I'm Carl Brewer, and I want to be your next governor of Kansas.
My mother, along with some help from my grandparents, raised my five siblings and me right here in Kansas. My family has endured many struggles over the years, but through that, I've learned the importance of honesty, responsibility, education, and, above all, a faith in God.
At 16, I started my first full-time job at a meat-packing plant. I also spent many summers with my aunt and uncle on their ranch in Oklahoma, where I learned the value of farming and hard work.
From there, I served in the Kansas Army National Guard, where I became the first African American President of my Officer Candidate School Class. As a captain, I saw firsthand the heroism of my fellow soldiers while we patrolled the death and destruction on the night after the Andover and Hesston tornado. I later served as the Company Commander of infantry and artillery companies.
I worked in the aircraft industry for 32 years. I began as a sheet metal worker, and later joined the Machinists Union and became a union steward. I moved forward as a manufacturing engineer and eventually moved onto the management team at Spirit Aviation.
For 37 years, I have been married to my wife, Cathy. She is an amazing mother to our four children. Together we attend Holy Savior Catholic Church where I also sing in the choir. We especially love being grandparents to our 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
My hobbies include hunting, fishing and I am also a barbecue pit master. I make and sell my own BBQ sauce, and sometimes even compete at culinary events around the state.
One of the greatest privileges of my career was serving as the Mayor of Wichita from 2007-2015 where my message has always been: We cannot wait for others to take care of us. We must identify and bring back opportunities for our businesses. We must look outside our nation’s borders, building relationships and opening doors, to the lead the way for our companies.
During that time, I worked both sides of the political divide to help the city thrive despite the worst recession since the Great Depression. I was the first African American elected by city-wide popular vote as Mayor of Wichita. I was later was re-elected with 69% of the vote.
As Mayor, I led the city in developing the community’s engagement in international trade. I promoted trade as a key strategy to secure Wichita’s economic future, championing exports to mayors in cities across Kansas and Missouri.
As Kansas needs to claim its fair share in the global marketplace, I visited foreign nations and hosting foreign delegations to Wichita, introducing countless foreign businessmen and leaders to the quality products manufactured by Wichita companies.
In 2013, leaning on the professional services of the City of Wichita’s private sector trade partner Kansas Global Trade Services, Wichita was selected to be one of the 28 metros in Brookings’ Global Cities Initiative (GCI) – a program aimed at helping the leaders of American metropolitan areas strengthen their regional economies by becoming more competitive in the global marketplace. Wichita also unveiled the Global Air Capital-China program --a unique platform to promote the region’s aviation industry in China. Using the power of government to build business relationships in China, the Air Capital program focuses on export transactions and has the potential to attract foreign investors.
In 2014, Wichita delivered on two trade initiatives:
- Completion of the Wichita-South Central Regional export plan – the first of its kind in the state – as part of the GCI;
- And the first business trade mission to China, opening the first Air Capital liaison office in Xi’an, China.
While Mayor of Wichita, I also worked to develop economic opportunities for the city and state by serving in the following roles:
- President of the Kansas League of Municipalities
- Board member of the National League of Cities (NLC)
- Chaired NLC Community and Economic Development Steering Committee
- Chaired NLC Large Cities Advisory Board
- Committee assignments the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP), the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Kansas League of Municipalities and National League of Cities
- Presidential appointment representing Kansas on the Immigration Task Force
- Volunteer service with Wichita Black Arts
As mayor of a city that was thriving despite the Great Recession, I was asked to the visit the White House and share my views with President Barack Obama on several occasions. I had bi-weekly phone calls with Vice-President Joe Biden to stay in contact with national officials about the goals, needs and future of both Wichita and Kansas.
We've seen Wichita grow and thrive over the past decade. Now it's time for the entire state to experience the wonderful opportunities all of our communities deserve. With your support, I will get Kansas back on track.