Primary Election Endorsements

Kansas Advancing Women has endorsed the following candidates with contested primary races on August 2, 2016:


Dinah Sykes – Senate District 21


Dinah is a full-time stay at home mom who also runs her own business as a personal chef. She is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with minors in finance and economics. Prior to having children, she worked in higher education as a development officer. Dinah has been active in her community and has a passion for serving others. She has served as PTA treasurer, PTA president, Alumni Board Member for her alma mater, and is a 2016 Alumni of Leadership Lenexa through the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce.

Dinah is running for office because she believes the people of Kansas deserve representatives who listen to them and respect them. She hopes to work to protect the quality of life that has drawn many to Kansas and keep it as a place where the next generation will stay and raise their own families.


Leesa Gabel – House District 14


Leesa has been an Olathe resident for 11 years. She is a wife, mother, writer, cancer advocate and survivor, and is very active in the community. Her kids are in the Olathe school district – a 7th grader at Santa Fe Trail and a senior at Olathe Northwest. Leesa believes in stepping forward to fight for what is right, helping others to understand important issues, and assisting others in pursuing opportunities to excel.

Leesa believes Kansas needs leaders committed to doing what is best for the people of their district – not special interest groups or personal agendas. Leesa will bring a fresh perspective to Topeka and work passionately to improve the future for all Kansans and to be a representative who is present – not only during session or election years. She promises to be accessible all year long.

Leesa’s vision for Kansas is one that will have a vibrant economy where every Kansan thrives and is able to reach their desired potential, where the children who grow up in Kansas will want to stay in Kansas.

Kim Palcic – House District 15

School Photo

Kim is a 3rd grade teacher at Madison Place Elementary school. She has been teaching for thirteen years, with almost twelve years in the Olathe school district. Kim currently serves on her school’s Building Leadership Team and Site Council, and she has also served on the Olathe district Leadership Academy, Administrative Development Series, and the Olathe District Citizens Academy.

Kim’s previous work experience includes Director of the Goddard School-Olathe; Economic Development for the Northwest Arctic Borough-Kotzebue, Alaska; and Legislative Assistant to the Senate President of Kansas. Kim earned a BA in Political Science from Washburn University, BS in Elementary Education from Pittsburg State University, and two masters, Curriculum and Instruction and School Leadership, both from Emporia State University.

Kim and her family have lived in Olathe’s 15th district since 1999. Her husband, Ron, teaches mathematics at Johnson County Community College. Their two daughters, Grace and Sophia, both attend Olathe North High School.

Dorothy Hughes – House District 21

Hughes Headshot

Dorothy has lived and worked in Northeast Johnson County more than 10 years. After growing up in McPherson, Kansas, she earned a bachelor’s degree from American University and a master’s degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC).

Dorothy has more than 10 years of experience researching, drafting and advancing health care laws at both the state and federal level. During and after college, she worked as a legislative assistant in the U.S. House before moving home to Kansas to pursue health policy work. Over the past decade, she has worked as a fiscal analyst for the nonpartisan Kansas Legislative Research Department and managed government relations for the University of Kansas Medical Center and later The University of Kansas Hospital. Dorothy currently works as a health care consultant and is pursuing her PhD in Health Policy and Management from KUMC.
Outside of work, Dorothy is an active volunteer. She serves as vice chair of the Johnson County Friends of the Library Board and is a member of the Shawnee Mission School District Committee for Excellence. Dorothy is also a graduate of the Civic Council’s Kansas City Tomorrow program and serves as a precinct committeewoman for her Prairie Village neighborhood.

Joy Koesten – House District 28

Dr. Joy Koesten

With a background in business and a doctorate in Communication Studies, Joy is uniquely qualified to represent District 28 and lead the charge to put Kansas back on the right track. Joy and her husband Stewart founded KHC Wealth Management, a successful fee-only financial planning firm, in 1996. Since obtaining her doctorate in Communication Studies, Joy has served on the faculty at Washburn University and the KU Medical Center. She currently teaches at the University of Kansas and Johnson County Community College.

As a founding member of the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition, Joy has long served as an advocate for individuals and families who are challenged with mental health and addiction disorders. She currently serves on the board of Jackson County CASA. After residing in Overland Park for twenty years, Joy and Stewart now reside in Leawood, Kansas. They have two grown daughters, Leah and Natalie, and two grandchildren.

Kathy Wolfe Moore – House District 36

Kathy Wolfe Moore
Kathy has served in the Kansas Legislature since 2011. She serves on the Appropriations, Taxation and General Government Budget committees. She is also on the State Advisory Council on Aging and a Kansas State Director for “Women in Government.” Kathy has been chosen as the Public Official of the Year in 2012 and 2014 by the Kansas Association of Community Centers and was awarded the Legislative Excellence Award by NAMI in 2015.

Kathy is from Kansas City, Kansas, where she has worked as the Business Director at the University of Kansas Hospital for the past 10 years. In her community, Kathy serves as Chairman of the Board for the Wyandotte Economic Development Council, as well as the board of Wyandot Center Community Mental Center. She was recently appointed to the Healthy Communities Wyandotte Board.

Mitra Templin – House District 38 


Mitra is running for the Kansas House of Representatives in District 38 (De Soto, Gardner, Basehor, Bonner Springs, Linwood, and Tonganoxie.) Mitra moved to Kansas when she attended the University of Kansas and permanently located to De Soto in 1993.  She has been married to her husband, Roger, an attorney with the law firm of Payne and Jones for 24 years and have 2 children attending the University of Kansas.

Mitra was elected for 2 terms to the De Soto City Council and served 8 years as an appointed board member on the Johnson County Library Board. Her experiences in public service have helped shape her beliefs and confirm her decision to run for the Kansas House. Libraries are similar to public education in that they provide services to better every citizen regardless of their race or economic status, creating a better educated and enlightened population. The lack of funding and creative accounting used to discredit increased funding to Public Education led to Mitra desiring to make a change in Topeka. Current representation is no longer listening to the people of District 38 and change is needed.  Mitra has been able to work with a variety of people and beliefs to find solutions benefiting many people and she will do the same in Topeka.

Shelee Brim – House District 39

Shelee has called District 39 her home for nearly 20 years. She has worked as a teacher in the De Soto School district for the past 17 years and her husband has been employed as a police officer for 28 years. They have two children and two grandchildren.
After spending the past 32 years as a classroom teacher and retiring at the end of the 2015-2016 school year, Shelee feels that education should be a top priority and that finding a way to fund public schools is one of the major challenges facing the Kansas Legislature. She is concerned that budget cuts are affecting both students and teachers negatively, with teachers spending their own money, writing grants to fund projects, or omitting lessons due to lack of materials.
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