It is time to have a champion in the governor’s office again

After careful consideration, I have decided to run for governor of Kansas in 2018.

I’m not running to fulfill a long-held political ambition. I care about good governing and the future of our families, not partisan victories. I’m getting into this race because I believe that Kansas can have a very bright future.

My family and I talked about this decision for a long time. Through those conversations, another, more personal reason compelled me to get into this race.

Over the July 4th weekend, my future son-in-law proposed to my daughter on the front porch of our family’s home. As I watched her accept his proposal, I recalled all of the special moments our family had shared in that very spot. I felt so happy and grateful that this is where she grew up – in that house, and in this state.

Both of my daughters – a doctor and a technology professional – bring my husband and me such pride and joy. Their Kansas upbringing is at the heart of their stories, and of our family’s story. The education, community, and opportunities that were made available because of the smart leadership in the state capitol helped ensure my girls received the happy, healthy childhood that all kids deserve. It molded them into the strong and vibrant women they are today.

I didn’t expect to be in this position a year ago, but I simply cannot sit by and let the same Brownback allies who mismanaged our state lead Kansas for another four years.

The last election brought a wave of new faces to the Kansas Legislature with a clear mandate from voters to end the failed Brownback tax experiment. After devastating budget cuts, three state credit rating downgrades, and the dismantling of our state’s most important investments, lawmakers came together to chart a new path forward.

We made incredible progress, and now it’s time to finish the job.

For too long, Kansans have been without a champion in the governor’s office – someone who will fight for them and their priorities.

After years of damaging cuts under Governor Brownback, Kansas schools remain critically underfunded, even after the positive steps lawmakers took last spring to reverse some of the damage. From my very first legislative session, I’ve been on the front lines of the fight to get more resources into public school classrooms.

I’ve fought to expand Medicaid, provide better mental health services, and keep rural hospitals open.

I fought the Governor’s efforts to dismantle our state’s prized system for early childhood education so we can ensure that Kansas’ youngest and most vulnerable children receive the best possible start in life.

I’ve advocated for economic investments that we know create jobs, like higher education, technical training, and good infrastructure and roads.

But this election is not just about what each candidate is willing to fight for. It’s also a question of who they’re willing to fight alongside.

Bitter partisanship doesn’t balance the budget. It doesn’t create jobs. And it doesn’t grow our economy.

We need balance in government – someone who will work as hard as possible to build consensus among competing interests, no matter what the dividing lines may be. In the past I considered leaving the Legislature for Congressional service, but I realized I could do the most good here working to solve the problems we face in Kansas. I remain committed to that mission.

Through that work, I’ve built a reputation as a leader willing to listen and work with anyone. I have not and will never shut someone out of the lawmaking process just because they may not agree with me.

What Kansans do best is find common ground and move forward with a solution. We can’t offer mountains or sandy beaches, but there never has been a better place to live, work and raise a family.

That’s where you come in.

Time is the most precious resource of any campaign, and we don’t have a moment to lose. For the remaining days of 2017, I’ll be finalizing the infrastructure we’ll need to run an 11-month marathon at a sprint’s pace. In the early weeks of 2018, I’ll be eager to share a more detailed vision of the future with you and your family. I look forward to hearing from you and visiting on the campaign trail!