Student doesn’t want to wait to pursue goals, files to run for Kansas House


A K-Stater has a goal to be working in the Kansas capitol, soon.

Beniah Wilson, senior in music composition, has filed as a Republican candidate for the Kansas House.

Wilson’s interest in politics began in high school when he participated on the debate team. It grew in college after he took several political science classes, including Kansas Politics and Constitutional Law. He is now minoring in political science.

Wilson said he decided to run for a seat in the house after he was encouraged to by his parents and professors.

“Beniah is an excellent student and a nice and thoughtful human being,” Laurie Johnson, professor of political science, said. “It’s exciting to see him putting himself out there, getting directly involved in politics. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with his campaign.”

Wilson is a member of the College Republicans and Campus Crusade. He also participates in Conversational Cafe on campus. Although his major is music, Wilson said his extracurricular activities have prepared him for a career in politics.

“I want to be a voice that is concerned about the future and enact policies that would be beneficial to everyone,” Wilson said.

Currently, Wilson is working as an intern for Rep. Jim Howell to learn more about how the House works. Wilson said he is looking for new laws to push, and is interested in working on legislation for education, job creation and preserving freedoms, including Second Amendment rights. He said he believes his experience at K-State will give him an insight into what needs to be changed to help young college graduates find employment and boost job creation.

Wilson is currently running against Kathy Martin in the 64th District for the seat vacated by retiring Rep. Vern Swanson. The district covers parts of Riley, Geary, Dickinson and Clay Counties. Junction City and Clay Center are included in the district, but Manhattan is not (it lies in the 22nd District). Martin is a Democrat and a former member of the Kansas Board of Education.

The primary election for the district will be held on August 5.

Although Wilson is competing with someone with more experience than himself, associate professor of political science John Fliter said that as a conservative Republican, Wilson “has the potential to do well, given the political culture of Kansas.”

“It is nice to see someone his age get involved in politics because there is so much apathy among 18-24 year olds,” Fliter said.

Wilson said he plans to run a campaign to inform the public about himself and his ideas for the state. While Wilson admits he is young, he said he is enthusiastic about this opportunity to serve his community.

“Even if you are a college student, you don’t have to wait to pursue a high goal,” he said.