Ellis County Commissioner Barbara Wasinger on Friday filed to run for the office of Kansas state representative for the 111th District.
Wasinger, a Republican, also has served on the Hays City Commission, and said the experience in local service inspired her to take the next step in entering state politics.
“Based on my 13 years experience on both the Hays City Commission and Ellis County Commission, I know I can provide an independent voice and effective leadership in Topeka for the district,” Wasinger said in a written statement. “My service to the community has given me a unique perspective on both rural and urban issues, which I believe can have an impact as I work with the majority party in the Kansas State Legislature.”
Incumbent Eber Phelps, a Democrat who also has served on the Hays City Commission, also has filed for office and is seeking another term.
Wasinger served on the Hays City Commission for several years until she was elected to the Ellis County Commission in 2012, becoming the first woman to serve on that board. She was elected in late 2016 to a second four-year term.
Wasinger said she decided to file for state office after considering the move for some time and visiting with her family.
“It’s a natural progression,” she said, calling it an “honor” to have been elected to serve in local capacities. “I volunteered my entire adult life throughout the community. I enjoy giving back to the community that’s given my family so very much.”
She acknowledged the state of Kansas is facing several pressing issues, with adequate school funding near the top of the list.
“I believe in fiscal responsibility and a common sense approach to spending taxpayer dollars,” Wasinger said. “For example, one of my proudest moments as an Ellis County commissioner was when we closed a $3.3 million funding deficit two years ago without raising taxes. That illustrates what can be accomplished when elected officials work in collaboration with one another.”