A Ruff departure
Leavenworth representative not seeking re-election
A 16-year veteran member of the Kansas House of Representatives, Rep. Candy Ruff, D-Leavenworth, has announced she will not file for re-election in 2008.
"It's been a lot of fun," Ruff, who represents Kansas' 40th District, which includes eastern Lansing, eastern Leavenworth and parts of northern Leavenworth County, said by phone Friday.
She becomes the second longtime Leavenworth County lawmaker this year to announce plans to retire from the Legislature. State Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing, announced his decision to retire a week ago.
Ruff will receive a Ph.D. in Kansas and military history from Kansas University this spring and plans to pursue a career in academia after her departure from the Kansas House.
"I told my husband I was going to get a tattoo when I got my Ph.D., and he said, 'You're going to get a job,'" Ruff said with a laugh.
During her 16 years as a lawmaker in Topeka, Ruff was involved in a variety of issues.
She received the most recent attention as a chief sponsor of the Personal & Family Protection Act, which passed in 2006 and opened the door for concealed carry licenses in the state.
Her stance was seen as an unlikely one for a female and a Democrat, Ruff admitted.
"In the lexicon of politics, I consider myself a conservative Democrat," she added, saying, "If anything, I think the issues of gun rights and being a law-abiding citizen are all above being Republican or Democrat."
A former "Army brat," a wife of a retired MP and with a son who flew a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan in 2006, Ruff also said, "I've been very involved in veterans' issues."
She currently serves on the state Business, Commerce and Labor, Arts and Cultural Resources, Federal and State Affairs, Judiciary and Rules and Regulations committees.
The vacancy already has drawn two candidates. Democrats Melanie Meiers, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, and Laura Gasbarre, a Leavenworth city commissioner, are set to vie for the 40th District seat in an Aug. 5 primary election.