Derek Schmidt was the 44th attorney general for the State of Kansas. He is the state’s second longest-serving attorney general and in his 2018 reelection received the most votes of any candidate for attorney general in state history.
Schmidt was the Republican nominee for governor in 2022, losing to the incumbent in the state’s closest gubernatorial general election since 1978.
As Kansas attorney general, Schmidt made it his mission to serve and protect Kansans – especially the most vulnerable. He stopped scam artists and abusers from preying on seniors, prosecuted an unprecedented number of crimes against children, and sued companies whose marketing, sales and distribution practices fueled opioid addiction. The more than $1.5 billion his administration recovered for Kansas consumers and taxpayers is more than all previous Kansas attorneys general combined.
He successfully advocated for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to build a long-overdue modern forensic science center on the campus of Washburn University, establish the Child Victims Unit and the Northeast Child Victims Task Force, and implement the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative that eliminated a backlog of untested sexual assault kits.
Schmidt personally and successfully argued three Kansas cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Under his leadership, the Kansas attorney general’s office presented oral argument in eight U.S. Supreme Court cases – and won them all.
He also was among attorneys general dubbed the “last line of defense” against illegal and overreaching federal actions, who helped pioneer the role of state attorneys general in using state litigation to enforce the boundaries of our federal system.
Before being elected attorney general, Schmidt served 10 years as a Kansas state senator, representing a rural district in Southeast Kansas. He served four of those years as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and six years as Senate Majority Leader.
Honors presented to Schmidt include the Criminal Justice Professional of the Year Award from the Wichita Crime Commission, the Exceptional Service to Kansas Law Enforcement Award from the Kansas Sheriffs Association, the Policy Maker of the Year Award from the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association, the Distinguished Service to Kansas Children Award from the Kansas Children’s Service League, and the Guardian of Small Business Award from the Kansas chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. He served as the 2017-18 president of the National Association of Attorneys General, where he led a national campaign against elder abuse and was presented the Kelley-Wyman Award as the nation’s outstanding Attorney General for 2019.
A native of Independence, Kansas, Schmidt graduated from Independence High School and studied at Independence Community College. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas, his master’s degree in international politics from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and his doctorate in law from the University of Kansas School of Law.
Schmidt and his wife, Jennifer, are the parents of two daughters.