The Independent candidate running against Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., stopped in Hays on Wednesday and visited Augustine's Bakery and Daylight Donuts. Greg Orman, Olathe, spoke with customers and explained why he is running outside the confines of the two parties.
"I don't think it's a secret to anybody that Washington is broken," he said. "We're sending the worst of both parties to Washington that are partisans who care more about pleasing the extremists and the special interests and their own parties than they do about solving problems for the people of Kansas."
The candidate would identify with all the residents of the state.
"We're running to represent all the people of Kansas, regardless of what party they're from, what part of the state they're from," he said.
Although voters' main issue is the economy, their other concerns vary by region, he said. Affordable housing dominates conversations in Hays, Dodge City and Garden City, and the western region struggles with water issues.
If elected, Orman pledged to try to prevent federal legislation from inadvertently encouraging water over-consumption. His victory might deny either party a majority in the U.S. Senate and give Kansas leverage in deciding national issues.
Ann Augustine, an Ellis resident who chatted with Orman, said she was surprised Roberts won his primary election because of his residency issues. Water is a key concern to her because it is hard to maintain her landscaping.
Ralph Taxter, Hays, said he liked Orman's promise to only remain in office 12 years because other leaders have stayed too long. Taxter is not bound by his political affiliation when he votes.
"I don't vote for politics," he said. "I'm supposed to be a registered Republican, but I vote for the man."
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