Ken Selzer shared his plans to use his proven business plan for success if elected for governor during a visit in Pratt last week.
Kenneth Selzer used a methodical business plan focused on customer service and job efficiency to put the Kansas Insurance Office in order during his tenure there since 2015. The Republican candidate for governor visited Pratt Thursday morning and said he will use that same business approach to fix Kansas if elected to the state's highest office.
"I am a financial expert, a CPA with the right experience and the right tools to make this work," Selzer said. "As a team player I get my employees involved. We have proven it can work on a broader scale."
Selzer said that not only does wasteful management and spending need to be eliminated from current Kansas government, but that agriculture must grow in order for the state to become economically stable again.
"We need to do top to bottom audits on all agencies to cut unnecessary expenses," he said. "Take for instance the Kansas Department of Transportation. They are the third largest expenditure in the Kansas budget spending over 1 billion dollars on road maintenance and operations. We need to run that department more efficiently in order for all Kansans to benefit."
Getting the largest segment of Kansas budget dollars is education, followed by Medicaid, KDOT, corrections and a host of other departments. All of these departments need to operate with more transparency, something Selzer said he leads by example.
"There is a lot of secrecy in state government," he said. "We need to get more out of our tax dollars and the only way we can do that is if we know where it is going. We can do a lot more with the dollars we already have throughout government, and I lead the way by example."
Selzer recently disclosed the past three years of his own personal tax returns to make good on promises of transparent leadership.
"We need to demand more accountability throughout the system," he said. "We need more alignment with our local communities as to what the priorities should be."
In education, Selzer said schools should be training students to fill the job needs in their own communities, rather than sending them off to other states, draining the talent pool in Kansas.
"Are we graduating kids for the jobs we have available right here?" he said. "We need focused accountability from our school systems so we know our tax dollars are being used efficiently. We also need to slow the out-migration of our best and brightest students."
Selzer also said that Kansas leaders at the state and national levels need to stand up for the agriculture and support that which could make Kansas grow.
"Kansas won't grow if agriculture doesn't grow," he said. "We are an agriculture state. We need to focus on new markets for agriculture and should be thinking about ways to strengthen agriculture, the backbone of our economy."
Selzer said that as the only gubernatorial candidate that grew up in agriculture, married in agriculture and still invested in agriculture, he is the best man for the top job.
"My rural roots provided me with a work ethic that propels me on today," he said. "I have a sense of fairness and inclusiveness, plus strong morals. The values I grew up with and put to work in my career as an accountant, CPA and insurance commissioner are what we need in our state government today."
Selzer is a fourth generation Kansan who grew up in McPherson and Marion counties. He has been married for 37 years to his wife, Deb, who is from rural Miami County. They have two daughters and one grandchild, and operate a farm south of Olathe.
He graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor's degree in accounting and earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of Southern California.
Selzer is an alumnus of Leadership Kansas and currently serves on the Advisory Council of KSU College of Business and is a member of the KSU Foundation Board of Trustees.
A certified public accountant, he was elected as Kansas Insurance Commissioner in 2014 by a large margin in a crowded primary.
As a 2018 gubernatorial candidate he faces a crowded field of competitors that include incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and former state senator Jim Barnett. The Republican primary winner on August 7 would challenge the Democratic winner from a field of 16 that includes former Kansas Ag Secretary Joshua Svaty and state Senator Laura Kelly. The general election will be November 6, 2018.