Svaty announces USD 383 board member as running mate for governor

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Katina Lewison, left, poses with Democratic candidate for Kansas Governor Josh Svaty. Lewison is a member of the Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 Board of Education. (Courtesy photo)

Democratic candidate for Kansas governor Josh Svaty announced his choice of Katrina Lewison of Manhattan as his running mate for Lt. Governor Wednesday morning.

Lewison, born and raised in Hutchinson and Buhler, is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the 101st Airborne Division as a Black Hawk helicopter platoon leader during Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to Svaty’s campaign. Lewison then commanded an aviation company of American and Korean soldiers in South Korea. She concluded her 15 years in the Army teaching cadets at West Point as part of the Eisenhower Leader Development Program in conjunction with Columbia University.

She was elected to the Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 Board of Education in November.

“Katrina Lewison represents the best of who we are as Kansans,” Svaty said in a press release. “She’s a natural born leader who has been a true public servant throughout her life. Whether it was as a Black Hawk platoon leader, teaching leadership at West Point or today directing teams at CivicPlus to help make local government work better, Katrina Lewison understands how to work with others and get real results.

“This is the type of leadership our state needs and Katrina Lewison is the type of leader I want in my administration. I am proud she has agreed to be my running mate and join me on this mission to reclaim and relaunch Kansas.”

Lewison is currently the director of consulting and training at CivicPlus in Manhattan. She holds graduate degrees in both public policy and organizational psychology and leadership. Lewison is married to her West Point classmate, Tyler. They have three daughters: Marlena, Elsa and Ida.

“It is an honor to be joining Josh Svaty in this critical campaign to shape the future direction of Kansas for generations,” Lewison stated in the announcement on Svaty’s website. “I grew up in Kansas. The values I learned here shaped who I am and have guided me throughout my career. After our military service, my husband Tyler and I moved back to Kansas so our kids could have the same positive environment I experienced growing up.

“We wanted to find meaningful ways to contribute our time and effort to community and state. My decision to join Josh as his running mate is a tremendous opportunity to get involved and help make our state the best it can be.”

USD 383 Assistant Superintendent Eric Reid and school board member Leah Fliter reacted to the news during Wednesday morning’s edition of KMAN’s In Focus.

Fliter spoke highly of her colleague.

“Katrina is a very talented person,” she said on the program. “Anybody who has watched her at the board the last few months will see that, and you know, talented people often get opportunities thrown their way.”

Fliter added she doesn’t foresee any conflicts with Lewison’s candidacy and her school board duties.

“It’s two separate tracks,” she said. “Any kind of partisan politics or any kind of outside political machinations do not enter into the nonpartisan work of the school board.

USD 383 experienced a similar situation recently, when former board member Aaron Estabrook unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the state board of education in 2016.

“It can get in the way of a few meetings sometimes, as far as scheduling,” he said. “Usually that involves some catch-up meetings… but she’s a wonderful board member and I expect her to continue to be a board member for a long time.”

Svaty’s full remarks on Lewison can be read here.

Lewison’s full remarks on joining Svaty can be read here.

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Brady Bauman

News director, morning show anchor and In Focus host. Former newspaper writer, news and sports. California born, Kansas raised. Questions, news tips can be sent to brady@1350kman.com.

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