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Politics, Elections and Government

Davis Takes Moderate Environmental Stance As Kansas Governor's Race Tightens

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Alyson Raletz
/
KCUR

Kansas gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis says if elected, he'll surround himself with the most bipartisan cabinet in the state's history.

"I want to try to bring the very best people we can into state government, and that's ultimately going to mean we're going to have roughly equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans," said Davis, a Democrat.

His comments came during an appearance on KCUR's Up to Date with host Steve Kraske on Wednesday.

Though polls last month showed Davis with a several-point lead on GOP incumbent Sam Brownback, more recent numbers show the two candidates neck and neck. Brownback declined an invitation to appear on Up to Date.

During his conversation with Kraske, Davis expressed several moderate environmental views, including measured support for a controversial plan to build a coal-fired power plant near Holcomb, Kan.

"The permit has been issued, and I'm not going to try to undo the permit," says Davis, who as a legislator voted against issuing the required permits for Sunflower Electric Power Corp. "There's going to be a lawsuit out there, and we'll see what happens with that."

Davis decided not to fight the power plant because, he says, doing so "handicapped" former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' ability to make progress on other issues during her time in office. He also supports the Keystone Pipeline, a position more common among Republicans.

But he also says Kansas needs to focus more on its ability to generate wind energy. Davis is in favor of what's known as the Kansas Renewable Portfolio Standard, which would require utilities to draw at least 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020.

"You look at the wind industry, and they're not interested in doing business in states that don't have a renewable portfolio standard," says Davis, adding that there's untapped wind potential in Kansas.

Brownback, meanwhile, opposes the measure.

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