Finney County Commissioner Lon Pishny will run for higher office next year, filing earlier this month as a candidate for the Kansas Senate District 39, the seat currently held by Sen. John Doll.

Pishny, a Republican, has served locally on the Finney County Commission and Garden City Community College Board of Trustees, and said he has long been pushed by clients and friends to run for state office. By taking on a partner at his firm, Pishny Financial Services, he said he finally believes he has the time for the larger commitment.

“I feel like I’ve been given a gift of leadership as one of my abilities, and I feel like I’ve shared that with the local people … but now it was time to take my servant leadership skills to the state level,” Pishny said.

District 39 covers 10 counties in southwest Kansas, including Finney, Morton, Stevens, Stanton, Grant, Haskell, Hamilton, Kearny, Greeley and Wichita counties. Its current representative, Doll, I-Garden City, said he is planning to run for re-election as a Republican.

Pishny said he’s not seeking the seat with an agenda, but to listen to and represent the people living in the southwest corner of the state in discussions on infrastructure, transportation, education and other issues.

A member of the Statewide Broadband Expansion Planning Task Force, he believes the roll-out of high-speed connectivity in rural areas is “critical” and ties into a myriad of other issues, like agriculture, health care, education and the area’s economic growth. It’s a point he expects to hear when speaking to residents in the district.

“(I have) no axes to grind, no pet projects — nothing that has driven me to run for state office other than to be able to serve people from the state perspective … ” Pishny said. “However, I’m not going into any setting to listen with a preconceived idea. I’m going to be in the listening sessions totally open-minded about what’s important and what the concerns are.”

As the longtime owner of a financial services company and husband of a longtime teacher, Pishny said he understands what contributes to an area’s social and economic well-being and what educators need to succeed. He served on the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System (KPERS) board for 12 years and Kansas’ legislative compensation commission, giving him insight on the public pension system that impacts state, county and school district employees across Kansas.

“I think I can bring maturity and rational thinking to the table," Pishny said. "I try to keep emotions out of my decisions. I try to make a decision based on having all the facts and all the information that’s available. And I believe that I’m at that stage in life where I can sift through the things that aren’t important for the decision.”

With connections across the state, he said, if elected, he would also be able to bring a well-rounded perspective to Congress. He grew up in Marshall County, lives in Finney County and has family in Barton, Saline, Thomas and Johnson counties.

“I think I have a perspective and an appreciation for the entire state of Kansas,” Pishny said.

 

Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.