Wichita Democrat to seek state House seat

TOPEKA — Wichita Democrat Brandon Whipple hopes to regain a state House seat for his party in the fall.

Whipple, 27, works with at-risk students in the Wichita school district and said that experience gives him a unique perspective on the Kansas budget.

"Our state's founding fathers wrote the Kansas constitution with the intent to make public education our state's top priority," he said. "Even in times of crisis, our Legislature must support education."

He plans to run for the 96th District seat held by Wichita Republican Phil Hermanson. In 2008, Hermanson won the seat from Democratic incumbent Terry McLachlan. The 96th district represents parts of southwest Wichita.

Whipple received bachelor's and master's degrees from Wichita State University. He volunteered as a mentor for the Wichita schools' GRASP program in 2003 and 2004. He is now a substitute teacher in Wichita schools.

To gain a spot on the ballot, Whipple knocked on more than 200 doors to collect enough signatures to run.

"To be on the ballot, you either need public support or you pay a fee to the election commission. Our campaign is about the community and I chose to enter this election with the support of my neighbors," Whipple said in his announcement.

Whipple is the only Democrat to file for the seat. Hermanson has filed to retain the seat.