CMN: Welcome to FaceBook Live with the Kansas City Star editorial board. I’m Colleen McCain Nelson, editorial page editor, and I’m here today with Melinda Henneberger, from the editorial board. And our guest is Arden Andersen, a democratic candidate for Kansas governor. Thanks so much for joining us, Dr. Andersen.
AA:Thank you very much for allowing me to be here.
CMN: So you’ve jumped into a crowded democratic primary for governor…
CMN: For the first time in a very long time, a crowded democratic primary. And, you’re not a politician, you’re a doctor…
CMN: You’re running against some politicians. Why should voters choose a doctor over folks with more political experience?
AA: Well, certainly that’s a legitimate question, I get that quite often. I think what’s going on, not only just Kansas, but the whole country, actually the whole world, we’re seeing, really, people are getting kind of tired of just having the status quo. They’re tired of having career politicians. They may be able to talk a nice game, but the problem is we’re not getting the specific things solved in our economy, in our health care issues, in our education. And, they also want somebody who actually has hands on experience. And so, as a physician, and kind of a unique physician, I’m a family practice physician and also occupational medicine, so I take care of people and their families, sometimes for 2,3,4 generations, so I have a good handle on what goes on in the communities. I certainly have a good handle on what goes on in healthcare, so I understand that as far as what needs to be done with it. But I also have an agricultural background and a teaching background. So I have hands on experience with education, and we have to get that thing solved as well. As well as I’m also a Colonel in the Air Force, and you don’t get to be a full Colonel in the Air Force Reserve without having some leadership skills, and they just don’t give it to everybody. And, really, what leadership is about, is empowering people to do well. Anybody can command somebody to do something if you’re over them. But, to empower people to excel and to do well, really is what leadership is all about. And that’s really what I’ve been taught, at least going through training programs in the Air Force, as well as being a physician or a flight surgeon in the Air Force as a Colonel, we have a little different perspective, also, on how everything works together and how important things are, relative to, you might say, the lowest airman to the highest officer. Everybody has to work together. Well, that’s exactly what government hasn’t been doing. We have terrible partisan politics, not just Kansas, throughout the United States. And in the military, we don’t have that partisan thing at our level, in our units. Yes, we have people who are democrats, republicans, independents -but when it comes to doing our job, we don’t ask or ?? whether or not that person is a given party. They’re all Air Force, they’re all Americans. And that’s also part of the leadership process-to get people to come together.
MH: Is not being a big partisan kind of a, though, a liability when you’re running for political office?
AA: Well, certainly, there is relative to the primary. Obviously, I’m running as a democrat, not an independent and not a republican, so in that partisan side, absolutely, we have to be able to attract those people in the democratic party to vote for me, obviously. And…
MH: What’s your pitch to them?
AA: Well, bottom line is, is that the democrat platform has been, and for a long time and is – we need to do something about healthcare. We need to provide healthcare to a greater number of the population. I know how to do that within the current budget. Education is a huge issue, and always has been for the democratic party. I’m a former teacher, vo-ag teacher. And I understand what it really is going to take to improve basic education, and that is-we’ve got to get the money to the teachers and to the classroom, and not just throw money at a blanket basis. We’ve got to address the teacher / classroom issue. As well, environment is a big issue for the democratic party and most democrats. Well, I’ve been teaching carbon sequestration for almost 30 years now on the farm. And we know that if just 15% of Kansas farmers followed a sustainable program, we would be carbon neutral within 5 years. We have the ability to do that, we have the technology, we have the numbers that prove that we can do that. So, those are just 3 of the issues that are very important to democrats. I have hands on experience in all 3 of those.
CMN: So voters are eager to see results immediately…
AA: Yes, they are.
CMN: Instant gratification! So, if you’re elected, what would be your pledge in terms of what you would get done in the first 100 days of an Andersen administration?
