Sandy Praeger, former Lawrence mayor and city commissioner, announced at a news conference this morning at the Lawrence Senior Center that she will be a Republican candidate for the Kansas House of Representatives in the 44th District.
Speaking before a gathering of about 35 family members and friends, Praeger said her experience working for the city and with leaders across the state will be of help to Lawrence.
"The citizens of Lawrence must take a leadership role in creating the future of Kansas through our leadership in the state legislature," she said.
"My experience as mayor and city commissioner in Lawrence and my experience with many talented leaders across the state will be an asset as we work together to develop all our resources for the good of the entire state."
PRAEGER, 45, is the only announced candidate for the 44th District seat, although Democratic leaders in Lawrence say they expect to field a candidate for the seat, which was put up for grabs when Rep. Jessie Branson, D-Lawrence, said earlier this week she would not seek a sixth term this fall.
Early in her announcement, Praeger mentioned the "outstanding job" done by Branson in representing the 44th district for the last 10 years. She said Branson's announcement Wednesday that she would not run again "opened the door to a public service opportunity I have been considering for a long time."
Praeger is a graduate of Kansas University. She currently is vice president of community affairs at Douglas County Bank.
PRAEGER said one of the most important jobs of the Legislature is to make sure KU and other higher education institutions "have the human and financial resources they need to educate our Kansas young people to compete in the 21st century.
"Kansas University will be one of my highest priorities in the state Legislature," she said.
Praeger also mentioned the importance of state funding for elementary and secondary-level public education, and said she was a strong proponent of the state's Economic Development Initiative for economic development.
"Kansas is not creating jobs as fast as the rest of our country and that should be a concern to all parents who have children who would like to live and work in Kansas," she said.
PRAEGER served as city commissioner from 1985-89, and was mayor in 1986-87. Since moving to Lawrence in 1977, she also has been director of marketing at Brandon Woods Retirement Community, president of the Haskell Indian Junior College Foundation and docent coordinator at the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art at KU.
Praeger was chair of the United Way campaign in 1989 and currently is first vice president of the United Way Board of Directors.
Praeger and her husband, Dr. Mark Praeger, a Lawrence surgeon, have two children, Gretchen and J.D., who attend KU.