Johnson County Democrats this week tapped social worker Heather Meyer to fill a Kansas House seat in Overland Park that opened up when former Rep. Brett Parker resigned earlier this year.
Meyer, 41, currently works as a medical case manager for an AIDS service organization in the Kansas City metro. She earned a degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas in 2018.
She is the mother of two children, an adult son and a young daughter who attends school in the Shawnee Mission School District.
Meyer ran for the same House District 29 seat unsuccessfully in 2014, losing to Republican James Todd.
She says she plans to run for the seat outright in 2022 after fulfilling Parker’s term in office with the next legislative session in Topeka.
“Brett and I got into this for the same reasons,” Meyer told the Shawnee Mission Post. “We are committed to make a difference in the world and make sure our community feels represented by someone who will listen with an open mind and open heart.”
Issues and priorities
As in her 2014 campaign, Meyer says Medicaid expansion will be a top issue for her going into the 2022 legislative session, even if the prospects for that long sought-after Democratic priority remain remote with Republicans controlling supermajorities in both the House and Senate.
“I myself grew up in poverty and have lived much of my adult life without medical insurance,” Meyer said, noting she has Type 1 diabetes. “I see how important it is to have that health coverage, to earn a good living and to have families that have people they depend on who are healthy.”
Meyer, who has worked on other local Democratic campaigns in recent years, also says continuing to fully fund K-12 education and “improving our response to climate change” will also be important issues for her.
Democratic precinct captains in District 29 elected Meyer to fill Parker’s seat earlier this week.
Johnson County Democratic Party Chair Deann Mitchell called Meyer a “strong leader” in the local party.
“As a Senate District Leader, a volunteer on campaigns, and as a previous candidate, Heather is a community/political advocate and a social services professional,” Mitchell wrote in an email to the Post. “Heather will be a strong voice for her constituents.”
This is the second Kansas House seat in Overland Park that Democrats have had to fill this year by way of special precinct elections.
In July, party members selected attorney Dan Osman to fill the House District 48 seat vacated by former Rep. Jennifer Day, who resigned and moved to another part of Johnson County.
District voting history
Parker flipped House District 29 when he won his first term in 2016 as a rookie political candidate.
Then a public school teacher, Parker beat the incumbent Republican Todd by a margin of 53% to 47%.
Parker handily won reelection in 2018 and 2020, both times by double digits, over Todd again and then Jerry Clinton last year.
Before that, Todd held the district, winning it for the GOP by similarly comfortable margins in 2014 and in 2012.