Libertarian Keen For Kansas Gov. Gig
He's a longshot to beat Kansas Gov Brownback but this former trashman is making an earnest effort at offering an alternative to GOP "leadership" or lack thereof . . . Check it:
Keen A. Umbehr of Alma seeks the Libertarian Party nomination for Governor in 2014
Keen A. Umbehr of Alma has announced his intention to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for Governor of Kansas in 2014. On August 29, 2013, Umbehr filed the necessary forms with the Kansas Secretary of State appointing a treasurer for his campaign.
If elected, Umbehr states that his top priorities will be accountability and transparency at all levels of state government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial. “The pathway to better government is more open government,” Umbehr said.
In addition, Umbehr states that he will advocate for a revised income tax plan that establishes a single tax rate for all income levels. “The cost of providing government services should be shared equally amongst all Kansas citizens,” Umbehr stated. “It is my personal opinion that the current income tax code fails to comply with the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.”
Umbehr has spent the past 25 years engaging in governmental oversight – first as a trashman in Wabaunsee County and then as an attorney in private practice. In each case the government officials whose misconduct Umbehr exposed retaliated by attacking his livelihood.
While operating his trash business, Umbehr began writing a weekly newspaper column wherein he often criticized the local county commissioners. The commissioners responded by terminating Umbehr’s trash collection contract. Umbehr sued, alleging that the termination violated his First Amendment right of free speech. The case ended up at the United States Supreme Court where Umbehr won a 7-2 decision, establishing the constitutional principle that private contractors have the same First Amendment rights as government employees. (518 U.S. 668 (1996))
After selling his trash business in 1999, Umbehr returned to college at the age of 40, attending Kansas State University along with his son, who was also a freshman at the time. After graduating with honors, Umbehr went on to earn a law degree from Washburn University School of Law and opened his private practice in Topeka in 2005.
In 2009, Umbehr was instrumental in exposing the sexual exploitation of female inmates at the Topeka Correctional Facility (TCF). The Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) promptly retaliated by filing an ethics complaint against Umbehr with the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator. Once again, Umbehr’s livelihood was targeted by government officials who were angered by the public exposure of their official misconduct.
Undeterred, Umbehr continued to investigate allegations of wrongdoing at the Topeka Correctional Facility, and filed a formal complaint with the EPA alleging that female inmates at TCF had been used to remove asbestos without the benefit of training or protective gear.
In March of 2010 the EPA announced that KDOC and TCF had indeed violated certain provisions of the Clean Air Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Asbestos Worker Protection Rule.
On November 4, 2011, after a two-year investigation, the ethics complaint against Umbehr was formally dismissed.
“Attempting to change Kansas government from the outside in is a formidable task,” Umbehr said, “and one that is often met with hurdles, roadblocks and retaliation. By seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination for governor, I am taking the first step towards changing Kansas government from the inside out.”
Umbehr, 54, was born in Great Bend, Kansas, and grew up overseas, where he met his future wife Eileen while both were attending Singapore American School. Keen and Eileen have been married for 35 years and are the parents of four grown sons and grandparents of nine. The couple continues to reside in Alma where Keen operates his law practice.
For more information, please visit www.KeenforKansas.com.
Keen for Kansas
P.O. Box 414
401 Missouri Ave.
Alma, KS 66401
785.765.2626 (tel) / 785.765.2627 (fax)