AA: Right. I think the first thing we have to do, obviously – it’s hard to say everything that’s going to happen with education in that first 100 days, because this next legislative session is going to also have to change a lot of things. Well, that’s before I would get in. And the Supreme Court has already arbitrated that, look-you have to fund this better. So, I can’t really say what I would do because that may be taken care of. Hopefully, it will be. Certainly, the first thing that I would look at would be healthcare. And we know that right now, we have a significant problem, particularly because of the federal changes now, a lot people without insurance, a lot of people without healthcare coverage. We have to address that issue. And particularly, it falls upon the poor. And I have the numbers, where we can take the current 3.3 billion dollar budget, which is supplied both by the federal government and by the state government, and double the number of people that that covers.
CMN: How do you do that?
AA: Very simply. There’s actually 3 components to it. First of all, we have to understand the United States spends more money than any other country in the world on healthcare. We don’t have the best healthcare in the world. We do have the best emergency care in the world. But if you look at our statistics, out of the 11 richest countries in the world, we rank 11th in quality of care, in outcome, and in life expectancy. We are number 1 in the world in expense, we’re number 1 in the world in child mortality and in maternal mortality. So, once we understand that, we have to realize there’s 3 components to healthcare that we way overspend on and Canada doesn’t, Australia doesn’t, Germany doesn’t, Europe doesn’t, and that number 1 thing is medicines. And so, we can cut medicines in half, by simply going to better bidding, and purchasing them wherever we need to purchase them, in the developed world, whether it’s Canada, whether it’s Australia, Germany, Europe – we can cut half of that cost right off the top.
MH: Is that something you can do on the state level, just unilaterally?
AA: Yes, we can. Because Medicaid has to pay for medications, and particularly for the poor. So, we can mandate that those medicines be purchased at given places. Because right now, it’s set up that there are 3 private corporations. There’s KanCare, there’s Sunflower, and United, who make those decisions, and they do the contracting for medicines. And they decide on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, of what they’re going to cover and what they aren’t going to cover, relative to medicines, and what brand names they will or what brand names they won’t cover. So, by cutting the cost of medicines, right now it makes up about 20% of the budget in that 3.3 billion. We cut that in half, now that makes up 10% of the budget we’ve just reduced. Number 2, is the…
MH: Before you go on, I’m sorry.
MH: Is there any state that’s done that correctly in your view?
AA: No. That’s the thing. We could be the model.
MH: And why is that? On the national level, you can easily say well, they’re owned by big Pharma.
MH: But why has no state done that?
AA: Very good question, I think because we have all politicians running everything. We don’t have physicians running it. We don’t have people who actually have the hands on experience to know where’s that money going? And why is this costing so much…
MH: There have been doctors. Howard Dean’s a doctor, right?
AA: Right. That’s a good question. I don’t know why they haven’t done that, I only know these are where the numbers are. And other people are doing it around the world. With the same companies, that’s the thing. I can give you an example: Victoza, which is a common diabetic drug that we have to use. It’s for insulin. We called around the Leavenworth area to ask what is the range of the cash cost of that drug? It ranged between $716 and $1154 – cash. In Australia, it’s $229. Same company, same drug. What’s the problem here? So, why aren’t we purchasing that medicine for the same thing? So, as governor, I’m going to move that we do do that. We have to figure out whatever way it is so we can purchase that for $229 as well. That’s a significant difference in what it costs us for medicines. The next thing is labs and radiology. Same thing with that. Tremendous difference in costs. The same machines, there’s only 5 major machines in the world. We’re using the same ones here as they use in Australia, in Canada, in Europe. Why are our costs 2, 3, 4, and 5 times? It’s because it can be. But it’s not all throughout the United States. There’s already models in the United States where we’re getting MRIs for $400 a piece.
CMN: So, one of our viewers has a couple of follow up questions for you about healthcare.
CMN: Jon wants to know whether you would support getting rid of the current contractor who handles KanCare- he says it’s a mess. And do you support Medicaid expansion?
AA: Ok. That first question is the third phase of how we cut the cost per person.
