Former Roeland Park mayor and congressional hopeful Adrienne Vallejo Foster plans on running for chair of the state Republican Party against incumbent Mike Kuckelman.
Foster announced her plans to run for the party chair at a meeting of the Olathe Republican Party Monday night, according to several who attended the event.
Two Republicans lawmakers – Adam Thomas and Charlote Esau – said Foster announced her plans to run against Kuckelman at meeting held at the Black Bear Diner.
“She basically said that she thinks that it’s perhaps time that the party does things a little differently than they are and that’s why she’s interested in running,” Esau said in an interview Tuesday.
“I didn’t hear her saying thing negative about the current leadership,” Esau said. “She’s just offering another choice.”
Thomas said he was in the back of the dining area and couldn’t hear specifically what Foster said other than she planned to run for the position.
Foster couldn’t be reached for comment. She didn’t return a phone call after she was told about the subject of the inquiry.
The party will elect a chair when it holds its annual convention on April 23-24 in Manhattan.
It was unclear if Foster was running with a slate of candidates or if she was running on her own.
Foster is coming off of a third-place finish in the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District last summer.
She finished with about 20% of the vote, trailing nominee Amanda Adkins and Sara Hart Weir in the primary.
Foster lists her occupation on LinkedIn as president and CEO of Foster Consulting.
Foster served as mayor of Roeland Park from 2009 to 2013.
Foster had worked as the Region 7 advocate for the Office of Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In that role, Foster supported the work of small businesses in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska, helping them interact with state and local government agencies, lawmakers and trade associations.
She worked for Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration as the executive director of the governor’s Hispanic & Latino American Affairs Commission from 2011 to 2018.
Kuckelman is wrapping up his first term in which the Republicans elected a new U.S. senator and expanded their supermajorities in the Kansas House and Senate.
The party also held onto three of the state’s four congressional districts.
Kuckelman sid he had heard rumors that Foster might be running, but he had not heard anything official from her.
“I have not heard that from Adrienne and I know Adrienne fairly well, so I would assume I would have heard from her,” Kuckelman said.
“Maybe she hasn’t had a chance to reach out to me,” he said.
“I don’t know what it is that she wants to change. She must have something in mind that she wants to change in the state party, but I don’t know what that is.”
Kuckelman said the party had some “pretty good outcomes” last year.
“We had some pretty good successes,” he said.