Shawnee state senator Mary Pilcher-Cook announces resignation

State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook spoke out at a meeting this fall against the proposed non-discrimination ordinance adopted by the city of Shawnee.

State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a stalwart conservative representing Shawnee and surrounding areas in the statehouse for 15 years, today announced that she will resign from her seat effective 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16.

In a statement announcing the decision, Pilcher-Cook said her record had been consistent with the values she ran on in campaigns for both the House and the Senate:

It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Kansas for 15 years; two terms in the House, and almost three terms in the Senate. But now it is time for me to step down and give that privilege to someone else. My voting record shows I have consistently been honest with the voters and upheld all my campaign promises, repeatedly voting for limited government, reduced spending and traditional family values. Conservatives understand that power comes from the people, and that new leadership is sometimes required to carry on the mantle of these time-honored principles. I expect nothing less from the next senator to represent the 10th Senate district.

Two candidates — Republican Rep. Tom Cox and Democrat Lindsey Constance — announced earlier this year that they would run for Pilcher-Cook’s District 10 seat in 2020. Pilcher-Cook characterized the two declared candidates for the seat as “out of touch with District 10 values.”

“One has an extreme left-wing record on the Shawnee City Council; the other takes pride in compromising away our principles by branding himself a pragmatist,” Pilcher-Cook said. “Our middle-class families and seniors can’t afford their tax and spend agenda. In the next few days, I’m confident a principled, intelligent, and energetic individual who will champion conservative values will come forward to seek this seat.”

In response, Constance said that she’s “already encountered a broad base of support from people across the political spectrum.”

“From the discussions I’ve had with people in my district, residents are ready to elect someone that will take a stand on responsible budgets, education funding, and affordable healthcare and I’m eager to represent them in the senate,” Constance said.

For his part, Cox said that, “No matter who my opponent is, I will run on the same issues I always intended to: good schools, transparent government, accessibility, and fiscal responsibility. It has always been and will always be about the people of the district and ensuring they have a voice that listens to them and represents them in Topeka.”

Republican precinct committeemen and women have the authority to appoint a replacement for the remainder of Pilcher-Cook’s term. They are expected to meet in the coming days to begin the process for selecting her successor.

Pilcher-Cook was a vocal opponent of the wave of non-discrimination ordinances adopted by Shawnee Mission area cities over the past year and a half, speaking at public hearings before city councils in Prairie Village, Mission and Shawnee.