Republican Sara Hart Weir, a Mission resident whose recent career has focused on advocacy for people with Down syndrome, today confirmed that she is running for the Kansas 3rd Congressional District seat, setting up a contested election next year.
Hart Weir has been widely expected to enter the 2020 race for the seat occupied by first-term Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids for a couple of months. Hart Weir, whose campaign is being advised by LJ Strategies, the consulting firm launched by former Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins, held an event in Prairie Village in June teeing up the campaign. Then, on Sunday, Hart Weir Tweeted that a “major announcement” was coming.
Hart Weir served as CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society for four and a half years, concluding her tenure in the position this past April. During that time, the organization worked to advance the Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which allows for the creation of tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities. She pointed to the law as an example of her ability to work with people to get things done.
“I am running for Congress because our country needs leaders with the consensus building skills of a C.E.O., trained to actually get things done,” she said. “People are tired of all the noise and just want results. That is what I pledge to deliver. I promise to put people over politics and truly lead differently.”
In her announcement, Weir charges that Davids, who unseated four-term incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder last year, has been a “rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi,” and that “Kansans deserve a new voice that better reflects our priorities.”
Davids’ campaign pushed back on that characterization, and highlighted her focus on health care issues as an example of her work to benefit Third District residents.
“Representative Davids is fighting every day for the things that matter most to Kansans, like lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs, protecting people with pre-existing conditions, and making sure government is working for the people, not special interests,” said Davids’ campaign spokesperson Johanna Warshaw. “Her entire focus is on serving the people of the Third District, and that’s what will get her re-elected.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quickly responded to the announcement as well, noting that it was launching a run of digital ads highlighting Hart Weir’s previous work as a lobbyist for GlaxoSmithKline, the UK-based drug company.
Davids defeated Yoder 53-44 in the 2018 cycle, which saw Democrats pick up 41 seats and retake control of the House of Representatives.
Hart Weir attended Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., and received a master’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. She is 37.