State Rep. Rob Boyer, an Olathe Republican whose district extends into Douglas County, announced Monday he won't seek a second term in the Kansas House. Instead, he'll run next year for the Senate seat now held by Sen. Kay O'Connor, also an Olathe Republican.
"I'm a huge advocate for economic development and for schools," said Boyer, 35. "As a senator, I would have more opportunity for input on these and other issues."
The Kansas House has 125 members; the Senate has 40. All 165 legislators face re-election next year.
O'Connor, 62, declined comment on whether she will seek a second, four-year term.
"Everybody keeps asking me that," she said. "I'll have a response by the end of the week. I'm not prepared to make a response at this time."
O'Connor, 62, found herself in the spotlight two years ago after a Kansas City Star reporter overheard her questioning the merits of the U.S. Constitution's 19th Amendment, which guarantees women the right to vote. If men had done a better job protecting women's rights, she explained, women would be free to stay home with their families and wouldn't have to vote.
O'Connor later said she was misquoted.
"I'm convinced that was nothing more than a hit piece," she said Monday. "Why, that's ridiculous. Of course I support women having the right to vote."
The newspaper denied O'Connor's charge. "Certainly, we stand by the story," said Steve Shirk, managing editor in charge of news at The Star.
O'Connor is vice chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Elections and Local Government.
In the House, Boyer represents the 38th District, which includes De Soto, parts of Olathe, Lenexa and Shawnee, the northern end of Lawrence, Eudora and three townships -- Eudora, Grant and Wakarusa -- in northeast Douglas County.
O'Connor's 9th District does not include Douglas County.
"The (Senate) district stops at the county line," Boyer said. "So I would no longer represent Douglas County."
Boyer, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, owns and operates Shred-It paper shredding and recycling franchises in Kansas, Missouri, Utah and Idaho.
Tom Marsh, a Republican and retired Ford Motor Co. executive from Olathe, is expected to announce his candidacy for Boyer's 38th District House seat later this week.
Next year's primary elections are set for Aug. 3.