Former governor looks to win GOP nomination

Former Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer aims to win the Republican nomination in August 2022.

Colyer was a lieutenant governor under former Gov. Sam Brownback. When Brownback accepted a position in the Donald Trump administration in 2018, Colyer, a Hays native and former state lawmaker, served out the reminder of Brownback’s term. Colyer sought the GOP nomination in 2018 but was defeated by Kris Kobach in the primary, who then lost to Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, in November 2018.

Colyer is one of three prominent Republicans who have publicly stated they are seeking the nomination. Attorney General Derek Schmidt is also campaigning. Kent Lee McElroy, Leavenworth, has officially filed, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.

Colyer was recently endorsed by Congressman Tracey Mann and Sen. Roger Marshall, both Republicans. He plans to be a conservative governor and the endorsement by Mann and Marshall reinforces those values.

Kansas’ neighbors in the High Plains under the direction of Republican governors have economically progressed at a higher level than the Sunflower State, which Colyer attributed to Kelly’s wrong approach to responding to COVID-19 by initiating a statewide shutdown of the economy, which hurt small businesses and farmers and ranchers. His goal is to grow the state’s economy.

“Conservative values matter and being an effective governor is important and that’s why I thought it was time for me to serve.”

He is also opposed to President Joe Biden’s “30 by 30” plan that he believes would encroach upon the decisions of rural property owners and western Kansas, that means farmers and ranchers.

“Farmers and ranchers know every inch of their property and they don’t need the federal government meddling,” he said.

He said that he has voiced his opposition like other High Plains Republican governors and was disappointed that Kelly has not taken a tougher stance.

Colyer was an intern for longtime Kansas Sen. Bob Dole and was a White House Fellow during Ronald Reagan’s presidency and those experiences reinforced his views on the importance of having a conservative approach.

The candidate also has supported initiatives of lawmakers to get answers on the cattle price fluctuations that harmed many producers as a result of the Tyson fire in Holcomb, Kansas, in 2019 and from the COVID-19 pandemic. He said farmers, whether they are grain or livestock producers, need to receive a fair value for what they produce and trust the integrity of the system.

He will also continue to stress his pro-life view that he believes is in contrast to Kelly’s.

He is opposed to the federal designation of a National Heritage Area in north-central Kansas. The authority and control of Kansas land needs to be left in the hands of Kansans at the state and local levels, Colyer said. The National Heritage Area covers 49 counties in Kansas and in Nebraska. He agrees with Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has strongly pushed back on the proposal in Nebraska, and that Kelly should do the same in Kansas.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].