AA: And, allow us, then to double it. Cause we spend right now, on average, $8700 on Medicaid per person. We can cut that to $4300, if we just did care similar to Canada. So, absolutely answer yes to his first question. And what happens is, is that we have a public fund: Medicaid. And what we’ve done, is we’ve turned it over to 3 private companies, who the first thing they’re going to do, is they have to pull their commission out. Out of public money. The next thing is, the more they refuse to pay, because every day I have to deal with that as a physician – Oh no doctor, what you just wrote for this patient is not medically necessary- by somebody who’s no a physician telling me what is or is not necessary. Because they count on, the statistics show, 10% of those refusals will never get appealed. So they don’t have to pay that. And the more money that’s left at the end – guess what? – they get those as bonuses. So, we get rid of the private companies out of our public money. No problem having a public system. If we look at Canada, Australia, Europe – they have 2 medical systems, distinctly separate. They have a public system, and they have a private system. But they don’t mix the two together. And what we’ve done is an adultered system in this country, where we’ve mixed the two together, and that’s why the cost is so much. No, no, no, no. We have a private system, and a public system. My hands switched.
CMN & MH: *laugh*
AA: So, that public system is public tax payer money. We don’t need a private organization to come in and administer that. We can administer that. When we do that, that’s how we’re able to cut the rest of that excess money that we’re spending, so that we then can double the number of people. Go to 750,000 people. And the second part of that question was do I believe, or am I for expanding Medicaid. Once we revise it, yes. Now we can expand a model that actually works. But just expanding a model that is currently the most expensive in the world? No. We can’t throw good money against bad. We have to first revise it so they’re not wasting so much money, and then yes, we can expand it. Because then we can afford to expand that process.
MH: What are the main problems with KanCare? You said they take their cut and that’s a conflict of interest …
AA: Well, part of it…
MH: It would seem…
AA: Part of it is, is just the overall cost. Which, because it’s so costly, we can’t extend it to more people that are really in need of having it. So, that’s one problem with it. The other thing is, is that the companies, it’s not just KanCare, it’s all of those 3 companies have what they call review boards, that look at any script that I write and make the determination “Oh that’s not medically necessary, so we’re not going to let you have that.” The problem is, is that 1, it takes more staff, for us in the office, because that means then, we have to have a staff member dedicated to “Ok, we’ve got to get more documentation, we’ve got to appeal this,” -it takes more time. And so, that costs us money, to take more time. Number 2, it decreases the health of the patient. I’ll give you an example. I have a lady who’s in her late 40s, she had a stroke. It left her with contraction of the left hand to the point she has to wear a glove because her fingernails cut into the palm of her hand, her wrist is contracted and the arm is contracted. Her left leg is weak and her toes are also contracted up under her foot. Alright? Any, you two ladies, who are not medial people, could look at that woman in a wheelchair and say “My goodness. That woman can not walk on her own.” No, no, no, no, no, no, no. We’re told that a mechanical cart is not medically necessary for her in her home. As a res.., we’ve been a year and a half now trying to get approval of a powered cart for this woman in her home because they’re saying it’s not medically necessary. Why can’t she use a walker? Because she can’t grab ahold of a walker.
MH: Who makes that call?
AA: The insurance company makes that call.
MH: Do you ever know, do you ever get to talk to that person? To appeal to the…
AA: Sometimes we do.
MH: To the decision maker?
AA: Sometimes we do. And then they say “Well, you just need to provide more information.” So what’s happened is, is that we continue to provide more and more information, we send records. “Oh, well we didn’t get those records, “ and so you send them again. I’m telling you, it’s been a year and a half on this woman, and we yet have gotten an approval to get that. And consequently, a month ago, she fell trying to get to the stool in her bathroom, and hit her head. So now we have an additional problem with her. So that’s part of the process that is broken, that needs to be cleared up. And you talk to any family practice doctor, they’ll tell you the same thing. That’s one of their greatest trials and tribulations, every single day, that somebody who is not a medical person is telling them what is or not medically necessary for their patients.
MH: Is that what prompted you to get into the race?
AA: Absolutely. Because it’s not changing. I’ve only seen it get worse and worse and worse with every year of practice.
