Tyson takes step toward treasurer’s race

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Republican Sen. Caryn Tyson discusses the tax plan during a conference committee meeting.

Republican state Sen. Caryn Tyson has formed a committee to explore whether she should run for state treasurer next year.

The Parker lawmaker is expected by many to eventually join the race, which already includes Republicans Michael Austin and state Rep. Steven Johnson.

Austin previously worked as an economic adviser to former Gov. Sam Brownback, and Johnson has served in the Legislature since 2010.

Democratic incumbent Lynn Rogers is seeking a full four-year term after he was appointed by Gov. Laura Kelly to replace Republican Jake LaTurner, who was elected to Congress last year.

“We’re going to test the water and see how good the results are,” Tyson said.

“If it’s any indicator of how we’ve been encouraged now, we’ll be in really good shape,” she said in a brief interview.

Tyson is now serving her third term in the Kansas Senate after serving one term in the House.

As chair of the Senate tax committee, Tyson helped pilot a bill through the Legislature this year that cut about $300 million in taxes.

She also successfully pushed another piece of legislation this year that put limits on the longstanding practice of local governments collecting extra revenue without raising the property tax rate.

Modeled after laws in Utah and Tennessee, the new law requires local governments to hold hearings and vote to accept extra revenues coming from increased property values even if the tax rate remained steady.

Tyson has math and computer science degrees from Kansas State University and an engineering management degree from the University of Kansas.

After graduating from K-State, she began working in the information technology industry and continued working in the field for more than 30 years.

Tyson’s work included space shuttle support for NASA.