Democratic precinct leaders on Wednesday night elected a former school board member as the new representative from House District 48.
Six precinct committee members chose Dan Osman, an Overland Park legal consultant, to replace Jennifer Day in the 48th District.
He defeated Lea Cosentino, who runs a company that designs and markets creative guitar apparel as well as promotes female musicians and artists.
He has committed to running for a full two-year term next year.
It was the second time in two years that Democrats had to fill a seat that had been vacated in the middle of the term by a sitting lawmaker.
Osman said it was his goal to start having town hall meetings every month leading up to next year’s election.
Democrats have battled for this seat in recent years with former Democratic state Rep. Dave Benson narrowly defeating Republican incumbent Abe Rafie in 2018.
And last year, Day beat Republican Terry Frederick, a former Water 1 Board member, by 62 votes. Frederick has already announced he’s running again.
“This position, for all intents and purposes, was unelected,” Osman said in an interview.
“I don’t have a mandate from the people,” he said. “I need to spend the next year earning the trust of everyone within this district.”
Osman said Medicaid expansion and public education are two of his biggest issues as he heads to Topeka next year.
Redistricting looms large, too.
“I want to stay on the forefront of that and make sure there are fair and equitable elections for Kansans and to make sure there is an opportunity for everyone to vote,” Osman said.
Osman, a University of Kansas law school graduate, runs a legal consulting firm that advises developers and construction companies on contract compliance issues and adhering to government affirmative action policies.
He previously served on the Hickman Mills school board in Missouri and worked as construction contract compliance officer for Kansas City, Missouri.
He also worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Jackson County, where he handled drug-related cases and served as a liaison between law enforcement and neighborhood groups to help prevent illegal drug operations.
Osman graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s in behavioral sciences. He graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School in 1995.
Osman said he’s ready for the topsy-turvy nature of the Legislature.
“I’ve been in the public sector and the private sector and I’ve dealt with red tape and bureaucracy and I thrive in that environment,” he said.
“For most people, it would be about beating their heads against the wall. I love the challenge.”
Day decided to leave the Legislature because she is moving into a new home outside the district.
Day was appointed in 2020 to replace Benson who left in the middle of his term to move out of the country.
House District 48 covers a swath of central Overland Park from 119th Street to 151st Street.
The district has a distinct Democratic tilt although Republican lawmakers have represented the district in the past.
It was carried by President Joe Biden with 54% of the vote. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Barbara Bollier won it with 52%.
Gov. Laura Kelly also won the district with 53% in 2018.
Former President Trump carried the district with about 48% of the vote in 2016.