CMN: So you say on your campaign website that universal healthcare is inevitable. What can the governor do on that front? And isn’t that a tough sell to Kansas voters?
AA: It is absolutely. Because of the, 1, the rhetoric that’s been in the system. And 2, because people don’t understand that the systems in the world where we say that they have “universal” healthcare, when you actually analyze them, what they have is a public system and a private system. And the public system also has an increment. You look at Australia, for example. And why I like to use Australia – I’ve been there over 20 times, I’ve taught down there, I’ve been in their medical system. They have an incremental system, in the public system. And what that means is, is that above a given income, you will have a copay. And you will have to pay, depending upon what your income is, you will have a higher and higher copay as your income goes higher and higher. Now, obviously, you’re in the poor level, there is no copay. It’s 100% covered in the public system. But they have public hospitals and they have private hospitals. So if you have the money to buy an insurance policy, you can replace that public system with a private system. Or if you want the public system but you want supplemental, you can buy a supplemental package to go on top of that. But they distinctly have a public system and a private system. And they spend just over $4000 on average per person. And we spend between $10,000 and $11,000 per person. There’s a significant difference. And you can’t say that Australia is getting less healthcare than Americans are. In fact, there statistics are better.
CMN: I believe Donald Trump even accidentally said good things about their system at one point.
AA: Their healthcare is better. In addition to that, two years, or a year ago, I was commissioned, one of my deployments was as a flight surgeon, we just set up a new NATO base over in Estonia, and I had to go and evaluate their healthcare system, because we’re sending troops over there. Well, I ended up, I had strep throat. So I actually had to experience their healthcare system, and get treated. As good or better than anything I’ve ever had here, as far as going to a family practice doc, getting an appointment, and being treated. And getting an X-ray, chest X-ray. Well, the interesting thing is, the study that was done, I think it was a year ago, looking at 195 countries in the world, we ranked 35th. Australia’s #2, Estonia’s 33rd. So they are two better out of the world, and I went and evaluated that healthcare system. It’s just as good, and they only spend between $3600 and $3800 per person. Why the big difference? Because they have a public system and a private system that are not mixed together, and have a whole bunch of people’s hands in the till of the public money. That’s why it’s so different. So when we say universal healthcare, what’s happening is, is that we have politicians that are talking in ways without saying all the facts. We have a public system and a private system. If you want to call it universal healthcare, that’s fine. And then they play the jargon game of oh, single payer system. We’ve had a single payer system! It’s called the tax payer. The tax payer pays for all of it. That is the true single payer system. And every country is the same. The tax payer is the one who’s paying the bill everywhere.
MH: Well, what response do you get when you say that on the stump? If you have republicans in your audience, for example?
AA: Well, it depends, because if, typically they are average folks out there, they say “We didn’t realize this. We didn’t know,” because most people haven’t been to Canada or haven’t been involved in the healthcare system. So they’re not aware. So most of them when you explain what’s really going on in the healthcare system, I find, it’s completely non partisan. Because it doesn’t matter whether you’re a democrat, a republican, or independent, you want healthcare for you and your family, and you want it affordably. You want education for you and your family, and your community, and you want it affordably. You want safety, public safety, environmental safety, it’s non partisan issues if we talk about them from experiential perspectives. And I have that experiential perspective. So from an agricultural perspective, I don’t talk about it as a democrat, or republican, or independent, I talk about it as an agriculturalist, as a scientist. Same thing in medicine. And when we talk about things that way, that’s how we win the general election.
CMN: So, it’s a challenge for a democrat to win a general election.
AA: It is.
CMN: I want to talk about the Kansas democratic party for a minute…
CMN: …because they have struggled in recent years.
CMN: And the last election cycle, Sam Brownback looked vulnerable, Pat Roberts was struggling, democrats came up empty.
CMN: What are Kansas democrats doing wrong, and what do they need to do to win a general election next year?
