Democratic candidate for governor Josh Svaty calls for cooperation between the Kansas Legislature and the governor's office to solve the state's revenue issues.
He calls himself the first Democrat candidate west of Highway 81 since John Carlin was governor of Kansas from 1979 to 1987.
At age 37, Josh Svaty is one of several candidates running for the office of governor of Kansas.
Svaty served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 2003 until 2009 when Gov. Mark Parkinson appointed him to be Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, a position he served in until 2011.
During his time in the Legislature, Svaty learned how the state works and witnessed the state weather the changes and hiccups of the state economy including the downturn in the oil and gas industry. From his background on the farm, he understands why people have to tell bankers that they will have to wait to pay back that operating loan.
To help get the state back on stable financial ground, the governor has to work with Democrats and Republicans, Svaty said.
"We have to look at the way the governor and legislature work together," Svaty said.
The reversal of the 2012 tax experiment will help the state revenue situation but much work has to be done. Improving the state revenue flow will take time but Svaty is confident he can help lead Kansas through the process.
Education is still underfunded and that is a top priority for the state. When the 2017 Legislature finally passed a budget, it was later than usual and impacted the education system. Teachers start looking for new jobs in the spring. Without a budget to work with, it was difficult for schools to know how much they could offer teachers for a salary. Because of that, some districts lost the opportunity to hire some teachers.
Low staffing for corrections officers is creating longer hours and those officers need to be alert to do their job safely. More corrections officers are needed so the state needs to have revenues to offer a good salary for officers.
Drugs continue to be a problem in Kansas. The state Department of Corrections is working on new programs and Svaty likes what he is seeing at the Ellsworth facility. But more funding is needed and the state is not spending enough on rehabilitation as it should, Svaty said.
Svaty sees several other areas of need for the state. More attention needs to be paid to natural resources like water quality and quantity as well as energy and agriculture production. Kansas needs to look at immediate needs as well as future needs for 25 and 50 years.
Pratt was county No. 92 of 105 counties in Kansas on his trip to visit all of Kansas. He wants to come back to Pratt County and get to spend time with the voters. He said he has visited with wonderful, fascinating people and is anxious to serve as governor.
Svaty is married to Kimberly and they have three children, Jackson, Mariner and Evelyn. They operate Free State Farms and produce wheat, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers and have a cow/calf operation. They are a fifth generation farm family in Ellsworth County.
More information is available at joshuasvaty.com.