Candidates hear from residents at campaign event Tuesday in KCK

About 50 people turned out for a meet-and-greet event Tuesday night with candidates. The event was at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

by Mary Rupert

In a variation on the usual candidate forum, those attending a candidate meet-and-greet event Tuesday night in Kansas City, Kansas, talked more to the candidates than the candidates talked to them.

Broderick Crawford, event moderator, told those in attendance to go and talk to the candidates themselves in a sort of “speed dating” format. First, there were short presentations about the community’s problems such as health, housing and income. Then, candidates had two minutes each to speak, followed by individual meetings with those in attendance.

“I want each of you to spend at least three minutes at each table,” Crawford told the audience. “Hold the candidates accountable.”

The candidate meet-and-greet event was held Tuesday night at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, where the Rev. Harold Johnson, who is also a Unified Government commissioner, is pastor. Sponsors included Community Health Council, Econ Avenue, Historic Northeast-Midtown Association, KC United, NAACP KCK Chapter, NBC Community Development Corp., Northeast Economic Development Corp. and Unity with a Purpose.

Although there are only a little over 20 days remaining until the Nov. 6 general election, only two of the contested races on the ballot had all of the candidates present. Those contests were state commissioner of insurance, where Nathaniel McLaughlin, of Kansas City, Kansas, is the Democratic nominee, and Vicki Schmidt of Topeka is the Republican nominee; and state representative, 36th District, where Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore is the Democratic nominee and Chiquita Coggs is the Republican nominee. Event organizers said all candidates were invited.

U.S. representative, 3rd District

Sharice Davids, the Democratic nominee for U.S. representative, 3rd District, spoke at a candidate event Tuesday night at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Sharice Davids, Democratic candidate for U.S. representative, 3rd District, from Shawnee, said, “We need a government more reflective of what our experiences really are.”

One of the things that’s missing from Congress right now is people who know what it’s like to have to work the entire time they are in college, what it’s like to be a first-generation college student and what it’s like to be raised by a single parent, Davids said.

“A lot of us know what that’s like,” Davids said. But many in Congress have no idea what it’s like having to make hard decisions about health care and how they are going to get into school, she added.

“I know what that’s like and I’m tired of people in Congress making decisions about things that affect us, when it doesn’t affect them,” Davids said.

The incumbent, U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-3rd Dist., of Overland Park, did not attend the event.

Chris Clemmons, a Libertarian running for U.S. representative, 3rd District, spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Chris Clemmons, a science teacher at Rosedale Middle School who lives in Shawnee, is the Libertarian nominee for U.S. representative, 3rd District.

“I care very greatly and very deeply for my community,” Clemmons said. “I’m watching decades of failed policies affect our communities every day, from the drug war that’s ripping apart our inner cities, to quite a few other things the federal government is doing today.

“I’m staring down at my child’s future with $21 trillion in national debt and no way to pay it back,” he said. “We’re looking at pushing trillion-dollar deficits next year and into the future. And things aren’t looking like they’re getting any better.”

If voters are tired of the federal government telling them what they can and can’t do, what health care they can and can’t have, and watching people being locked in cages for nonviolent crimes, then he is their candidate, he said.

Governor and lieutenant governor

A debate with the top three candidates for governor was held at lunchtime Tuesday in Wichita, and only one of those candidates, Greg Orman, an independent, made it to the meet-and-greet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Kansas City, Kansas. Laura Kelly, the Democratic nominee, was represented by Dr. Cindy Lane, former superintendent of schools in Kansas City, Kansas. Kris Kobach, the Republican nominee, did not attend. Two other candidates on the ballot, Jeff Caldwell, a Libertarian candidate, and Rick Kloos, an independent, attended the Kansas City, Kansas, event.

Jeff Caldwell, a Libertarian candidate running for governor, spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Caldwell, from Leawood, said a lot of the issues Kansas are facing stem from budgetary problems, and the state is $3.2 billion in debt, having borrowed against pensions and unfunded liabilities.

“We are facing huge astronomical tax increases in the future if we do not get our budgetary problems handled immediately,” Caldwell said.

“I am running for governor of Kansas to first pardon all nonviolent cannabis offenses,” he said. He estimated that would save the state $20 million a year. He said he wanted to fully legalize cannabis to fund schools.

He also said sports betting needs to be legalized. Almost all states surrounding Kansas have approved either medical cannabis or full legalization of cannabis, he said. Missouri will consider it in November, and legislation is proposed in Nebraska, he said.

Caldwell said one of former Gov. Sam Brownback’s failures was to tackle the budget with legislators prior to cutting taxes.

