- Fifth-Generation Kansan, Born and Raised in Salina, Kansas
- Graduate of Salina Catholic Schools and Kansas State University
- Kansas House of Representatives, District 69 Representative 2013-2016
- Chairman, Committee on Transportation & Public Safety Budget
- Kansas Republican Party State Executive Committee Member
- Chairman of the Kansas Young Republicans
- Young Republican National Federation Campaign Committee
- Kansas Republican Party Leadership Series Class of 2011
- U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy Judge
Born and raised in Salina, J.R. Claeys is Salina's Representative. First elected in 2012 to the Kansas House of Representatives and reelected in 2014, J.R. serves as the chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Public Safety Budget. He is also a member of the Committee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development, and the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
Putting his committee assignments to work for Salina, J.R. is leading the effort to develop and expand the aviation industry in Salina, is delivering raises and new career path opportunities for the Kansas Highway Patrol and Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and is fighting for accountability and efficiency in government.
A fifth-generation Kansan, J.R. was raised in a middle-class family in Salina and is proud to represent his hometown in the Statehouse. His Salina roots run deep. His mother, Judy, was born and raised in Salina and has taught first grade at St. Mary's Grade School for over 30 years. His father, Joe, worked as a technician at AT&T in Salina for over 50 years.
Working for Salina
As chairman of the Transportation and Public Safety Budget Committee, J.R. made the development of the UAS industry in Salina one of his top priorities. He led the effort to create a UAS director position within KDOT Aviation. He has developed a plan to grow the UAS industry here in Kansas, including the creation of a UAS Research Triangle, the development of an aviation research park and UAS business incubator in Salina and a new tax credit for Kansas engineering students to stay and make their careers in Kansas.
Keeping Kansans safe and supporting our first responders is one of J.R.'s top priorities. He led his committee in delivering a new pay plan and a pay raise for the Kansas Highway Patrol, which has led to more recruits at the KHP Academy in Salina. He initiated conversations between KHP and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation that led to the creation of a new career path between the agencies. J.R. led his committee in delivering a raise for corrections officers and a focus on prison reform issues with the goal of reducing recidivism statewide.
J.R. fought to make government more efficient and accountable, and wants to make sure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. He fought to implement recommendations from the state efficiency study, including new procurement rules and ways to make KDOT deliver high quality transportation services in the most efficient way.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, J.R. scrutinized budgets to make sure your dollars are being spent in the best possible way and making sure that services reach those who need them the most. As a member of the Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee, J.R. has worked on vital job creation programs, looking for new ways to make Kansas the best state in the nation to do business. His economic development work includes partnering with the Department of Commerce to discuss ways the department can better market Kansas' business advantages to companies nationwide.
J.R. has long been committed to community service. As an undergraduate at Kansas State University, J.R. was a founding member of a volunteer networking organization that matched volunteers with charitable groups seeking help in the wake of the September 11 attacks. J.R. has volunteered as an international election observer and has been a regular volunteer with Kids Voting Kansas.
Starting his college career at Kansas State Polytechnic in Salina, J.R. holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Kansas State University and a Master of Public Administration degree, with a focus in nonprofit management, from the George Washington University School of Business.
Professionally, J.R. worked in nonprofit management, media and small business advocacy. His professional experience includes serving as communications director of the National Small Business Association, the Small Business Exporters Association and Small Business Technology Coalition. He has served as president and CEO of the National Association of Government Contractors, where he advocated for a fair and transparent procurement process and for small business growth. J.R.'s work in radio news and at The Manhattan Mercury, newspaper, earned him state and national journalism awards.
J.R. has frequently been quoted as an expert on small business issues in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times, as well as news radio programs nationwide. He also testified before House committees on behalf of our nation's small businesses.