AA: I think first of all, you have to look at what candidates are there. And I think we have to stick more to issues, where, obviously, more and more of the population is getting tired of the mud slinging. Personal mud slinging. It’s one thing to disagree with a policy or a theory, or a mechanical thing. It’s a whole other thing to disparage an individual or a party. So, if I disparage you two, in public, because you have a different philosophy than I do, and I get elected, you are not going to be willing to negotiate with me in private. It’s just’s not going to happen. And so I think a lot of people look at that and see, well, we may not be happy with the status quo, but we’re not happy with all the anger either. We’re just going to err on the “side of safety.” Now that’s not necessarily good, and that’s what we want to change as democrats is let people know that there are answers out there that are good for all Kansans and not just democrats or just republicans, but all Kansans. And I think, as, we as democrats, you have to remember 50% of the governors, though, in the state of Kansas, have been democrats.
AA: So, it’s not an insurmountable task to be governor as a democrat in Kansas. And so, I think it really is similar to what Kathleen Sebelius did is that you look at issues, and, she made a campaign promise that she was going to balance the budget without having to raise taxes. And she had to do some finagling around, and she was given a huge deficit when she started, and came out with a nice surplus. And yup, she had to finagle things around, but she was able to do that because she got help as well, with some very good people that she was involved with. And so, I think , really what we have to let Kansans know, is that we’re not enemies here. I’ve heard that, on both sides of the spectrum, that Oh! republicans are enemies. Oh, democrats are enemies. No. I’m a Colonel in the Air Force, and all Kansans are Americans. So, they may disagree with me, but they’re not my enemy. And they never will be my enemy.
MH: Do you feel like the political landscape has shifted a bit since Kathleen Sebelius was elected? And if so, how does that change what you have to do?
AA: Yes. In one way, I think it has in that we see more polarization. We see more anger out there. We also see a little bit different society. I mean, even when she was in, we didn’t have the social media that we have today. I mean just in the last 5 years, we’ve had a significant change in social media. Good, bad, you know there’s a lot of debate on that as well. Bottom line is, we have it. And also, because of that then, different people are getting involved in the discussions, as well as in contributions to information. So, from that perspective, yes, we have to be more aware of that’s what’s going on, and I think, as a result too, we have to be perhaps more careful about what we say wherever we are because things are being recorded all the time, and when she ran the first time, that just didn’t happen. You know, we didn’t have the cell phone technology then as we have today. So I think that it’s important to understand, that there’re good and bad things about those. We also have had a change in our country, as far as certainly, at a federal level. We’ve had more war, internationally. We have had more problems. We’ve had, you know, more issues with racial things since then. Good or bad. I mean, I was raised in the 60s, I was born in 1958. So I remember the race riots in the 60s. I remember John F. Kennedy getting assassinated. I remember Martin Luther King getting assassinated and Robert Kennedy getting assassinated. I remember Vietnam. I remember the Tet Offensive. I remember all of those kinds of things. If we had social media then, what we have today, we probably would have a revolution in this country. We’d probably have riots on every street. With what went on back then with what the social media today. So, I think we have to be, certainly, more aware that people are listening in, and many times from a good perspective, they’re listening in because they want to know. And the young people in particular, they want to know. But that’s how they’re getting their information today. Where back then, pretty much it was the 3 majors – CBS, ABC, and NBC. That was pretty much it -nightly news. And that’s…
CMN: No FaceBook Live
AA: No. No, there wasn’t. There wasn’t any of that. But that’s pretty much the only way that people got their news. And today, there is a lot more anxiety, because you hear about every little bad thing that is going on. And so, I think there’s more anxiety. I think people are more nervous about the future, even then they were when Kathleen first ran. And so I think they’re looking for people to lead them, that, 1 -they feel safe with. And that they feel I’m not going to fall apart when times get tough, when the run gets difficult. And I don’t necessarily mean it from a political perspective. But the reality is, is that, just look at this year relative to natural disasters. We can guarantee, pretty much, we’re going to have more of those. The international scene that’s going on. The fear that’s going on, because of the nuclear things and so on. My parents went through that in the 50s, with the cold war issue, and the Bay of Pigs, and the Cuban nuclear crisis, missile crisis. That’s kind of amped up now, and it’s on social media. So,I think there’s a lot of nervousness in the population, more so than there was when she was going through that. And so, I have, I have that experience of with dealing with some of these things. I’ve been at war. I’ve been deployed. I’ve been deployed 3 times. I, on a regular basis, deal with veterans with TBI, with major illnesses and problems. And I’ve had to make life and death decisions on a regular basis, as to what am I going to do about this. Yes, they’re medical things, but it’s a daily basis. I know what it’s like to have to decide whether or not my decision may cost a life or not.
