Wink Hartman knows the race for governor in 2018 is a crowded field.

He also knows he’s different than many of the candidates.

"I’m not a politician," he said in a visit to the Daily Globe on Wednesday. "I’m a businessman.

"It doesn’t take a genius to know if something isn’t working, change it up. Our government in Kansas isn’t working, it’s time for a change."

Hartman is a well-known name in the state. It’s attached to Hartman Arena as well as oil businesses, trucking businesses and more.

"In 2013 we changed the way we did our revenue," he said. "The first month, when we didn’t get all the revenues expected, we should have made a change.

"Instead we waited, for months and months we waited and then we had to get revenue to balance the budget.

"As a businessman, if you don’t make revenue the first month, you change things to make it better. You don’t preach patience that eventually it will work. You make it work."

Hartman also believes Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax plan wasn’t bad, "it was a decent plan," but Brownback didn’t correct it when he needed to. Hartman said the Legislature’s correction, "went too far. It goes too far and it won’t make things better.

"The tax plan wasn’t too bad and the Legislature went too far to try and correct it. It’s an overreaction from the Legislature."

Hartman said there needs to be a steady hand in the governor’s office.

"I’ve been running full time since February," he said. "I have a lot of businesses, but I know how to pick the right people to run those businesses.

"The thing is, we can’t replace politicians with politicians. If they didn’t do a good job in their previous role, why would we think they will do any better in a different office or a different role."

Hartman states that all the Republican candidates — except for him — are career politicians who don’t have answers.

"I don’t understand re-energizing them in hopes things will be better," Hartman said. "We need a new vision, someone who looks at things like a businessman."

When asked if he were afraid there would be some backlash to his candidacy for governor due to the similarities between himself and President Donald Trump, he dismissed the parallels.

"I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t understand why I want to run for governor," he said. "Right now, Kansas government is the butt of late-night jokes.

"We need to get off the national radar, so to speak, and make changes which makes things better for Kansas.

"We are tied with agriculture and we need to make things better for agriculture — from farmers to livestocks to whatever ag company there is. As agriculture goes, so goes Kansas and things need to improve."

 

To contact the writer email rbluhm@dodgeglobe.com.