A candidate for governor of Kansas said he believes now is the time for candidates of neither party to step forward.

“A lot of people are party-weary, battle weary right now in Kansas, I think in our whole nation for that matter. If ever there was a window of opportunity for people to move in that direction, it’s right now, especially in Kansas,” said Rick Kloos, Topeka.

Kloos and his wife, Pennie, were in Hays on Saturday to participate in the FrostFest parade.

“I want to be a governor who’s about the people. I think being independent can bring something fresh, fresh eyes on the system,” he said in an interview with The Hays Daily News.

Kloos, 51, grew up in the Miltonvale area, and Pennie is from Clay Center.

When Kloos was 16, he and his father started a company rendering restaurant grease, and Kloos drove across the state to collect it, he said.

He received a bachelor’s degree in theology and ministerial studies at Trinity College in North Dakota and studied substance abuse counseling at Washburn University.

He later worked as a police chaplain in correctional facilities and a hospice chaplain in clinical settings.

For approximately 12 years, he and his wife have worked in real estate and have purchased and renovated houses. In 2009, they started a non-profit thrift store in Topeka that now has a staff of 30. Their sons — Ricky, Michael, Matthew and Nathaniel — have been running the store while they have been on the campaign trail.

Kloos launched his campaign in May and by August had acquired 8,000 signatures to submit to the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office to get on the 2018 ballot — 5,000 are required. He is the first independent candidate to do so since 1990, although Johnson County businessman Greg Orman made headlines last week in forming an exploratory committee to run as an independent.

“I welcome anybody who wants to run for public office, especially on the independent ticket, because it’s going to draw people’s attention to the independent candidates,” Kloos said of the possible competition from Orman.

A governor not affiliated with the Democrat or Republican parties will be more representative of the people, Kloos said.

“At the end of the day, a lot of them have to govern by their party. This way, I can truly say I cross the lines, and I think that’s important to people,” he said.

The biggest challenge the next governor will face, he said, will be to restore the respect and confidence of the people to that office.

“There’s just such a turmoil now. There used to be a time in Kansas you’d agree to disagree and still get things done. Whatever happened to the word ‘balance’ and meeting people where they’re at?” he said.

Kloos said he will take a different approach to politics.

“You hear a lot of politicians say, ‘We need a revolution, we need a revolution.’ I think we need to be careful what we’re asking for. We need a renaissance,” he said.

“I want to be an advocate toward peace,” he said.

Approaching state politics through the people, especially at a local level, is important to him. He said as governor, he would make more contact with mayors across the state to understand local issues and what the state can do to help.

To help reach younger voters, Kloos has named his son, Nathaniel, 25, as his running mate. If they’re elected, Nathaniel would lead a council of millennials that would address issues such as media, religion, business, family, arts and government.

“We gotta listen to this generation. We owe it to them. That’s why I have my son, a voice for this generation, running as lieutenant,” Kloos said.