In the heavily crowded Kansas Gubernatorial race for this coming election, many candidates have discussed infrastructure and transportation issues for the state, candidate Greg Orman and running mate John Doll, touched on an interesting issue during his visit to the Daily Globe on Thursday that some candidates haven't talked about as of yet.
"What I have talked about with the policy on marijuana is that we absolutely have to research industrial hemp," Orman said.
Industrial hemp was mentioned as a possible crop outlet for southwest Kansas by Doll.
"It is a great opportunity to introduce a low-water intensity crop that has far greater profit per acre than some of the other crops that our farmers are growing and I feel they should have the freedom to do that if they want to do that," Orman said. "I also agree that it brings in ancillary industries that could be very good for us, that could be the very definition of value-added agriculture."
Orman also agreed that with medical marijuana, doctor's should be free to write prescriptions to their patients to the extent the doctor believes it is the right prescription for the patient.
"There are a number of areas like epilepsy where marijuana is shown to have an impact on people who have seizures," Orman said. "I know it's been an effective treatment as it relates to nausea and other side effects of cancer treatment and frankly the places that have medical marijuana tend to see lower opioid addiction rates because it's a way to manage pain.
"There is an opportunity there for us to get out of the way and if doctor's believe that is the best thing to prescribe their patients then we need to give doctor's and patients the right to do that."
Orman also said regarding recreational use of marijuana, that criminal justice resources should not be wasted and should be a cite-able offense like a speeding ticket.
"I don't want people running around doing it in public and if you do, you get a ticket and should have to pay a fine," Orman said, "but I don't want a cop spending half of his day booking a kid and that kid be sitting in a jail and ultimately it's a waste of criminal justice resources and it can be handled in a different and more appropriate way."
Doll added, "At the end of the day it is a Federal issue, recreational marijuana, but as far as medical, I am on record I voted for medical marijuana for the same reasons he, (Orman) cited, I believe that."
Doll recently announced his joining Orman, switching from the Republican state senator of the Kansas 39th district, to an independent.
"We wanted to announce the move with John in his district," Orman said. "He wanted to be there to let his constituents know that he is not abandoning them and that they were aware this was the best way to serve them."
With the infrastructure in Kansas, especially in southwest Kansas, transportation is needed to be addressed.
"One of the reasons I asked John to be on my ticket," Orman said, "was so that we made sure the issues of southwest Kansas was front and center in our adminstration.
"That's one that he has talked about and spent a lot of time on, focusing on transportation issues in southwest Kansas.
"Not only the infrastructure we need to help economic growth but public safety purposes."
Orman also said that they have to get serious about water policy.
"Brownback's 50-year water plan had some good ideas in it but I don't think we've really done anything to fully implement that and we have to get fully involved, the folks that have water rights who I have spoken to and who feel strongly they want to be part of the solution."
Orman also indicated healthcare is an issue in the area as well as the importance of expanding Medicaid.
"We need to expand Medicaid in a responsible way," he said. "We need to have some level of patient participation in the costs, particularly as they earn more money which will allow use to do two things that are important, take more of a population health approach to Medicaid, meaning we try to keep people healthy instead of just treating them when they are sick.
"And number two, I think it helps shore up the critical access hospitals throughout the state."
The shortage of healthcare professionals and mental healthcare professionals would be addressed through the expansion of Medicaid according to Orman.
"Grow your own," Doll said, "is a program that if a kid went to med-school the city would help pay for that and in return they would come back to the community is legislature we have been talking about which is a public, private enterprise that is fantastic for us to bring our youth back home."
Keeping people in the state, Orman said, would be to have a proactive economic plan.
"Being a private sector guy," Orman said, "one thing I look at is, what are our advantages, what are the skills we can leverage.
"The state of Kansas sits at the geographic center of the United States and at a time when our economy is quickly moving from a bricks-and-mortar economy to a distributed one, we should be the distribution capital of America.
"We have three class-one railroads that travel through the state, we have access to low-cost manufacturing inputs in terms of agricultural products and energy.
"We should be the inner model manufacturing capital of the state and input policies that support the development of those industries which will create jobs and opportunities to keep kids here."
Technical education is another focus to Orman to increase those graduating from tech colleges who get jobs within 50 miles of where they graduated from.
The establishment of rural fiber hubs would create the infrastructure and opportunities around the tech industry to create and keep jobs in Kansas, according to Orman.
Facilitating that infrastructure would require local participation but like in Topeka, incubator offices could be formed to make sure those offices have access to high-speed Internet infrastructure to do the same thing in those locations to several places throughout the world.
With clean energy, Doll added that southwest Kansas would need to be ahead of the game and be innovative and open up markets, especially with industrial hemp that would open up those markets like was done with the cattle market.
Running as an independent, Orman said the choice is to eliminate putting party over the state and the country.
He said his campaign will not be taking money from lobbyists and Pacts and special interest groups.
"I think for myself," he said. "We can set aside the fighting and put the people of Kansas first.
"Kansas used to be a leader and big political movements started in Kansas throughout history and I think there is a real opportunity for us to lead again and reclaim that legacy of leadership and demonstrate to the rest of the country that a path to new politics begins in Kansas.
"Set aside the partisanship and focus on the people of Kansas first by setting partisan labels aside.
"I put my state and my country before party and a lot of people want to see the other party fail then the country or state to succeed.
"I use facts and common sense to solve problems and don't cling to ideological solutions and the tax experiment in Kansas is an example of what happens when you cling to ideological solutions."
With the tax experiment, Orman said that time will tell how the rolling back of those reforms during the latest session will impact the state.
Both Orman and Doll said the tax experiment was unfair and didn't work and that with LLC's now paying into taxes for 2017, the impact of that will be seen by April and beyond.
"We will see if whether or not we did enough," Orman said.
"Or too much," Doll added.
"I think by May 1 we will be able to see a pretty good picture to what the real impact will be from a revenue standpoint," Orman said.
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