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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Libertarian candidate touts vision for Kansas

  • Keen Umbehr said voters may think of Libertarians as people who want to legalize marijuana.
    But, Umbehr said he's not that kind of a Libertarian candidate.
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  • Keen Umbehr said voters may think of Libertarians as people who want to legalize marijuana.
    But, Umbehr said he's not that kind of a Libertarian candidate.
    Umbehr, who's running for Kansas governor, describes himself as a conservative Libertarian.
    He said he's focused on issues such as jobs, taxes and schools.
    He acknowledged that every political party has members with far out beliefs, but "you can't run a country from the extremes."
    "It's in the center that we have stability," he said.
    Umbehr visited Leavenworth and Lansing on Friday.
    The attorney from Alma became the Libertarian Party's nominee for governor April 26 during a state convention.
    In the Nov. 4 general election, Umbehr will face Democratic nominee Paul Davis and the winner of the Republican primary. Gov. Sam Brownback is seeking a second term but is being challenged in the Republican primary by Jennifer Winn.
    Umbehr said voters in Kansas, which typically is viewed as a strong Republican state, are fiercely independent during general elections. He noted voters in the past have elected Democrats to the governor's mansion.
    He said Kansas voters look for candidates with a vision.
    "I'm that man with a vision," he said.
    Umbehr is critical of an income tax plan that has been championed by Brownback.
    Umbehr said the plan reduces state income taxes for 191,000 small businesses to zero. But, there are 1.3 million wage earners in Kansas who still have to pay state income taxes.
    "I believe it's discriminatory," he said of the tax plan.
    Umbehr supports what is known as a Fair Tax that would allow the elimination of all state income taxes. Income taxes would be replaced by a consumption tax on goods and services.
    "It broadens the tax base," Umbehr said.
    Umbehr said he anticipates he would veto a lot bills if elected governor.
    He said legislators often pass laws to have something to brag about when they're running for re-election.
    Umbehr said he would have a litmus test for legislation.
    First, he would look at whether a bill is constitutional.
    He also would require that a new law applies equally to everyone all the time. He also would consider whether the bill is needed and if there's a way to pay for it.
    Umbehr said the way to grow the Kansas economy is through entrepreneurship, and the state has to get rid of regulations that hurt businesses.
    When it comes to the issue of marijuana, Umbehr said he would not support legalizing recreational use of the drug. But, he said there can be an argument made for the use of medical marijuana.

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