Colyer, Mann officially file for governor’s race, vowing to promote conservative agenda
photo by: Peter Hancock
Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer and Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann officially filed on Wednesday to be on the Aug. 7 primary ballot, vowing to promote a socially conservative, pro-business agenda, all while supporting public investments in education.
“We are going to fight Planned Parenthood and for the right to life,” Colyer said during a brief news conference after signing paperwork to be on the ballot.
“We’re going to require work for welfare,” he added. “We’re going to protect the Second Amendment. We’re going to have low taxes and cut regulations. And we are going to see education as an investment in our future, not as a burden.”
Colyer faces three major challengers in the Republican primary. Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer both officially filed Tuesday, and former state Sen. Jim Barnett is scheduled to file Thursday.
High school student Tyler Ruzich, of Prairie Village, also has filed in the GOP primary.
Kansas is currently asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review lower court decisions that blocked the state from cutting off Planned Parenthood Great Plains from receiving Medicaid reimbursements for providing nonabortion-related health care services such as breast exams and family planning.
“Kansas is leading the fight on this,” Colyer said. “Fifteen other states are joining Kansas in appealing this in front of the United States Supreme Court, and we hope that they will accept that court case in the very near future.”
Colyer also responded to questions about education funding in light of an announcement Tuesday that the University of Kansas plans to cut the budget for the Lawrence campus by $20 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
KU is also seeking a 3 percent increase in tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 academic year.
The budget cuts to the Lawrence campus are being made after Kansas lawmakers this year restored $15 million of the $30.6 million in cuts to higher education that Colyer’s predecessor, former Gov. Sam Brownback, ordered during the 2016-2017 academic year.
Even with that partial restoration, however, state funding for higher education will be $72.7 million less in the upcoming fiscal year than it was in 2009, according to figures from the Kansas Board of Regents.
“We want to invest in education. We want to see our educational programs grow and improve,” Colyer said. “KU has had to make some difficult choices, and they have. They’ve explained it to us. And I think that this sets them on a footing where they can grow in the future.”
Colyer, the former lieutenant governor, became governor in January when Brownback stepped down to accept a diplomatic post in the Trump administration. He then appointed Mann, a commercial real estate executive from Salina, to serve as lieutenant governor.