John Barker

Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene, said he will disagree with the new governor on “core issues” but said the two can work together.

Barker won his fourth term to the Kansas House of Representatives.

He defeated challenger Jo Schwartz, D-Abilene, for a second time on Tuesday with a vote of 5,315 to 2,508, 68 percent to 32 percent. The outcome was similar to 2016 when Barker won by 66.6 percent to 33.3 percent.

Gov. Kelly

“I know Laura,” Barker said of newly elected Kansas governor Laura Kelly. “We served on post audit together. My second year there she seconded my nomination to be vice chair of post audit. We’ve worked together on some things. We disagree on a lot. There are areas she and I have worked together on. I can work with her as long as it is not a core issue.”

Barker is pro-life while Kelly is pro-choice. Kelly also favors the expansion of Medicaid.

“I want a work component to it,” he said of Medicaid. “If you are going to give people free insurance, I think you have to have an investment.”

He noted that Kris Kobach carried Dickinson County (3,702 to Kelly’s 2,207).

He said the Republicans picked up a few seats in the House but lost a few.

Schwartz said late Tuesday, "To the thousands of people who opened their doors and shared their opinions of what matters with me, thank you. Your stories still matter and so do you. To the people who took time to sit and sip coffee with me in towns across the 70th District, thank you. To the many volunteers who gave their time, energy, and funds to help spread a positive message in our community, thank you. I am humbled by this journey and am grateful for all the experiences. To all the people who are angry and frustrated with the current political atmosphere, try to remember we are on a journey and as long as we do not give up, we will not lose."      

Served as judge

Barker served over 10 years in the U.S. Army and worked in the Dickinson County Attorney’s office before becoming a judge in 1987 where he served until 2012.

Barker is Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and serves on both the House Appropriations and Education Committees. John is a farmer, retired District Court judge, and US Army veteran. John served 25 years as a judge for the Eighth Judicial District covering Dickinson, Geary, Marion and Morris Counties. John and April, his wife of 30 years, live in Dickinson County where they raised their two children.

Barker campaigned against cutting K-12 education, supports reinstating greyhound and horse racing, supports pro-life legislation and supports Second Amendment protections.


He was supported by Kansans for Life, Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Livestock Association, Kansans for Life, Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Livestock Association .

Contact Tim Horan at

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