FHSU student seeks state office


By Randy Gonzales
University Relations and Marketing
HAYS, Kan. -- Tory Marie Arnberger graduates from Fort Hays State University next month with a bachelor's degree in business education. Instead of teaching, however, Arnberger has chosen a different path.

Arnberger, 22, recently announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination for the Kansas House of Representatives for the 112th District. That district, which covers Arnberger's hometown of Great Bend, is currently represented by John Edmonds, R-Great Bend, who announced he is not seeking re-election. He served 16 years in two different stints in the Legislature.

If elected, Arnberger, who served as an intern for Sue Boldra, R-Hays, this session, wants to make education a top priority. The state budget also is an important issue to her.

"Education is something I'm really passionate about," Arnberger said. "The other thing is to figure out this whole budget situation. It's crazy to me to see how, if 49 other states can figure it out, why can't Kansas?"

Arnberger didn't know many people when she arrived at Fort Hays State in the fall of 2011. She joined Delta Zeta sorority to help get involved on campus. Arnberger was feeling drawn to politics even then, joking during her freshman year she would some day end up as the mayor of Great Bend. Arnberger's political zeal heightened during the 2012 national election, when she supported Republican Candidate Mitt Romney for president.

"I committed to Mitt all the way," Arnberger said. "Living in the sorority house, it was great. We were all huddling in the TV room. We were watching the presidential debates.

"I remember election day," she added. "We were trying to do the math -- how can we get Mitt Romney to win? That kind of sparked it. I started getting more and more interested (in politics)."

Arnberger, a Student Government Association senator, was selected for the Governor's Internship Program, spending last summer at the Kansas Department for Children and Families in Topeka. Then she served as an intern for Boldra, who represents the 111th District.

"It kind of sparked my interest even more," Arnberger said. "I thought, 'Well, let's try it.' That's always what I wanted to do, I think. I think it's my calling."

Arnberger, who lives in Great Bend and commutes to Hays for classes two days a week, said she has been backed by her family and friends.

"Everybody's been real supportive," she said. "I've been humbled and honored by all of the support I have received from people."

Arnberger knows she has a busy schedule ahead before the Aug. 2 primary. She needs yard signs, needs to get out campaign literature -- you name it, she needs it. But she will always have time to fondly recall her years as an FHSU student.

"Being at Fort Hays State has been an amazing experience," Arnberger said. "I couldn't imagine going to another institution. I'm definitely glad I came to Fort Hays State.

"I think the fact that Fort Hays State really prides itself on a small class size is beneficial," she added. "I was able to get to know my professors on a personal, one-on-one basis."

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