“It’s time to wake up, to tackle our issues, to look at our budget responsibly,” he said. “I would like to cut the budget responsibly with legislators so it doesn’t hurt the average Kansan.”

Dr. Cindy Lane, retired superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, spoke for Laura Kelly Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Dr. Lane, retired superintendent of schools, represented Laura Kelly, a Democrat from Topeka.

“It’s important for all of us to vote, but to the youth here, you vote, and things will be all right,” Dr. Lane said. “This is about your future.”

Kelly was in Colorado when she and her husband decided to move to Kansas, Dr. Lane said.

“She wanted to raise her family in Kansas because of quality public schools and opportunity for economic well-being,” she said.

“I had the privilege of watching her work over the last eight years in her role as senator,” Dr. Lane said. “She is a no-nonsense kind of person who will truly listen to what the citizens of this state want, and will work across the aisle to make it happen. She is focused and she is determined. She is very much interested in ensuring that the quality of public schools continue. She was instrumental in the last legislative session in making sure we had a constitutionally valid finance formula so our schools , students and teachers had the resources they need to thrive.”

She said Kelly supports quality early childhood education, wants to work with public and private partnerships so all 4-year-old children have access, and also supports resources for technical and higher education so that students have opportunity to access higher pay and demand jobs.

Kelly is in favor of expanding Medicaid, reforming the KanCare system, and was instrumental in making sure the Brownback tax cuts were rescinded, Dr. Lane said. She is in favor of fiscally responsible tax policy, with a healthy budget, and wants to make sure the Kansas tax on food is not the highest state as it is today, she said.

Rick Kloos, an independent candidate for governor, spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Rick Kloos is an independent candidate for governor from Berryton, Kansas.

“I want to be about the people and I want to see us do politics much better,” Kloos said.

“There’s a perception that we waste money on education,” he said. Kloos said that is wrong. “I would never look at my kids or grandkids and say they are a liability. They are an asset and an investment to our future.” The state needs to support education, he said.

He discussed a nonprofit he started in Topeka, that he runs as a business and a service. The state should also be run as a business and a service, he said.

“I want to make sure we’re not neglecting anybody, and we’re taking care of people,” he said.

Greg Orman, an independent candidate for governor, spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Greg Orman, independent from Fairway, Kansas, talked about how he had Democrats and Republicans in his family.

“Something has gone very wrong in our state,” Orman said. “If we don’t change the direction of this state, my two daughters and all our sons and daughters and grandchildren in Kansas are not going to feel inspired to build their lives in Kansas. “

He said he spent his life in the private sector, and is trying to live his version of the American dream.

“I also realize that as we’re trying to help others live the American dream, we don’t pull the ladder up from the other side,” Orman said.

Kansas commissioner of insurance

Both candidates for Kansas commissioner of insurance were present.

Nathaniel McLaughlin, Democratic candidate for state commissioner of insurance, spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Nathaniel McLaughlin, Kansas City, Kansas, is the Democratic candidate for insurance commissioner.

McLaughlin said he had the business qualifications and academic credentials to serve as insurance commissioner.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Winston-Salem State University. He worked 37 years for Sodexho, including management positions, and is now retired.

“I want to advocate for the 350,000 adult Kansans who do not have any type of health insurance,” McLaughlin said.

He said while he is an advocate of Medicaid expansion, he does not blindly advocate it without a prudent review of its financial impact.

“I am against any program that adds a tax burden to the Kansas citizens,” McLaughlin said.

Work, faith in God, respect for his neighbor and his country are his values, he said.

Vicki Schmidt, Republican candidate for state insurance commissioner, spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Vicki Schmidt, Topeka, the Republican candidate for insurance commissioner, recalled living in Wyandotte County during the 1970s, and working at a pharmacy here years ago. A state senator for 14 years, Schmidt said she grew up in Wichita and has been a pharmacist for more than 40 years.

She said she became a pharmacist to help people, and helping people is also why she wants to be insurance commissioner.

As a state senator, she said she has protected Medicare for seniors and has made sure children with autism have the insurance coverage they need. She said she would continue fighting for Kansans if elected.

She added she originally ran for the Senate when she found some errors being made in the Kansas medical assistance program, and developed a plan to correct the errors resulting in a savings of $391 million.

“I deal with health insurance every day when I am practicing my trade as a pharmacist, so I am familiar with that world,” she said.

State representative, 36th District

Incumbent State Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, D-36th Dist., spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

The incumbent, Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, D-36th Dist., is the Democratic nominee.

