Families? How will they ensure the public education system improves its outcomes? How should economic development incentives be used to recruit and retain businesses?

We’ve had terrible leadership failures in several of our state agencies in recent years. Riots in the prisons, children left in the custody of abusive caregivers, decertified state hospitals, hundreds of no-bid contracts and Medicaid backlogs that jeopardized access to necessary medical treatment are just some of the problems the next governor will have to address. …

As we enter the primary season, these are questions we should be asking of candidates and they should avail themselves to answer these questions. …

Selecting a candidate is about much more than liking their Facebook post or television ad. Candidates have campaigns full of people skilled at creating a politician’s image and this doesn’t necessarily reflect who they’ll be once they take office.

There are several to choose from, now it’s time to get to know them.

— GateHouse Kansas