Democrat Jerry Stogsdill will run against Republican Prairie Village Sen. Kay Wolf

Jerry Stogsdill is running for the District 7 Kansas Senate seat occupied by Kay Wolf.
Jerry Stogsdill is running for the District 7 Kansas Senate seat occupied by Kay Wolf.

Republican Prairie Village Sen. Kay Wolf will face a Democratic opponent in fall’s general election.

Jerry Stogsdill, a former Shawnee Mission School District teacher and Naval officer, will formally announce his candidacy for the seat this week. Stogsdill said he was compelled to run for office after being dismayed by the direction the state was heading on three fronts — economic development, education and healthcare.

He said Kansas’s reputation as a solid place to make a life and raise a family has been shaken by the policies of Gov. Sam Brownback, who has cut taxes and services in an effort to attract new businesses with a small government environment. In reality, Stogsdill contends, the policies have damaged the state’s best economic development asset: its strong K-12 and higher education systems.

“The whole economic development plan that Kansas has right now is just inept, and it’s not working, and it won’t work,” he said. “It’s got to change if we’re going to do better, if we’re going to attract that kind of industry to Kansas to keep us up in the 21st century.”

He noted Wolf’s support of the controversial block grant bill as an example of a position that he opposed. Wolf was the only member of northeast Johnson County’s legislative delegation to support the measure.

“Where she was more of a moderate when she was in the House, not so when she’s been in the Senate,” he said.

Stogsdill spent two years in the Navy and 11 years in the Naval Reserves, and said he is also frustrated by the governor’s administration’s healthcare policies because he believes they have hurt veterans’ access to service.

A Topeka native, Stogsdill has been a Prairie Village resident since 1978.

Wolf, who filed for re-election in December, has not drawn a primary challenger.

In 2012, Wolf’s first time on the ballot as a candidate for the senate, she defeated Democrat Kyle Russell 53-47 in the general election.