Kansas state Sen. Caryn Tyson is running for Congress, setting up a primary showdown between three Republican state lawmakers.
“I’m troubled that instead of truly listening and delivering results, too many in Washington are defending the status quo. Washington has failed us,” Tyson, a Parker Republican, said in a statement.
Tyson is pursuing the seat in Kansas’ 2nd congressional district, which covers wide swaths of eastern Kansas. U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, the Topeka Republican who currently holds the seat, won’t run for re-election and Tyson is the third current state lawmaker to declare a campaign for the Republican nomination to succeed her.
State Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a Leavenworth Republican, and state Rep. Kevin Jones, a Wellsville Republican, are both seeking the seat. All three have established themselves as conservative voices in the Legislature.
Vernon Fields, a Basehor city councilman, has also announced a campaign as a Republican. On the Democratic side, former gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis launched a campaign earlier this month.
Tyson served as Senate tax chair during the 2017 legislative session, but ultimately voted against the bill that repealed Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax cuts.
During her six years in the Legislature, Tyson has distinguished herself as a proponent for stricter immigration rules and welfare requirements. In 2015, she authored legislation that would have restricted welfare recipients from taking more than $25 out from an ATM with their benefits card.
Kansas ultimately had to abandon the policy, which was signed into law and then quickly repealed, after the Star’s Washington bureau uncovered that the policy ran afoul of federal rules that require states to ensure adequate access to cash assistance for beneficiaries, putting millions of dollars in federal aid in jeopardy.
“The people of the 2nd district deserve better,” Tyson said in her campaign announcement. “We need to embrace the President’s call to repeal and replace Obamacare, secure our borders, and pass comprehensive tax reform to cut taxes.”
Tyson operates a ranch with her husband and has worked in information technology for more than 25 years.
Contributing: Bryan Lowry of the Star