MH: How do you see the race shaping up, and what do you feel like you have to do to win it?
AA: The, I think the race is really, we have now 4 career politicians that are now involved. And, they have, definitely, experience in politics, no question about it. And what I’m looking to do is to differentiate that , no, I’m not a career politician. I admit it. I’m not here to be a career politician. But I have the personal experience in the issues that we do have to correct in the state. And I think we can make the state a model for the rest of the country, relative to healthcare reform, relative to education, relative to agriculture and the environment. Listen, agriculture is the number 1 economy, number 1 industry in the state. That also then correlates into what’s going on with energy, and what do we do relative to environment relative to energy. I have personal experience in dealing with those things. As a Colonel in the Air Force, I have the leadership experience of having to make decisions that sometimes are not necessarily comfortable. But I have the understanding of looking at the bigger view, and of empowering people to be able to help themselves in whatever job they’re in, and do their job. And not micromanage those things. You select good people and you let them go do their thing. At the same time, I think my focus is really on getting out into the communities and that personal interaction. Obviously, there’s a name recognition difference, and, well relative to Leavenworth, a lot of people know me in Leavenworth because that’s where I practice, obviously. But, at the same time, I have to get that same kind of interaction with people out in the communities. And so part of that is just getting out into the communities and doing those things. So it’s basically doing the work. That’s what it is.
CMN: So you mentioned that earlier that the legislature in this next session would have school funding at the top of their agenda. And, certainly they’re kind of backed into a corner on that. The Supreme Court has said schools aren’t funded on a sufficient level. Some republicans what to pass something to keep the Supreme Court out of this and kind of take away the Judicial Branch’s power on that. What would be your guidance to legislators in terms of how you think what the path forward should be in this next legislative session?
AA: Yeah, I think that’s a cop-out to say that “Well, we don’t like what the Supreme Court is ruling, so let’s change the constitution so the Supreme Court can’t rule on those things.” I think that’s kind of a cop-out, because it was put in place for a reason, originally, to protect our schools, to protect our children, really, who are our future. And so, I think the issue really is, always, about revenue and expenses. That’s really what it’s all about. And so, if we understand that there are ways to better spend money, we absolutely have to invest in the future. I think sometimes that may be lost on some politicians, in that, they have so much focus on the theory of, oh we’re going to cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes. Well, we saw what happened with the Brownback tax cuts. It wasn’t that the philosophy or theory of cutting taxes was bad, it’s that the taxes they cut were inappropriate ones to cut, which killed the revenue for the state. Because my understanding is, originally, they were thinking of cutting real estate taxes to the average people, which would have helped, and that got scrapped for the eventual cut in the corporation taxes, which killed us, basically. So bottom line is, is now, they’re going to have to pay for that one way or the other. And bottom line is is that, like it or not, the state has made commitments to certain things. They’ve made commitments to retirement, they’ve made commitments to infrastructure. And the legislature knows that the Supreme Court says you’ve made a commitment, constitutionally, to education. So, like or not, you’re going to have to increase revenue. And that may not be a decision that they like, obviously it isn’t. But the bottom line is, is that, it’s like you and I, individually – if I don’t take care of myself, I’m going to suffer the consequences down the road relative to my health. For example, if I’m a diabetic and say “Well, I’m just not going to check my blood sugars for a while, and I’m just going to go eat what I want to eat,” and then you come back, and now you’re getting perpheral neuropathy, and your kidneys are starting to fail, and your glaucoma is getting worse. The only reason that’s that way, is because you didn’t take care of your blood sugar level here. So you’re going to have to do things in order to get that back under control. Well, they messed up with the budget before, and you can’t just say that “Well, yeah, we screwed up on the budget before. So we’re just going to ignore that and so we’re going to penalize everybody now because we screwed up before.” No, you’ve got to come back and make right what you messed up before. And just admit, yup, we screwed up. Let’s now fix that and move on from there.
