Amy Cunningham
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Sen. Rob Olson, R-Olathe, plans to have a strong presence in the wouthwest portion of the 23rd District now that he has officially taken the reins from outgoing Sen. Karin Brownlee.
Olson, formerly a Representative in the State House’s 26th District which included southeastern Olathe, said that his experience in the House will make him a worthy replacement for Brownlee who leaves to fill a position in the Brownback administration.
Brownlee represented the 23rd district for 14 years.
“There will be a change. I am going to have a very strong presence down there,” stated Olson who says he’ll work hard representing his southwestern Johnson County constituents in the Gardner,  Edgerton and Spring Hill areas.
“The Gardner and Edgerton people are the ones who won this race for me, and I’m going to work hard for those people in Gardner, Edgerton and Spring Hill – I’ll work hard for the entire district, of course,”he said.
The new Senator believes that his experience with moving legislation through the process gave him a leg up on his opponent, but he also thinks that he also had a connection with people from the more remote areas in the county.
Olson was born in WaKeeney, Kan., located west on Interstate 70 between Hayes and Colby, and grew up in Mound City, Kan., in the southeastern area of the state before moving to Olathe 21 years ago.
“I think a lot of it was I’m a rural guy, but also my experience…when I answered some questions (at the replacement convention where Olson was selected to fulfill Brownlee’s term) I was able to answer them because I had been around the (Statehouse) building, and I  was able to answer legislative questions in more detail (than my opponent),” Olson explained.
Olson’s political experience includes serving on the Johnson County Water District No. 1 board for 16 years before being elected as a state representative in 2005. As a member of the House he served on five committees including Energy and Utilities, Federal and State Affairs, Financial Institutions, Insurance and Select Committee on KPERS as a member. Olson chaired the Pensions, Investments and Benefits committee. More recently he was elected to serve as Majority Whip, helping to deliver votes for the Republican party in the House.
Staunchly pro-life and conservative, Olson says he is an independent thinker and pledges to vote against tax increases.
“I pride myself as a traditional independent conservative,” Olson said.  “I’m not going to go along with someone if I believe they’re wrong. I have an independent mind – so I pride myself on being a fiscal conservative and a social conservative on life and marriage and Christian values.”
As a member of the House, Olson feels stongly about several pieces of legislation attached to his name.  He said that it was an honor to work with the parents of slain Overland Park teenager Kelsey Smith on legislation that will require cell phone carriers to provide location information to law enforcement officials when life or death circumstances are present.  He said that currently five other states have adopted similar laws using his bill as a template and eight other states will consider it during the upcoming session.
Olson is also proud that he played a major role in introducing legislation that banned the use of K2, synthetic cannibus.  Kansas was the first state in the nation to institute such a ban.
The freshman Senator looks forward to his first session representing the 23rd District in the Senate.  He is already working with party members in the southwestern portion of the district who plan to form a group where constituents from the area can meet and discuss issues with the Senator.
“I think I will be very effective in the Senate with my experience and I want to give that same service that I gave to the 26th district as their Representative.  I want you to feel like you’ve got a Senator in Gardner and in the rural areas,” explained Olsen, who plans to make himself accessable. “I would love it if, when people have problem for them to call me. I’ll try my best to resolve it. I publish my cell phone number and I’m happy to take calls. I’ll fight for (my constituents) every step of the way.”
The Senator resides in Olathe with his wife and three children.  He may be reached at: (913)302-3135 mobile, (785)296-7358  office.