A former member of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Gov. Mark Parkinson administrative staff has launched a 2020 campaign for the Kansas Second Congressional District.

Abbie Hodgson, D-Lawrence, is the first candidate to publicly announce a campaign for the position held by Steve Watkins, R-Topeka, who defeated Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, in 2018. The district spans 25 counties in eastern Kansas from the Oklahoma border to the Nebraska line and includes Franklin County.

“I am running for Congress because the chaos and division in Washington is creating instability here at home in Kansas,” Hodgson said. “I will take on crucial issues like agriculture and trade, bring a common sense approach to making health care available and affordable, and fight every day to make sure all Kansans can provide for their families and have the tools to succeed in today’s economy.”

Hodgson spent her career in public service to Kansans, according to her biographical information. She crafted programs and policies that were transparent and responsive to the needs of all Kansans during her time working with in the governor’s office, Hodgson said.

Later, she served as the Chief of Staff to the House Minority Leader in the state legislature, where she built a bipartisan coalition to repeal the failed Brownback tax experiment and worked with Republicans and Democrats to increase school funding, she said.

Most recently, Hodgson held a senior role at the Pew Charitable Trusts, leading policy change efforts in Kansas and state legislatures across the country to stop predatory payday lenders and increase access to dental care, she said.

Hodgson is a lifelong Kansan, descending from five generations of Kansas farmers. Her family still farms and lives on the same land that was purchased nearly 150 years ago.

Hodgson attended the University of Kansas where she received a bachelor’s degree in political science while working at Weaver’s, a local department store. Hodgson earned a Ph.D. and taught in the Communication Studies Department at KU for a decade.

She said through her firsthand work with students, she understands the importance of giving every Kansan the opportunity to pursue a quality, affordable education.

Hodgson also has experience outside of government. For many years, she owned and operated a small business. Hodgeson said she knows how important local businesses are to the Kansas economy and she has seen first-hand the challenges that business owners face navigating red tape and staying competitive in today’s economy.

The work ethic and determination she learned at home on the farm in Kansas, coupled with her relentless study of public policy issues important to our state and its people, have positioned her to serve as an effective leader in Congress, Hodgson said.