MH: Do you feel like the, having someone at the top of the national government who also did not have political experience, is that relevant to your race? Do you think it’s a hindrance to you?
AA: Boy, that’s a good question. I’m not sure I can answer all of that. I think that, I think it just is. It’s one of those things that, there’s some groups that would say it’s a great hindrance, and other people say, oh, it’s a benefit. I think it’s unfortunate, though, the Tweet things that go on and that kind of stuff. I think …
CMN: You’re not going to be a Tweeting governor? *laughter*
AA: No, no, no, no. I, the thing about it is, I think there are appropriate ways to have a discussion. And our country was based upon civil statesmen ship, and John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had almost opposite end philosophies, but they were best of friends, probably. And so even though they disagreed, they could still go and have a beer or a wine together.
CMN: I’d like to think they did! *laughter*
AA: And they did! *laughter*
CMN: Go have a beer together. *laughter*
AA: Or whatever it was. Maybe it was a glass of milk, I don’t know. But the thing about it is, is that we need to get back to that type of statesman ship at our state level. And be able to actually have discourse, and so when it’s all said and done, ok, great, we can go to the restaurant and have a meal together and enjoy our families together. But unfortunately, right now, it’s so polarized that they don’t even talk to each other when they’re supposed to talk to each other. And, part of that, I think, does come from the top. Because, not only nationally at the top, it comes with the example that you set, at the state level, the governor. What kind of precedent do you set? Relative to getting along with people, relative to having discourse with people? I see, absolutely, in the military, and I’ve been through about 7 different commanders in my career thus far, wing commanders. Without question, the wing commander sets the tone for the culture of the rest of the base, of how people interact, how they get along. What is priority to them, what isn’t. And, that also comes with the governor And so…
MH: Are you going to do a commercial about being your wing commander? *laughter*
AA: Well, you know, there is such thing as the wing man. *laughter* And so do you have the other person’s back? And that’s one thing that I do understand – in the military, when we get into a war or we get deployed, there is not partisanship in that realm. Everybody works together, they have a mission together. And that kind of attitude, I think, needs to be brought to the governor’s office. One of the things that I see, that I can do as governor, is we can do monthly educational forums around the state on various different subjects. If this month is going to be about healthcare, then we’re going to do forums around the state, we’re going to talk about healthcare. And, those specific things that I just explained to you. If this month we’re going to talk about education, then we’re going to talk about the various aspects of education. Bringing in teachers who are going to give us the information they need for education. So by doing that, the governor brings people together, not dividing them. Right now, it’s very, very partisan.
CMN: We’re just about out of time. To finish up, I’m interested in how you view the very crowded republican field. Who is the one republican you don’t want to face in the general election?
AA: I really don’t think there’s any of them that intimidate me. I think, because of my experience. Yes, Dr. Barnett is a family practice doc. And he is probably, relative to healthcare, as close, as far as experience, that I have. But he’s not a flight doc in the military, so he doesn’t have that experience. He’s not occupational medicine doc, so he doesn’t have that experience. But he does family practice, and he is a physician, so he knows a lot of the things that I already talked about relative to the difficulty in getting things clear. None of them have medicine and agriculture and education and environmental issues as hands on experience. So, I don’t care who’s in there, I can talk about any issue that we need to talk about relative to the state, and I’ve got personal experience in what those issues are.
CMN: So, to sum it up – bring it? *laughter*
AA: Bring it. Absolutely. *laughter*
CMN: Well, thank you so much for joining us today. We’d love to continue the conversation later in the campaign, and so we’ll have you back. And thanks for tuning into FaceBook Live with the Kansas Star Editorial Board.