Friday, June 20, 2014

INTERVIEW: Libertarian Keen Umbehr looks to win over dissatisfied Democrats, Republicans in Kansas gubernatorial race


KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Schools, taxes and jobs.

Those are the three issues Keen Umbehr, Libertarian Party candidate for Kansas Governor, believe are the three most important issues.

Umbehr will bring his message to Frontier Days, held in Edgerton, Kan., this weekend.

Umbehr secured the Libertarian Party's nomination for governor earlier this spring. And while Kansas Libertarians are looking for the magical five percent that would qualify the party as a major party, Umbehr believes he can win.

"Kansas Democrats, Republicans and independents all have the core views of limited government and personal responsibility," Umbehr said in an interview with The Gardner Edge. "I believe we can win this."

For the Umbehr campaign, the magic number isn't five percent. It's 300,000 votes. To win in Kansas, Umbehr would have to receive at least one-third of the vote.

In order to achieve that milestone, Umbehr thinks his message - along with the anti-incumbent sentiment in Kansas and the state's history of being independent- will rule the day.

"In five of the last nine elections in Kansas, the voters have put a Democrat in the Governor's mansion," Umbehr said. "Kansas has a rich history of being independent."

Umbehr believes enough Republicans in Kansas are dissatisfied with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansas Democrats are soured by President Obama and former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

"In Kansas, we see Democrats weary of voting for Democrats again," Umbehr said. "Obama is someone not all Democrats are proud of."

Umbehr criticized Brownback's tax plan, saying his plan puts all of the burden on the wage-earners of Kansas.

"Currently the plan allows 191,000 businesses to pay zero taxes," Umbehr said. "There's over a million residents in Kansas that pay taxes. The 87 percent are paying the entire bill. It's unfair and discriminatory."

According to Umbehr's campaign Website (, his plan is to eliminate the income tax for all residents in Kansas. He also supports the Fair Tax plan.

Nationally, the Libertarian Party deals with a stereotype of being on the fringe of the American political spectrum. Umbehr believes in Kansas, his message is moderate compared to Brownback and Paul Davis, the Democratic Party's challenger.

"I'm sticking with the issues that effect the kitchen table," Umbehr said. "You can't govern by the extremes. "

Umbehr supports school-choice and since the state spends 63 percent of its budget on school matters, he believes where the money is spent is something the state should examine.

Umbehr also believes the state should get out of the regulatory business and instead, establish a business environment that helps current businesses in Kansas and Kansans alike.

"In Kansas, we're going to grow from within," Umbehr said, adding that "mom and pop" stores are the backbone of Kansas, not the larger corporations looking to move-in to the state.

For more information on the Umbehr campaign, visit His Facebook page is here.