A crowded political race means a candidate has to stand out. Mark Hutton believes he does.
"I’ve got a business background — having started Hutton Construction and building the company before letting my son run it — and then being in the Kansas House for 4 years," he said while visiting the Dodge City Daily Globe on Thursday. "I’ve got experience serving and I’d like to do it as governor."
Hutton is part of a large field for governor. With Gov. Sam Brownback taking a federal position — and not being able to run in 2018 due to term limits — the list of those wanting to replace him is large.
Republicans running are Jim Barnett, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Wink Hartman, Kris Kobach, Tyler Ruzich, Ken Selzer and Hutton.
Democrats running are Arden Andersen, Jack Bergeson, Carl Brewer, Josh Svaty and Jim Ward.
"It is a large field, but I believe I have the right combination of leadership and understanding of state government," Hutton said. "Take for instance the budget for Kansas Department of Transportation.
"We’ve borrowed so much of their budget for the past couple of years, and what’s really hurt is we took money to be used for maintenance.
"The problem is, the worse a road gets, the quicker it gets worse. Our budgets don’t increase much and everyone is going to want money and we’re going to have to prioritize where money goes first."
Hutton said his time in the Legislature has prepared him to be governor.
"I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the state," he said. "I’ve got to be governor of the whole state of Kansas, not just a few areas. We need to bring the people of Kansas together and make sure everyone is taken care of."
Hutton knows agriculture is the driving economic force of Kansas, but believes it is necessary to allow local economic development leaders to seek businesses and for the governor to than make it happen.
"Local economic development people know what businesses fit their needs," Hutton said. "Once a business is identified, as governor my job will be to make things happen."
Hutton’s visit to Dodge City included a stop at the High Plains Journal and a coffee meeting. He intends to be back often during the campaign.
"The key is to make sure Kansans believe government does work for them and will do what’s possible," the candidate said. "We took too long to fix our revenues, but we need to stay focused and do a better job.
"Everybody wants money and when money is tight, it’s important to make good decisions. That’s what I intend to do as governor."
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