The Aug. 4 Kansas Republican and Democratic primary elections are quickly approaching. While there are some interesting races to watch, particularly at the federal level for seats representing southeast Kansas and the state as a whole in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, at the state level, in many cases it is already clear who the competitors will be in the November general election.
One such race is for the Kansas House of Representatives District 2 seat — representing most of Crawford County outside of Pittsburg, as well as parts of Neosho, Bourbon and Allen counties — where Lynn Grant of Frontenac is the only Democrat to have filed to challenge incumbent Rep. Ken Collins of Mulberry, who is the only Republican to have filed.
"I have been involved in the community that is SEK for over 50 years," Grant said in a press release, in which she also noted that although she was born in Overland Park, she moved to the area decades ago to attend Pittsburg State University and never left, and her late husband Bob Grant was a 10-term Kansas legislator.
"This is my home," Grant said. "Now I hope to honor Bob’s legacy by representing the constituents of the second district in Topeka."
Grant said she plans to focus on priorities including keeping public education viable, supporting rural hospitals, providing healthcare for those desperately in need of it, and improving road safety, particularly on Highway 69 and Highway 7 north of Girard.
"I share Bob’s fearless passion for continuing our region’s advancement," Grant said. "Education and healthcare are crucial not just for individual growth and prosperity but for advancing our community as a whole."
In response to questions from the Morning Sun, Rep. Collins highlighted some of the same priorities as Grant.
"I am running for reelection because just one two year term isn't long enough," Collins said in an email. "It takes time to see results. I hope to see the completion of the US Highway 69 improvements in the district that are part of the old T Works program as well as the anticipated and much needed K7 improvements North of Girard."
Collins also noted other priorities, however, related to the current widespread concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact.
"The major issue right now is and will continue to be COVID19," Collins said. "During the shutdown I heard from numerous people who were laid off from their jobs but were unable to access the KDOL [Kansas Department of Labor] system to receive their unemployment insurance benefits. The State of Kansas must do better for its citizens."
Collins added that he has been endorsed by Kansans for Life, the Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, among other organizations.
He notes on his campaign website that he grew up in Mulberry and served in the military for several years in the U.S. Air Force and Kansas Army National Guard, that he has an Associates of Science degree from Fort Scott Community College and a Bachelors of Science from Friends University, and that he is retired from working at AT&T. His campaign site additionally notes his pro-life and pro-Second Amendment positions.
Grant, who retired from her job as an administrative specialist at Pittsburg State University in 2011 and currently serves on the Frontenac City Council, also noted in her release that she formerly worked at Southeast School District USD #247, as well as serving on the city council and owning and operating the Idle-a-While Tavern & Grill in Cherokee for many years. She also helped found the Interfaith Alliance of Pittsburg, is a member of Women for Kansas and the Sacred Heart Altar Society, and is a board member for Big Brutus, Inc., the Elm Acres Foundation, and the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, she noted.
"I’ve served in municipal government, educational institutions, and in numerous leadership positions throughout my long history in SEK," Grant said. "I care deeply about the needs of Southeast Kansans, and I intend to fight for our interests in the state legislature."