Democrat candidate for Governor, Joshua Svaty, announced his running mate on Wednesday and embarked on a statewide tour that began in Topeka. Svaty first met his running mate, Katrina Lewison of Manhattan on a campaign visit six months ago to Civic Plus, where she was a director.
“I sort of started asking the standard questions that any Kansan asks another,” said Svaty. “I wanted to know where she was from. She was from Hutchinson. What high school did you graduate from? I graduated from Buhler. Where’d you go to college? I went to West Point. At that point, the record started scratching in my brain. This was a great career. So what did you do after West Point? I did a tour in Iraq, I flew Black Hawk helicopters. I was a platoon leader there. Then I came back and I taught cadets at West Point for awhile in New York and then my husband and I, who I met at West Point, decided we wanted to come back to Kansas and set down roots here.”
The 40-year-old Lewison has a successful business background and three children to raise. So, why is she choosing to enter statewide politics now?
“There are people in this state who are struggling,” Lewison said. “There are communities who are hurting. Failed economic experiments, the gutting of our public school system and rural communities that are losing their hospitals and their grocery stores. It’s got me thinking about the direction that our state has gone in the past decade. Further, I’m starting to think about my kids’ future. I want to know, when my kids are grown, if they are going to be able to make the same decision that I made, to come back here to Kansas to raise their kids here. This is devastating. We have to step up to make a change.”
There is some concern among those who follow politics that the ticket is not geographically balanced.
“It doesn’t matter what side of the state you’re from,” said Lewison. “Whether you’re from Sharon Springs or from Pittsburg or from Buhler, Kansas or from Johnson County. Kansans concerns are mainly the same. People want a good economy and strong jobs. They want a world-class education. They want access to affordable and quality healthcare, and they want an infrastructure that is built to last. Most importantly, we are allowing ourselves to be divided
along ideological lines and instead, we should be focusing on our similarities, instead of our differences.”
Svaty is the first Democrat to announce a running mate, but all candidates must make their choice by the filing deadline on June 1.