GOP activist files for seat being vacated by Wilk
A day after longtime Leavenworth County State Rep. Kenny Wilk announced he would not seek re-election, a Republican Party activist says she'll run for the office.
Connie O'Brien, president of the Leavenworth County Republican Women's Club and vice chair of the county Republican Party, said Tuesday night she would seek the 42nd District Kansas House of Representatives seat being vacated by Wilk.
O'Brien has a history degree from St. Mary College in Leavenworth and has taught special education and currently substitutes as a teacher. She said she sees herself as a voice for family farmers, small businesses, working men and women and traditional family values.
Her husband, Ed, is retired from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway after 39 years of service and was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 866.
The O'Briens live on a small farm north of Tonganoxie.
In an e-mail announcing her candidacy, O'Brien said she was a fiscal conservative. "I will oppose efforts to raise taxes in Kansas, she said.
On education, she said she supports policies that promote local control of schools, eliminate bureaucracy, encourage higher pay for teachers and provide more resources for the classroom. "I support full funding for special education," she added.
On energy, she said the current business climate in Kansas is "costing us jobs and causing prospective businesses to locate in other states. I will support efforts to place these policymaking decisions back in the hands of the elected representatives of the people."
She said she supported traditional values, including the Kansas Marriage Amendment. "I am pro-life and I will support policies that help women and extend legal protection to children in the womb," she said.
On immigration, O'Brien said respect for laws was a pre-requisite to legal immigration. "Kansans recognize that legal immigration is beneficial to our state. I will oppose giving benefits reserved for legal immigrants to those who enter our country or state illegally."
She said the state has the responsibility to protect its citizens and ensure that those who break the law receive just punishment. "I support life in prison, without parole, for those who commit heinous crimes," she said.
Lastly, in her announcement, O'Brien said she supports the "constitutional right to bear arms for defense of innocent life and property."
O'Brien is the first announced candidate for the 42nd District, which encompasses most of the lower two-thirds of Leavenworth County, including the cities of Tonganoxie and Linwood and parts of Lansing and Leavenworth.