State Rep. Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville, announced Wednesday he is running for Congress.

The small business owner and former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces said he plans to seek the Republican nomination for Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins has chosen not to seek re-election in 2018. The Republican lawmaker has represented the 25-county 2nd District since 2009.

In announcing his candidacy, Jones said unleashing America’s economic potential is dependent on reversing Washington’s culture of debt. Jones will focus on jobs and financial security for American families.

Jones said his service with the Special Forces — where he was deployed to hot spots across the globe, including Iraq — brings the perspective of “contemporary combat experience to the contest at a time of growing international tensions.”

Jones grew up in Wellsville, where he and his wife Nicole now raise their own family. Returning home from his service in the U.S. Army, Jones was elected as a state representative for the House 5th District. He also currently serves on the Wellsville school board and the Franklin County Planning Commission. Jones has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and a Master of Ministry degree from Southwestern Christian University, according to his campaign material. Jones is an ordained minister and worked as an associate pastor prior to his military service, he said.

Jones’ announcement came one day after former state legislator Paul Davis entered the race as a Democrat.

“We have problems that the politicians in Washington D.C. aren’t solving,” Davis said in announcing his candidacy Tuesday in Topeka.

A lifelong resident of the 2nd Congressional District, Davis received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and a law degree from Washburn University in Topeka. The Lawrence attorney also served in the Kansas House of Representatives for more than a decade, according to his campaign material. At the event in Topeka, Davis was introduced by his wife, Stephanie, who is a psychologist working with military veterans to prevent suicide, according to a news release.

In the past few months while visiting all 25 counties in the 2nd District, Davis said he spoke with Kansans in all walks of life — from farmers and veterans to small business owners.

“... I kept hearing the same stories of fear, frustration and disappointment,” Davis said. “Kansans no longer see our values reflected in many of the leaders we have sent to Washington. So today I’ve got a pretty simple message: I hear you. And I’m ready to fight for you.”