A lifelong resident of Wyandotte County, she formerly served as chief of staff for former Mayor Carol Marinovich. She is business director of the University of Kansas hospital. She served as chairman of the board of Wyandotte Economic Development Council, and was on the board of Wyandot Mental Health. She was first elected in 2010 to the state representative position.

She said her passion was to serve the community of Wyandotte County.

“The issues are so difficult, and the Statehouse is in difficult shape these years after eight years of Sam Brownback,” she said. “We have to pass Medicaid expansion, once and for all, we have to put more money in the school finance plan, we have to take care of some of those children’s and seniors’ programs that have been decimated over the past few years.”

Rep. Wolfe Moore said they have to make sure the culture of Washington, D.C., does not come to the state of Kansas. The divisiveness and ugliness is awful, she added. She said she believes in fairness, civility and compromise, and she will put loyalty to Wyandotte County and her state ahead of loyalty to the party.

Chiquita Coggs, Republican candidate for state representative, 36th District, spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Chiquita Coggs is the Republican nominee for state representative, 36th District.

Coggs currently works for the state of Kansas as the head of the Board of Cosmetology in Topeka. She is a native of Kansas City, Kansas, who is currently living in Kansas City, Kansas.

She has an associate’s degree from Kansas City Kansas Community College, a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in organizational psychology .

“I have an extreme passion, and that is education, in Kansas and especially here in Wyandotte County,” she said. “All of the issues for the state of Kansas are important,” she added.

Rob Hodgkinson, a Libertarian candidate for secretary of state, spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Brian McClendon, right, Democratic candidate for Kansas secretary of state, visited with people before the campaign event Tuesday night, but had to leave and asked Rep. Pam Curtis to speak for him. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Rep. Pam Curtis, D-32nd Dist., spoke for Brian McClendon and for herself Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The Republican candidate, Scott Schwab, did not attend. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Sen. Marci Francisco, Lawrence, Democratic candidate for state treasurer, spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The Republican candidate, Jake LaTurner, did not attend. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
State Rep. Tom Burroughs, D-33rd Dist., spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The Libertarian candidate, Jason Conley, did not speak. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Tony Martinez, who won the primary election for Wyandotte County District Court Judge, Division 5, spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. He does not have opposition in the general election. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Janet Waugh, a Democrat running for re-election to the State Board of Education, District 1, spoke Tuesday night at a candidate event at the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. Her opponent, Republican Michael Powell, did not appear. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Greg Orman, right, talked with Jim Echols during the meet-and-greet portion of the program Tuesday night. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Dr. Cindy Lane, left, representing Laura Kelly at the event, met with members of the audience during the campaign event Tuesday. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Rick Kloos, left, visited with voters on Tuesday night at a campaign event in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Chiquita Cobbs, right, talked with voters during a meet-and-greet campaign event Tuesday night in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Nathaniel McLaughlin, left, visited with members of the audience on Tuesday night at a campaign event in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Sharice Davids, right, talked with voters Tuesday night at a campaign meet-and-greet event in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
State Rep. Tom Burroughs, D-33rd Dist., visited with voters during a campaign meet-and-greet event Tuesday night in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Rob Hodgkinson, right, talked with voters on Tuesday night at a campaign event in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, left, and Janet Waugh, center, talked with voters at a campaign event Tuesday night in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Voters picked up information during a campaign event Tuesday night in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Jeff Caldwell, left, participated in a campaign event Tuesday night in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Chris Clemmons, left, visited with voters on Tuesday night at a campaign event in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Tony Martinez, right, who is running unopposed in the general election for judge, visited with voters at Tuesday night’s campaign event. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Rep. Tom Burroughs, left, and Sen. Marci Francisco at Tuesday night’s campaign event in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
The Rev. Harold Johnson, also a Unified Government commissioner, said a prayer before the campaign event began. (Staff photo)
Broderick Crawford, moderator, urged people in the audience to visit with each candidate and hold them accountable. (Staff photo)

3rd District candidate calls for reform of campaign finance system

Tucker Poling, left, asked congressional candidate Sharice Davids, center, a question during a campaign finance forum held Saturday. At the right was Tiffany Muller, president and executive director of End Citizens United. Also on the panel was Davis Hammet, founder of Loud Light.

Democratic congressional candidate Sharice Davids called for reform of the nation’s campaign finance system at a forum held Saturday.

She said special-interest campaign funding – millions of corporate dollars flowing into campaigns – should be limited. There were some populist themes throughout the meeting.

