Connie O’Brien to run for office
With longtime Leavenworth County state Reps. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing, and Candy Ruff, D-Leavenworth, announcing they will not seek re-election in 2008, there will undoubtedly be at least two new faces from the area serving in Topeka next year.
One of those could be Connie O'Brien, a local GOP activist, who filed for 42nd District representative May 6 with the Kansas Secretary of State's office.
O'Brien, president of the Leavenworth County Republican Women's Club and vice chair of the county Republican party, said Tuesday of her decision to run for public office, "It's something I've always wanted to do. If Kenny (Wilk) wouldn't have retired, I wouldn't have done it. But it seemed like the right thing to do and the right time for it."
The graduate of St. Mary College in Leavenworth taught special education for many years and currently serves as a substitute teacher with the McLouth School District.
She and her husband Ed live on a small farm north of Tonganoxie, where they have raised their 11 children.
As far as what issues are most important to her, O'Brien mentioned the economy, energy issues, immigration, education and changing the selection process for Kansas judges and justices.
In regard to education, she said in an email announcing her candidacy that she supports policies that promote local control of schools, eliminating bureaucracy, encouraging higher pay for teachers and providing more resources for the classroom.
"I support full funding for special education," she added.
On energy, O'Brien said the current business climate in Kansas is "costing us jobs and causing prospective businesses to locate in other states."
She said she supports efforts to bring coal-fired plants to western Kansas and "efforts to place these policymaking decisions back in the hands of the elected representatives of the people."
She also noted that Kansas Supreme Court justices and district judges should be subject to senate confirmation, as they are in other states.
But most of all, O'Brien said, she will strive to represent the people of the 42nd District, which encompasses most of the southern two-thirds of Leavenworth County, including the cities of Tonganoxie and Linwood and parts of Lansing and Leavenworth, to the best of her ability.
"I'm not going to be persuaded by big money and lobbyists and will not be swayed by interests other than those of the people of my district," she said.
Candidates running for state and county office have until June 10 to file prior to an Aug. 5 primary and a Nov. 4 general election.
As the only Republican on the 42nd District ballot as of yet, there may not be a primary election, but O'Brien would face Timothy Moran, a Lansing Democrat, who filed for the seat April 30, if the two remain uncontested. Attempts to contact Moran Tuesday were unsuccessful.