Archive for Monday, July 28, 2014

Senate challenger says he has enough signatures to get on ballot as independent candidate

July 28, 2014, 10:59 a.m. Updated July 28, 2014, 1:36 p.m.


Greg Orman plans to file by petition to run as an independent candidate for U.S. Senate.

Greg Orman plans to file by petition to run as an independent candidate for U.S. Senate.

— Johnson County businessman Greg Orman announced Monday that he has gathered enough petition signatures to file as an independent candidate for U.S. Senate.

Kansas law requires people to gather signatures from at least 10,000 registered voters to run as an independent in a statewide election, and Orman said his campaign crossed that threshold Monday.

“We heard from over 10,000 voters that they wanted an option in November,” Orman said during a news conference on the steps of the Kansas Statehouse, where he was joined by his wife, Sybil, and more than a dozen supporters. “We heard from voters that they wanted to see something different, that they wanted problem solving and not partisanship.”

If the petitions are verified, Orman will face the winners of the Republican and Democratic primaries, which are being held next Tuesday, Aug. 5. On the GOP side, three-term incumbent Pat Roberts is facing a Tea Party challenge from Johnson County radiologist Milton Wolf. And on the Democratic side, Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor is running against Lawrence attorney Patrick Wiesner.

But Orman said he thinks the election will boil down to a “two-horse race” between himself and the winner of the Republican primary.

Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1932. It has never elected an independent candidate to the Senate.

If elected, Orman said he will caucus with whichever party holds a majority in the Senate, and if neither party wins a majority this year, he would caucus with “whichever party is willing to honestly address the problems that the United States has.”

Democrats currently hold an effective 10-seat majority, with 53 elected Democrats and two independents who caucus with them, and 45 Republicans. But some analysts say the GOP stands a reasonable chance of taking control in November.

Responding to questions, Orman gave few specifics about the policies he would pursue if he’s elected.

Asked about the health reform law known as the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, Orman said: “We had a health care affordability crisis before the Affordable Care Act, and we have a health care affordability crisis today.”

And when asked if he favored repealing the law entirely, as many Republicans do, he said: “I think we need to solve the underlying problems of health care affordability.”

On the subject of immigration reform, Orman said: “Immigration is another example of what’s wrong with Washington.”

“I think for immigration reform to work, it needs to be tough, fair and practical,” he said. “And what that means is I think we need to first secure the border. And while we’re making progress with that, we’re not quite there. But then it’s also got to be fair to taxpayers, and what I mean by that is, if you’re in this country and you’re undocumented, I think you should have to register with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service).”

“I think you should have to pay a fine or perform community service in acknowledgement that you’ve broken one of our laws. I think you need to hold down a job, pay taxes, obey our laws, learn English, and ultimately, if you want to get in line, there’s a system to allow you to get in line to become a citizen,” he said.

Orman, who lives in Olathe, is an investor with the private equity firm Denali Partners LLC, which he co-founded in 2004. He graduated from Princeton University in 1991 with a degree in economics.

In 1992, he and his wife founded Environmental Light Concepts, or ELC, which designs and installs energy efficient lighting systems for commercial and industrial companies. In 1996, he sold 70 percent of the company to Kansas City Power and Light.


Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 7 months ago

This is interesting. It will be nice to have a third choice. I wonder how many are so used to two parties that to them it just seems odd or wrong to have more.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 7 months ago

This guy has been running some interesting TV ads. I am waiting for the Roberts campaign launch some attack ads against him. I don't want the tea bagger, we have way too much of that crap and the incumbent is totally useless.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 7 months ago

I would like to see something more than his ads. You can say you are a moderate, but prove it to me. Or am I just getting cynical?

Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

Why Private Equity Can Be the Worst of Capitalism

Here’s what private equity is really about: A firm like Bain obtains cheap credit and uses it to acquire a company in a "leveraged buyout." "Leverage" refers to the fact that the company being purchased is forced to pay for about 70 percent of its own acquisition, by taking out loans. If this sounds like an odd arrangement, that's because it is. Imagine a homebuyer purchasing a house and making the bank responsible for repaying its own loan, and you start to get the picture.

O.K., but what about this much more virtuous business of swooping in and restoring struggling companies to financial health? Well, that's not a large part of what private equity firms do, either. In fact, they more typically target profitable, slow-growth market leaders. (Private equity firms presently own companies employing one of every 10 U.S. workers, or 10 million people.)

And that's when the fun starts. Once the buyout is completed, the private equity guys start swinging the meat axe, aggressively cutting costs wherever they can – so that the company can start paying off its new debt – by laying off workers and cutting capital costs.

This process often boosts operating profit without a significant hit to the business, but only in the short term; in the long run, the austerity approach makes it difficult for companies to stay competitive, not least because money that would otherwise have been invested in expansion or product development – which might increase revenue down the line – is used to pay off the company's debt.

It takes several years before the impacts of this predatory activity – reduced customer service, inferior products – become fully apparent, but by that time the private equity firm has generally resold the business at a profit and moved on.

But what happens to the companies after they've been resold? It’s not a pretty picture, as I discovered while researching my book The Buyout of America. Consider a few numbers:

William Ballard 3 years, 7 months ago

If Greg Orman thinks the general election will be between himself and the winner of the Republican primary, he is in for a big surprise. The Democrats have a very credible candidate in Chad Taylor, who as the Shawnee County District Attorney has demonstrated his ability to work across party lines. Recent polls show he has narrowed the gap between himself and Pat Roberts. One thing is for sure: If we re-elect Pat Roberts, Tim Huelskamp, Lynn Jenkins, and the others, we will have 4 more years of the same nonsense - nothing getting done. We need people in Congress who see the problems government causes and work together to resolve those problems - not Tea Party idiots whose solution is to shut down the government.

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