Davids: ‘Breakdown in trust’

“So many of us know that this concept of the breakdown in trust, of the lack of political participation, it’s a combination of a feeling often of not being represented well, of showing up when the decision has already been made,” Davids said, “of knowing that it doesn’t matter how often you’re waving your arms around and saying this isn’t right, but it feels like things have not been changing.”

Davids, running for the 3rd District congressional seat, said she has seen in the past few years a lot of enthusiasm among people who are saying, “This is not the government I want.”

“We get the chance, if we don’t like what our government is doing, of doing something about it,” Davids said.

There is a range of options available to citizens, she said, including working with organizations to encourage voter registration, or serving in local government. Davids urged more people to register to vote and help others to register. The voter registration deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Davids joined in the panel discussion Saturday with Tiffany Muller, president and executive director of End Citizens United, and Davis Hammet, president of Loud Light, on the extensive influence of special interest money on politics. The moderator of the panel was Tucker Poling, an attorney and member of the Prairie Village City Council. The panel was sponsored by the Sharice Davids campaign.

Hammet said the people of Kansas are far different from the political agenda that has been pushed through the state. That is because there is very low participation in elections, particularly among youth. It results in a disconnect between citizens and the government, he added.

“The system is rigged in favor of those having the biggest checkbook,” Muller said.

Muller urged those attending the forum to “dig deeper,” get out and campaign, make phone calls, contribute, vote and get their friends and families to vote.

“We need unprecedented turnout,” Muller said.

Campaign finance underlies other issues

Asked if this was her top campaign issue, Davids said the campaign finance issue underlies the other issues.

“When I think about the campaign finance issues, it’s actually the foundation of so many issues,” she said. The policies of the people who are sent to Washington are influenced by who paid for their campaign, she said.

“It’s like a structural issue in who gets elected because of the money that’s coming in,” she said.

She said her opponent, incumbent Rep. Kevin Yoder, had accepted nearly a half-million in campaign contributions from insurance companies, then gave them tax breaks.

“My hope is we can start to elect folks like myself who are more focused on individual contributions, as a way to make sure that we can actually make health care costs more affordable, that more people are covered, and that public education is a priority,” Davids said.

Davids said Congress needs to protect people with pre-existing conditions. To think there might be legislation that would make it harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage in the future is unacceptable, she said. It has to be done in a way that people will not be priced out, also, she added.

Campaign contributors and dollars

Poling said Davids has had 75,164 contributors, compared to Yoder’s 1,671. While she has 45 times more contributors, Davids does not have 45 times more money, he added. Davids’ contributions are smaller, mostly from individuals.

“We worked ten times as hard just to raise the money we raised,” Davids said. It’s not as much about the money as it is about listening to the concerns of the people, and their small donations are important in expressing their support.

According to Davids, 99.8 percent of her donations are from people, while Yoder’s contributions from individuals are less than half. The average contribution to the Davids campaign was $35, according to her staff.

This last quarter, Davids’ campaign raised more than Yoder’s. Davids raised $2.7 million in the summer, according to her campaign staff, with funds from organizations such as Women Vote! and support from Emily’s List.

During the forum, Davids said that her acceptance of the Women Vote! contributions was not at all the same as accepting corporate contributions.

“Emily’s List is an organization that was designed to help a structural issue that exists that restricts the people who are able to participate in this system,” Davids said. “I feel very proud of being able to go from a first-generation college student raised by a single mom.”

“This is my real life. I came from a family that doesn’t have any money,” Davids said. “Single parents and people who have had to work two jobs, and people who have had to work the entire time they were in school, you know how hard it is. So when I talk about these things, I think about those structural barriers that exist.”

Organizations such as Emily’s List and End Citizen’s United are trying to increase the number of people involved, not restrict them, she said.

“So if we talk about the Koch brothers, whose primary purpose is to put people in office who want to talk about our voting rights as privileges, who want to talk about how we should dismantle the public education system, the Koch brothers and the 50 other people who fund so much of this big money need to have somebody pushing back against them until we can have these kinds of reforms,” Davids said.

“I don’t feel any tension around accepting the support of organizations like Emily’s List, Victory Fund and End Citizens United,” Davids said. “I don’t accept the premise that I need to feel tension because our campaign was able to raise a lot of money, because so much of it came from Emily’s List, because so much of it came from $35 average contributions. To say that raising a lot of money from a whole bunch of people is anything close to the same thing as getting a whole bunch of money from the Koch brothers is wrong, and it’s exactly what we’re talking about with misinformation and falsehoods, and it’s a false equivalency, and I just don’t accept it.”

