OLATHE, Kan. – Some would say Greg Orman is more of a spoiler than contender in the race for Kansas Governor, but he says he is the real deal.
Greg Orman became a common name when he ran against Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. Orman lost his bid for senate but he gained a large portion of the vote.
Now Orman is running for governor and some in both parties are concerned he could hurt one or both major party candidates.
We talked to Orman while enjoying some BBQ at Joe’s KC in Olathe.
Here is the dialogue between Orman and reporter Steven Dial.
Steven: Thank you so much for sitting down with us . Barbecue is big in the Kansas City community.
Talk about you jumping into this race. People still talk about when you ran against Sen. Pat Roberts and got a good bit of the vote. Why do you think you are the best voice to be governor of Kansas?
Orman: I think I have the best vision to turn the state around. If you look at the last two decades in Kansas, we have had two decades of decline. We really need new ideas and a new direction if we are going to make Kansas a place for all of our kids to live their lives.
Steven: This sit-down is to get to know the candidate. We will get you to your talking points in a second. I did some research, you are a black belt?
Orman: I do have a black belt, I got that 15 years ago. I started doing that as a kid. I grew up in a single parent home with six kids. My brother was always bigger than me and I started doing it as a way to survive daily interactions with my brother Mike.
Steven: You are a big marathon runner.
Orman: I have ran 20 marathons so far, it is something I got passionate about after college. Over two -a-year for about a decade. That is how I met my wife. Running has not only been good for my health but good for my life.
Steven: Running a marathon is like running for governor, a prolonged thing. People say Orman is going to hurt the democrat or take votes from Kobach, what do you say to someone who says you are not a real contender.
Orman: I think we are going to take votes from both democrats and republicans, I think I am the only candidate in the race that appeals to all people. Ultimately we are going to take votes from candidates, I believe we are going to win this race. Kobach has talked about smaller government, cutting taxes, starving government. Kelly has talked about lots of spending proposals and has no way to pay except to raise taxes. I am not into big government. I am into better government. I think that resonates with people in Kansas. We can invest in our priorities without raising taxes. But we need someone like me who can get better performance and can grow the Kansas economy.
Steven: What sets you apart. You talked about a conservative and a liberal.
Orman: Obviously as an independent that sets me apart. It liberates me to serve Kansas in a way others can't. I can appoint the best, I don’t have to play from a group of democrats or republicans, wherever they come from. So often, an idea from one side is dead on arrival. Maybe more importantly, I am the only person in this race that has successfully managed anything. It's really a management job, it’s a $17 billion enterprise, we need someone who can manage things and get results. Kobach has run some organizations poorly, Kelly has never run anything.
Steven: You have two meats on your plate, there are a variety of BBQ, a variety of candidates. Tell me something good about one of your opponents.
Orman: The cutest moment was at a Johnson County parade, I saw my 3-year-old daughter playing with Kobach's daughters. He is a good father and loves his kids. I think Kelly is a very intelligent person.
Steven: As this race is going on, what has surprised you the most.
Orman: I have been happy with the feedback we have been getting. Spending time learning the issues. I really want to have a plan, I learn more when I travel. We have to get our message out and make sure Kansans understand they don’t have to vote against a candidate in this race and I think so many voters are focused on voting against a candidate.
Steven: What do people not know about Greg Orman.
Orman: I have nine brothers and sisters. By age or emotionally, the answer is number two in both instances. I am the second oldest. My dad has had a furniture here. He had four more children. My brother came down, my sister campaigned for us. It’s a great thing to have a big family.
Steven: People like Kris Kobach have called you a liberal. Do you see yourself as a liberal?
Orman: I often say Kris doesn’t know too many words, he would think Ronald Reagan is a liberal, I am fiscally responsible. I can get better results. Kris can result to name calling but my track record shows I am the only person who can grow the state, education, healthcare, transportation.