Mari-Lynn is a Kansan by choice.
The daughter of an Air Force Colonel and former wife of a corporate relocation warrior, she has lived on both coasts, the Deep South, the cold North and the Midwest. When it came time to give her children roots in 2002, she chose Kansas for the outstanding schools, strong communities, and economic opportunities. Like her political leanings, she likes life best in the middle.
Mari-Lynn and her husband David have a blended family of seven children and three grandchildren. Together, their children spent 90 years in K-12 classrooms, 62 in Johnson County public schools. Every one of their children has benefited from classes at Johnson County Community College, four are graduates of the University of Kansas, a couple are Ivy Leaguers, while several have gone on to graduate school. Mari-Lynn is fiercely dedicated to outstanding lifetime learning opportunities for all Kansans.
Mari-Lynn is a higher education professional and small business owner, with 20 years of experience at trade schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges. She has worked as a Campus Director and in Admissions, Academic Advising, and Financial Aid. She has successfully authored accreditation studies and a Kansas Board of Regents degree granting status application. In her time at Johnson County Community College, she won the Mid-America Regional Council’s Green Commute Challenge several years running by cycling to and from work 10 miles each way during peak ozone season.
Her husband David has secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, so Mari-Lynn understands how critical access to healthcare is and how chronic illness and disability impact our families. Her son’s asthma clashed with his goal of being an elite swimmer and led her to researching the effects of trichloramines and trihalomethanes on epithelial tissue. Based on her findings, she lobbied to have Blue Valley Schools transition to a salt water pool and improved ventilation system first at Blue Valley North High School, where her son’s competitive team practiced. He went on to swim at the collegiate level.
While a grant writer at the Northern Illinois Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, she was on a team that won two grants in one year from SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration federal agency. As with so many families in District 20, her childhood family was not unscathed by substance abuse and her dear friend lost her son to suicide. Mari-Lynn understands the critical need for evidence-based mental health prevention and treatment services that are readily available.
Healthcare issues and her passion for education drive most of her volunteer endeavors. She has always been active in the schools, is a Reader at KC Scholars, serves on the board of Wrestling MS, and has been a top fundraiser for the National MS Society’s Bike MS. The energy she brings to the table is evident in the multiple Century Rides she has completed, riding 100 miles on a bike in one day.
Mari-Lynn is currently a small business owner, operating KC College Connect in Leawood, where she provides college planning services to local families. Her skill set (did we mention she installs tile and wood floors, too?) and energy are just what we need to represent District 20 in the Kansas Legislature! She will continue to fight to make sure that the qualities which drew her to Kansas continue to define the Sunflower State for generations to come.