Kansas Rep. Steven Johnson launches campaign for state treasurer
State Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Assaria, announced Wednesday he is running for the office of state treasurer in the 2022 election.
"My background is a good fit for the state treasurer's office," Johnson said. "I have the experience in financial services and have worked on several of the programs the office administers."
While his listed occupation is "farmer" on the state Legislature website, Johnson conducted financial services for Ameriprise and has a master's degree in finance from the University of Chicago, according to a news release.
More notably, he's chaired multiple legislative committees related to taxes and finance throughout his decade in the Legislature. Currently, Johnson is chairman of the Kansas House's Insurance and Pensions committee.
Through his various roles, he claimed credit for saving the Kansas Employee Retirement System. One of the platforms the candidate is emphasizing is auditing government programs and ridding of those that are wasteful.
"I ran for the Legislature to save Kansas from bankruptcy and got it done, saving taxpayers billions,” Johnson said. “I will continue to fight for taxpayers as your next state treasurer.”
The office of state treasurer typically handles mundane, everyday affairs related to the state's various financial programs and the division of unclaimed property, which tracks down Kansans who are owed money.
But the position has been used as a launch pad for higher office. Previous state treasurers have gone on to become members of Congress, including the last elected one, Republican Congressman Jake LaTurner.
After LaTurner left office for Congress, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly appointed her then-Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers to the position. State GOP officials criticized the appointment, and it's a seat that many political observers expect Republicans to handily win back.
Rogers has said he will run to stay as state treasurer, meaning he would face Johnson if Johnson wins the GOP nomination.
Roger's lately been on a spree trying to promote paid family leave. He is likely to tout his implementation of a program helping small Kansas towns pay off sky-high energy bills resulting from February's extreme cold event.