Meet 2018’s GOP candidates for Kansas insurance commissioner
photo by: Contributed Photos
With current Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer seeking the GOP nomination for governor, the office is open this year.
Two Republicans, Sen. Vicki Schmidt and Assistant Insurance Commissioner Clark Shultz, are seeking their party’s nomination for the post. The winner will go on to face Democrat Nathaniel McLaughlin in the general election.
If elected, Schmidt, 62, of Topeka, plans to use her 40 years of experience as a pharmacist to help consumers meet their insurance needs.
“I became a pharmacist because I wanted to help people, and I’m running for insurance commissioner for the same reason,” Schmidt said. “I believe that Kansans deserve an advocate when it comes to insurance.”
During her service in the Kansas Senate, Schmidt has spent time on the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee and the Public Health and Welfare Committee, the latter of which she has chaired.
“I think the No. 1 issue brought to my attention by voters is the cost of insurance,” Schmidt said. “Kansas is long overdue for a discussion about why insurance costs so much and what we can do to lower that cost.”
If elected, Schmidt said she will be facilitating the discussion around health insurance costs.
“I think people deserve answers when they have questions about their insurance and their insurance coverage,” Schmidt said. “I am known in the Senate as someone who gets answers from people.”
Shultz, 61, of Lindsborg, says his experience as assistant insurance commissioner will guide him if he’s elected.
Shultz, who is from Lindsborg, has served as the state’s assistant insurance commissioner for three years.
“The department is here to protect consumers,” Shultz said. “I have the qualifications to do that.”
Most of Shultz’s background is in insurance. He has experience working as an auditor with a title insurance writer. Shultz has also served in both the Kansas House and the Kansas Senate, including a stint as chair of the House Insurance Committee.
“I’ll hit the ground running because I’m right here and I know all of our divisions and our directors,” he said. “I know what we do here.”
If elected, Shultz said he will continue the work currently being done at the insurance department. Although he wants to improve all divisions at the department, his priority is the consumer division, which helps consumers with emergencies related to insurance.
“If someone calls up and they’re trying to get a hail-damaged roof replaced and the insurance company is dragging their feet, we want to be there for that consumer,” Shultz said. “Everything we do is about consumers.”