Gov. Sam Brownback discussed several issues in a recent interview with The Star. Here are excerpts of his responses, edited for length.
On the 1996 Senate races:
It was (risky). The rumor mill started on Monday or Tuesday that (Sen. Bob) Dole was going to resign. By Tuesday evening it was confirmed. By Wednesday, we switched from announcing for the House to running for the Senate. I had a peace about it.
I do remember I didn’t have a whole lot of key supporters around my announcement speech. … A number of people said this is not a good idea.
On his 1995 melanoma, and his faith:
(The cancer) made my faith alive, and real. God’s real. Once you determine that, and it’s real to you, it just changes your perspective. You really want to do things for the eternal matters, not for earthly matters. …
I used to try to separate my faith from my work, but then you live in conflict. It’s a unitary life. It’s one life, and you don’t separate Sunday from the rest of the week. Some people try to, but then they live in conflict within themselves. I just concluded I can’t do that and be satisfied. …
On policies, particularly on poverty, I think many of the policies we’ve pursued in government for 50 years have been flawed. Somebody would look at that and say, “Well, I think you’re wrong.” In politics you always have people that are looking at it. But in my heart, what we are trying to do is get people off of poverty. …
I don’t enter into the position lightly. Once committed to it, I want to see it on through. My faith makes me willing to do things that may look like there’s going to be a lot of physical difficulty with it. And you just go ahead and do it, because you truly believe it’s the right thing to do.
On the Kansas budget crisis, and ending the legislative stalemate this year:
When I came in, you’ve got a state not on a right trajectory to grow, or take care of its own government. You had to make a series of reforms to change it, to get it going the right way. … Initially, upon doing those things, people are not necessarily going to be happy, nor will it, near term, produce a quick-hit result. You’re going to have to do this, and to work through it, and it will produce the right results because it has, everyplace else it’s been used. …
It was far harder than I thought it would be, or needed to be. If we had taken my original approach, a flat tax with a small-business accelerator, we projected a gap of 90 million dollars. We ended up doing in three legislative sessions what I thought should have happened in one. There was a better way to go about it, but the end result is pretty close to where we’ve gotten to.
The booing, and the criticism he faces about the budget:
Yeah it hurts (getting booed). It was right after I’d done (budget cuts). What do you think people are going to think at that time?
The country is very divided. Bernie Sanders is where the heart of Democrat thought is. I don’t think Trump represents it on the Republican side, but you’ve got a pretty conservative group running for president. Those two are very different views of the world. …
People are pretty well divvied up in the country, and that’s happened here, too. You’re much safer occupying a spot, and not trying to push the change, but then you don’t get a product that can move your state forward.
On the White House:
I’m really focused on getting things done, and done right, here in the state of Kansas. I haven’t speculated, and (I’m) not going to, about the future. We’ve got three and a half years. We need to get things moving in the right direction, and we think we’ve got them going in the right direction.
The good Lord’s been good to me. There will be something out there. We’ll see what that is.