The parade of candidates seeking the Kansas governor’s office continues to grow with the addition of Mark Hutton, a Republican former House member.
Hutton founded a construction company based in Wichita that he ran for years before moving into politics.
When Hutton was in the Kansas House, he defied some fellow conservatives by arguing the state should reverse an income tax exemption for thousands of business owners. In 2016 he offered a proposal that would have cut the food sales tax in exchange for reinstating the business income taxes.
Hutton said he’d bring that leadership to the governor’s office.
“I believe I’ve demonstrated in the past that I’m willing to make the hard decisions, the hard calls, that I’ll put good policy for the state ahead of political personal gain or party gain,” he said.
Hutton said as governor, he’d try to bridge gaps between political factions.
“For me, it’s about communication,” he said. “It’s about bringing people together to solve problems, not pushing them apart with philosophy.”
Hutton did not run for re-election last year, but legislators did reverse the business income tax exemption earlier this year as part of a tax increase.
The field of Republican candidates for Kansas governor also includes Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer.
Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda.