Keen A. Umbehr

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Keen A. Umbehr
Keen Umbehr.jpg
Candidate for
Governor of Kansas
Elections and appointments
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sKansas State University (2001)
J.D.Washburn University School of Law (2005)
BirthdayNovember 8, 1958
Place of birthGreat Bend, Kansas
Personal website
Campaign website
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Keen A. Umbehr (b. November 8, 1958, in Great Bend, Kansas) is a Libertarian candidate for Governor of Kansas in the 2014 elections.[1] The general election takes place November 4, 2014.


Born in Great Bend, Kansas, Umbehr grew up around the world as his father's job required the family to live abroad. He lived in Nigeria, Angola, Africa, Singapore and London. Beginning in the 7th grade, Umbehr spent his summers in Alma, Kansas working on his uncle's farm. Upon graduation from high school, he returned to Kansas to start his professional career.[2]

In 1979, Umbehr began working for the Wabaunsee County Weed Department and later became Director. In 1981, he was the successful bidder on a trash collection contract which included six of the seven towns in Wabaunsee County, Kansas. Later that same year he opened a self-service car wash. He owned and operated the trash collection business and car wash for nearly 18 years. In later years, Umbehr started a tire disposal business and opened a restaurant, both of which were eventually sold.[2] Umbehr also opened his own private law practice in 2005.[3]

Umbehr attended one semester of college in 1977 at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota before dropping out. In 1999, at the age of 40, he returned to college at Kansas State University in January of 1999. He graduated cum laude three years later on December 8, 2001, earning a B.S. in political science.[2] Umbehr then attended law school at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. He graduated on May 14, 2005, and passed the bar the following summer. He was sworn in on September 30, 2005, and opened a private law practice in Topeka, Kansas. He later relocated his office to a building located on the corner of 4th and Main Street in his hometown of Alma, Kansas.

In 1991, Umbehr filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 First Amendment lawsuit alleging that the Wabaunsee County Commissioners violated his First Amendment right of free speech by terminating his trash collection contract in retaliation for newspaper articles he wrote which were critical of the Board of County Commissioners. On June 28, 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Umbehr's favor, establishing the principle that private contractors doing business with the government have the same First Amendment rights and protections as government employees.[4] Umbehr later settled out of court with the Board of County Commissioners.[2]


  • B.S. in political science - Kansas State University (2001)
  • J.D. Washburn University School of Law (2005)



See also: Kansas gubernatorial election, 2014

Umbehr is running for election as Governor of Kansas. The general election takes place November 4, 2014.

Campaign themes

Umbehr's campaign website highlights the following themes:[5]

  • Governmental Accountability
Excerpt: "Re-establish the Executive Branch Office of the Ombudsman. This office will investigate citizen and state employees’ claims of agency malfeasance, corruption, criminal conduct and/or wasteful government expenditures. The identities of the individuals reporting said claims shall be held in confidence in order to protect the claimant from governmental/agency retaliation.
  • Governmental Transparency
Excerpt: "Governmental Transparency is a key element in achieving governmental accountability, and can only be attained through statutory revisions of the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA) and the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA)."
  • State Income Tax Code
Excerpt: "Repeal the current tax code that exempts the 191,000 sole proprietors and LLCs and others from paying any Kansas state income tax."


See also: Kansas House of Representatives elections, 2012

Umbehr ran in the 2012 election for Kansas House of Representatives District 51 as a republican. Umbehr and Dee McKee were defeated by Ron Highland in the Republican primary on August 7, 2012. Richard Pikul defeated Scott Briggs in the Democratic primary. The general election took place on November 6, 2012.[6]

Kansas House of Representatives, District 51 Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRon Highland 45.2% 1,499
Dee McKee 31.6% 1,048
Keen A. Umbehr 23.2% 771
Total Votes 3,318


Umbehr married his high school sweetheart, Eileen Van Kirk, on June 10, 1978. They have four sons, four daughter-in-laws and nine grandchildren.[7]

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