In the race for U.S. Representative, 3rd District, two Democrats, Kelly Kultala and Reggie Marselus, are competing for the opportunity to run against Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder in the general election.
Kultala, who lives in the Piper area of Kansas City, Kan., is a former state senator, a former Unified Government commissioner and a former Piper School Board member. She also was a lieutenant governor candidate in 2010. A consultant, Kultala formerly worked in the nonprofit philanthropy field.
Kultala has been endorsed by several groups and individuals, including the Kansas National Education Association, the AFL-CIO, the Mainstream Coalition, and Kansas Democratic Party Chair Joan Wagnon.
A Lenexa resident, Marselus is a retired electrical worker who is active in a union retiree group and other union groups. He also is a retired church organist.
Yoder, an Overland Park lawyer, is running unopposed in the Republican primary election. He began serving as U.S. representative in 2011. He is from a small community outside Hutchinson, Kan.
At the candidate forum July 30 at Kansas City Kansas Community College, Kultala was represented by Devon Roberts because of a scheduling conflict.
“We need more women in Congress to continue the progress of fighting for what we’ve been fighting for, for generations,” Roberts said. “Kelly is committed to ensuring that equal pay for equal work becomes a reality in this country and is no longer just an unfulfilled promise.”
She said Kultala knows too many middle-class families are living on the edge because she has been a member of one of those families.
“She knows that no family should ever stare bankruptcy in the face because someone gets sick,” Roberts said. “She will fight to ensure that we do not regress to a time when insurance companies could drop you just because you’re ill.”
Her campaign has been very active, making more than 9,000 phone calls, she said. Roberts said that Kultala is the candidate who can beat Yoder in November, and that her polls were in her favor, with only 30 percent wanting to elect Yoder.
“For 30 years, I wore a hard hat, I wore bib overalls and steel-toed boots and safety glasses, and I worked to build things that you can see,” Marselus said. “Now, in my retirement I want to work to build something that you cannot yet see and that is your future.”
“President Obama said, send me a Congress in 2014 that wants to build a road,” Marselus said. “Ladies and gentlemen, I build things, and I want to build roads. Our nation’s infrastructure has a potential of $3 trillion to our economy, with hundreds of thousands of workers. For decades, all paid taxes, and it will revitalize our nation’s economy. I also want to see Social Security protected. My approach to that is hands-off. I believe that if we open the door to any reform, once we open the door, reform comes in a flood. The Social Security system is doing just fine.”
He said all citizens in America should get the rights they deserve as citizens.
Marselus said that Kultala and he share many of the same opinions on the issues. “I believe that I bring the experience of a working man and I will work for you as a working man in the U.S. Congress,” he said.
Despite huge differences in the campaign finance warchests between the Republican and Democratic candidates, Marselus still had hope.
“Even big money can be defeated by a large amount of small people,” Marselus said. He said he planned to work his way into the U.S. Congress.
“If you allow advertising to affect your vote, then you’re not paying attention,” he said. “If you elect someone who buys more advertising because they have more money, then the only person you’ve elected is someone who had more money and can buy more advertising.”
To see more of the candidates’ views, see http://wyandottedaily.com/candidate-forum-to-be-shown-on-kckcc-cable-channel/
or visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSR0tns6Mf0&index=3&list=PLMfeRPiOepX3eMxZvUqSyLgAGYAra4qls