Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle plans to form an exploratory committee in anticipation of a possible run for the U.S. Senate.
Wagle, a Wichita Republican, said Wednesday she is taking a “serious look” at a campaign after Sen. Pat Roberts announced last week he will not run again in 2020.
Wagle – whose state Senate term will end in two years – has a reputation as a hardline conservative. She is also the first woman to serve as president of the Kansas Senate.
In an interview, she emphasized her frustration with the continued partial federal government shutdown.
“I’m deeply disappointed our elected officials in D.C. can’t fix immigration and open up the federal government doors,” Wagle said. “There’s a lot of things we could do. Most companies are desperate for workers. We can let people in and give them work visas who want a job who aren’t here to peddle drugs, who aren’t here to get engaged in human trafficking.”
A lot of good people want to come to the United States and they should be allowed to work, Wagle said, adding “we need to keep the drugs and the violence out.” She said she is disappointed that officials in D.C. “can’t talk to each other” and can’t solve problems.
She also expressed support for building a wall along the southern border, saying that meth trafficking is destroying individuals and families in Wichita.
Congress also lacks conservative women, Wagle said, adding that it’s important for women’s voices to be heard, including Republican women.
“It’s very, very disappointing to me that conservative Republican women really are not having a voice in Washington. You have to be a progressive and the Democrat party in Congress just elected 89 female congresswomen and the Republican party only elected 13,” Wagle said. “There is a shortage of conservative women.”
Wagle, 65, has not yet formed the committee. She said she is making calls and determining who will serve on it. She has not set a specific deadline for deciding on whether to join the race.
She has weighed running for other offices in recent years, including governor and Congress, but has chosen not do so.
Wagle’s declaration that she is exploring a run comes the day after Republican Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner declared his candidacy.
Numerous others are also weighing campaigns. Departing Gov. Jeff Colyer, departing Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Attorney General Derek Schmidt, among others, are considering running.