State Rep. Scott Schwab is officially running to become the next Kansas secretary of state.
The Olathe Republican announced his campaign in an email Wednesday afternoon.
Schwab served as speaker pro tem during the 2017 legislative session. His colleagues chose him for the post months after his son Caleb died in August 2016 while riding the Verrückt, a 17-story water slide at the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Schwab said the decision to run for a higher office was made in early 2016. Caleb’s death, however, put those plans on hold for a time.
“Obviously, after the loss of our son Caleb the following August, everything was put on hold,” Schwab said in a statement. “Now that a year has passed since that incident, we believe it is still the best way for us to serve this state; and know all four of our children support that.”
Another Olathe Republican lawmaker, Rep. Keith Esau, announced a run for the secretary of state’s office earlier this year.
Sedgwick County Clerk and Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kelly Arnold announced an exploratory committee for the office in June.
In his announcement, Schwab noted the state has undergone “several election policy changes” in recent years and said “now it is time to breathe.”
“As Secretary of State, I will push less on new policy and more on excellence in carrying out the policy we now have,” Schwab said in his statement.
Voting laws in Kansas have changed during Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s tenure.
Kobach, a Republican who is now running for governor, urged lawmakers to pass a controversial 2011 law that required voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Under that policy, new Kansas voters also must provide proof of citizenship to register.