ELLINWOOD — Kansas Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer is giving Kansans a four-day work week.
On his Fridays, he works as a surgeon performing plastic/craniofacial surgery at the KU Medical Center and several other Kansas City metropolitan hospitals. Dr. Colyer has also performed volunteer medical duty in Sudan, Rwanda, Iraq and Afghanistan for International Medical Corps.
Colyer led the Kansas Medicaid transformation to KanCare, which is projected to save Kansans $1 billion over 10 years while increasing services. This was done without cutting provider payments or cutting those who need services off Medicaid, while focusing on women and children, the disabled and the aging.
“I was taught to make a difference in peoples’ lives,” said Colyer, a Hays native, who earned his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Kansas. “I’ve made a difference as a surgeon, one patient at a time. I still operate on Fridays. I still love what I do.”
Colyer said his wife and his children have also committed time for humanitarian causes, including Libya and Rwanda.
He grew more interested in politics after serving as a White House Fellow in Washington, D.C. He served as a representative and Senator before being tabbed as Lt. Governor in 2011.
“I thought maybe I could do something in the public policy world,” he said. That was how I would serve. It’s a great honor to serve as Lt. Governor. Kansas. Governor Brownback has made me the busiest Lt. Governor in the history of the state.”
Colyer was invited to Ellinwood by J. Basil Dannebohm, who is unopposed for the Kansas 113th House District. Colyer also visited St. Joseph Catholic School in Ellinwood.
“He is dedicated to making a difference in peoples’ lives,” said Dannebohm.
Colyer is the Lt. Governor candidate who is running with Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Brownback and Democratic challenger Paul Davis met in a debate Saturday during the Kansas State Fair Debate. Brownback has said that a second term will focus on growing the economy and making targeted investments in education, while adopting policies that extend the state’s resources.
“We have a lot to be proud of in Kansas. If we want to change America, it starts here,” Colyer said. “A lot of people don’t like that.”
Colyer said part of his responsibility is refuting false and misleading information coming from the Davis campaign.
• Davis’ campaign reports that the Kansas economy is not growing.
— Colyer said the number of domestic new entity filings in 2013 was 15,469, the highest annual total. The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the Kansas gross domestic product grew in the fourth of 2013 at a 3.1 percent annual rate.
“New business filing are up 25 percent, the highest number of business filings we’ve ever had,” Colyer said. “It’s been dramatic.”
• Davis’ campaign literature has stated that Kansas job growth has been stagnant since 2011.
— KWCH-TV has reported that Governor Brownback’s claim, the number 55,100 new private-sector jobs was verified by the Wichita State University’s Center for Economic Development.
• Davis’ campaign literature has reported that education funding has declined in the past four years.
“Not only is that wrong, but it’s backwards,” Colyer said. “We have higher total education funding than it’s ever been. They are pulling data from 2009 when the Democrats were in charge.”
— Colyer said the Brownback administration has boosted funding by more than $270 million to K-12 education since 2011, including $80 million in property tax relief for local districts.
• Davis’ campaign literature reports hundreds of K-12 educators have been laid off since 2011.
— Colyer said more than 280 special education teachers among hundreds of new K-12 educators have been hired since 2011.
“The teachers were laid off in 2009 and 2010,” Colyer said.
• Davis’ campaign has indicated the Gannon Lawsuit was filed in 2011. The lawsuit asserted lack of adequate funding for education in the state was unconstitutional.
“It was about getting equity,” Colyer said.
— Brownback’s campaign reports that the Cannon v. Kansas suit was filed Nov. 2, 2010, months before Brownback was sworn into office.
• Davis’ campaign reports property tax rates have risen due to income tax cuts.
— Brownback’s campaign indicates there is no correlation between increased property and increased local spending.