A former Salina area legislator is hoping to be the next governor of Kansas.
Ellsworth farmer Josh Svaty, the former 108th district representative representing portions of Saline and Ellsworth Counties, and former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, announced Tuesday afternoon that he is running as a democrat for governor.
“The people of Kansas sent a loud message in the 2016 election that they are ready to change direction,” Svaty said. “The new legislature has started to forge a path, but it also exposed a core problem: leadership matters and our Governor matters. And the next Governor in particular will matter greatly. We must undo the damage inflicted in recent years and begin again. I commit to the people of Kansas that as their next Governor, I will work together with them and the Legislature to make that happen”.
The 37-year-old Svaty made the announcement from the co-op elevator in the Ellsworth County community of Blackwolf.
Svaty represented the 108th District in the Kansas Legislature from 2003-2009. In 2009 Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson appointed him state agriculture secretary. Svaty also served as a Senior Adviser to the Regional Administrator at EPA Region7, and was a Vice President at The Land Institute in Salina.
Svaty’s announcement will set up the first contested Democratic primary for governor since 1998. Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer has already said he is running, and house minority leader Jim Ward is also considering running.
Wichita businessman Wink Hartman is seeking the GOP nomination and other potential Republican candidates include Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Kansas Leadership Center CEO Ed O’Malley.
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is term-limited.
The Associated Press contributed to this story