COTTONWOOD FALLS - Christy Cauble Davis, the former executive director of the Symphony in the Flint Hills, is seeking the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District contest in 2020.

Davis, 44, said she was asked to participate in Gov. Laura Kelly’s transition team after Kelly, a Democrat, won in November 2018. That is when Davis said she started really thinking about possibly running for office. This is her first bid for public office. 

U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Great Bend, won’t seek re-election next year, running instead for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated by the retiring Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Topeka.

“It’s time we had a Kansan in Congress who actually knows the problems families are facing and cares enough to fight for Kansas communities,” Davis said in a press release Tuesday.

“If we’re going to keep our small-town culture alive, we need someone in Washington that knows the challenges we face and has the skills we need to overcome them,” she said.

Davis is a fifth-generation Kansan who grew up in the Harvey County area. She has worked in historic preservation and has her own historic preservation consulting business. Serving as executive director of the Symphony in the Flint Hills was a full-time job, with a staff of about five, she said. She resigned from the position in January before leaving in July, the release said. 

“My main focus is creating a level playing field for rural Kansas,” Davis said. She said she’s been working on rural projects and is familiar with communities throughout the district. Davis already has begun her listening tour and plans to visit all 63 counties in the 1st District.

Kali Barnett, D-Garden City, announced her candidacy in the 1st District this summer. A former teacher who moved back to Kansas from New York, Barnett said she would campaign full time.

“I think for now that’s not a luxury I can afford,” Davis said. She plans to continue doing historic preservation work “to pay my health insurance premiums,” she said. As the election gets closer, she said, she will spend a lot of time campaigning.

Davis and her husband, Luke, have a 7-year-old son, Jack. The family’s business interests include a laundromat in Cottonwood Falls.