Topeka Longtime Lawrence politician and community advocate Sandy Praeger made it official Friday: She is seeking the Republican Party nomination to be Kansas' next insurance commissioner.
Praeger, a state senator the past nine years, also has served in the Kansas House of Representatives and on the Lawrence City Commission, in-cluding a stint as mayor in 1986-87.
In launching her campaign at a Capitol news conference, Praeger said, "We need to continue to work to find ways for insurance to be available and affordable to these small companies and individuals."
Bryan Riley, a Wichita insurance salesman, also is seeking the GOP nomination. Walker Hendrix of Lawrence, who heads a state agency that represents consumers on utility cases, has said he was considering a run for the insurance commissioner post.
The current insurance commissioner, Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, is raising funds for a gubernatorial bid, but hasn't formally declared candidacy.
Praeger is vice president of the Senate and chairwoman of the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.
Over the past decade, Praeger has been a legislative leader on insurance and health care issues and serves on national panels dealing with health initiatives.
In Lawrence, she serves on the board of directors of Douglas County United Way, and is a past president of the agency.
She is a founding member of three Lawrence boards: Health Care Access, the Haskell Indian Nations University Foundation and C.A.S.A., which provides advocates for children in legal proceedings.
Praeger said she would work to ensure Kansas maintains a business climate that "attracts and keeps good (insurance) companies."