Government & Politics

Former Wichita mayor kicks off campaign for Kansas governor

Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer addressed the Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce in Kansas City, Kan., after announcing his campaign for Kansas governor Monday.
Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer addressed the Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce in Kansas City, Kan., after announcing his campaign for Kansas governor Monday. blowery@kcstar.com

Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer is the first Democrat to jump into the race for Kansas governor.

Brewer, who would be the first African-American governor of Kansas if elected, announced his campaign Monday ahead of the state party’s annual Washington Days convention this weekend.

He spoke to a crowd of a dozen people at the Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce in Kansas City, Kan., in the late afternoon, touting his experience as a two-term mayor of Wichita and a captain in the Kansas National Guard.

“As mayor, all the children in Wichita were my children. And as governor, all of the children in the state would be my children, and I’m going to make sure that they get the education that they need,” Brewer, who served as mayor from 2007 to 2015, told the crowd.

Several of the event’s attendees brought up inequality in education and pressed Brewer on his plans to fix it.

Stefon King told Brewer that Kansas City, Kan., was surrounded by districts with new schools, “and we’re begging for books.”

Brewer, who noted he attended all-black schools in Wichita as a child, said the state needs to ensure both urban and rural schools have the same resources as wealthier districts. He promised to release a school funding plan after the Legislature acts on the issue later this session and to visit every corner of the state during the campaign.

Other Democrats considering bids for governor in 2018 include the party’s 2014 nominee, Paul Davis, the former minority leader of the Kansas House; and Josh Svaty, the state’s former secretary of agriculture.

Wichita businessman Wink Hartman announced his campaign as a Republican last week, but a bevy of GOP officials are also considering potential runs, including U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Bryan Lowry: 816-234-4077, @BryanLowry3

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