Convention elects Lawrence-Douglas County sustainability coordinator to Kansas House

Eileen Horn speaks Saturday to a convention in the Baldwin City Library of 10th Kansas House District committeemen and committeewomen prior to her election to the House seat. Horn, the Lawrence-Douglas County sustainability coordinator, was elected to complete the unexpired term of John Wilson, who resigned to focus on his family and career.

After being elected at a special convention Saturday, the newest member of the Kansas House said she would bring a message of sustainability to Topeka.

Eileen Horn, the Lawrence-Douglas County sustainability coordinator, was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives at a convention of the 10th Kansas House District. At the convention, held at the Baldwin City library, the district’s committee members voted 8-2 to elect Horn over Brandon Holland, a 28-year-old University of Kansas student. Horn will serve out the 13 months of the unexpired term of John Wilson, who resigned last month.

The 10th District includes precincts in southeast Lawrence and southeast Douglas County, including Baldwin City.

In comments to the convention, Horn said she decided in 2007 to move back to Kansas and work toward political change after earning her master’s degree in environmental management and policy from the University of Vermont.

“I didn’t want to be part of the brain drain,” she said. “I’m fully committed to Democratic Party policies and (working) with party leaders to move them forward.”

Horn said her message would be one of sustainability — not only protecting the environment, but fostering economic opportunity and social equality.

Wilson announced his support for Horn before the convention and officially nominated her Saturday. He said she had shown the ability to bring together different groups to work toward common goals in her position in local government. She demonstrated her commitment to serving in the Legislature through the energy she put into gaining support among constituents in recent weeks, he said.

In his remarks to the convention, Holland, the son of state Sen. Tom Holland, said he was working in apartment maintenance as he sought his second degree from KU. From that experience, he said, he understood the plight of working people struggling in the current economy. He said he would fight for abortion rights, Medicaid expansion, a livable minimum wage and more support for education.

After Horn’s election, Wilson said he didn’t intend for his resignation from the Legislature to be the end of his political career.

“I hope not to be done with public office forever, but this is a hiatus while I focus on family and career,” he said.

Curt Hall, Douglas County Democratic Party chair, said the certified results of the convention would be sent to Gov. Sam Brownback so that he can appoint Horn to the House seat.