Dollars and cents in campaign finance

According to the website from the Center for Responsive Politics, opensecrets.org, $3.07 million was raised in the 3rd District Congressional campaign through July 18, with more campaign finance reports expected shortly.

Yoder had more funding going into the general election. As of the July 18 campaign finance report, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Yoder had raised $2.7 million and spend $1.37 million, with $1.79 million on hand, while Davids had raised $344,704 and spent $216,947, with $127,758 on hand. However, the campaigns have reported a turnaround in campaign finance with more funding flowing into Davids’ campaign after the primary.

Yoder listed large donations in the July report from political action committees for law firms, from a payday loan company and other businesses. In September, it was announced that the NRCC, a PAC from House Republicans, would be sending Yoder and other Kansas candidates $1.8 million, but in October, it was reported that NRCC canceled $1 million in advertising for Yoder.

Polls also have showed Davids out in front of Yoder, with one poll from the New York Times showing Davids leading by eight points, 51 to 43 percent, with 6 percent undecided. (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/upshot/elections-poll-ks03-1.html?fbclid=IwAR0AMO70OfqXlWnSVlG19-2eEbFWMSIVnBiQGicyKyrqEeluU3U0SzfXL3I)

Both Davids and Yoder are lawyers. Davids, a former White House fellow and one of many women seeking congressional offices this year, won in a crowded primary field. She grew up in Leavenworth, Kansas, and attended Johnson County Community College, University of Missouri at Kansas City, and Cornell. Yoder, originally from Yoder, Kansas, and a University of Kansas graduate, has been in office since 2010. The 3rd District voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

There were some remarks at the forum about wealthy persons who serve in Congress, but Yoder is not from a wealthy background. He was listed by the Washington Post as 17th from the bottom of more than 400 members of Congress in personal wealth in 2010. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/congress-members-worth/index.html?noredirect=on&fbclid=IwAR0oMskqzPiYfOtBR00bSPv2UBMgD-_5WkAxj-2J0s5T51IMWGLeOwkSAAA). Davids is from a middle-class background.

When asked about why she did not attend the recent Congressional Forum with the Kansas City Kansas Chamber of Commerce or the forum of the Johnson County Bar Association, where Yoder was present, Davids said she agreed to have a free and open debate Oct. 29 sponsored by the Kansas City Star that will be televised, so that the largest number of people could see it. The other events were dinners where people had to pay to get in.

The panel discussion Saturday was held at the Matt Ross Community Center in Overland Park, with more than 50 attending. It originally was scheduled to be held at the South Branch Library in Kansas City, Kansas, but Davids’ campaign staff said it was moved because of the large number of participants who registered.

More than 50 people attended a forum on campaign finance held Saturday.
Sharice Davids, right, a Democratic candidate for U.S. representative, 3rd District, called for campaign finance reform during a forum on Saturday. At the left was Tucker Poling, moderator.
Tucker Poling, left, asked congressional candidate Sharice Davids, center, a question during a campaign finance forum held Saturday. At the right was Tiffany Muller, president and executive director of End Citizens United. Also on the panel was Davis Hammet, founder of Loud Light.
Sharice Davids, right, visited with people who attended a campaign finance forum on Saturday.

Column: Bringing back memories of the 1951 flood

Window on the West
Opinion column

by Mary Rupert

The possibility of flooding this week in Wyandotte County brings back memories of the 1951 flood for some.

That is the flood by which all others are measured in the Kansas City area. In 1951, Argentine and Armourdale were flooded and the lives of about 15,000 persons who were evacuated would never be the same.

The flood was before my time, but I recently spoke with Donna Ready about her memories of the 1951 flood.

Donna Ready

While Ready wasn’t in the flood itself, she was in Providence Hospital for childbirth on July 7, 1951. That was when the hospital was on 18th Street at what is now Donnelly College. She was in the hospital about seven days when the flood affected travel throughout the city.

“They said, if anybody feels like you can walk and be on your own, you need to go home because there isn’t going to be any doctors and nurses showing up,” she recalled. “So I had to go home.”

Her husband worked for the railroad, she said, and he had to go to the stockyards, which were in low-lying areas, and work there.

“He was saving people and animals,” she remembered.

Her home wasn’t in the flooded areas, she said, but she got to see some of the aftermath of the flooded areas. The flood affected her in different ways.

“The neighbors knew I was coming home with a new baby, so they all saved water so we would have water for the baby because the water wasn’t any good,” she recalled.

Images remain in her memory of the pictures of the Inter-City Viaduct with water above it, and animals floating down it, she said. A big area of K-32 highway was also under water, she recalled. And she remembered the Colgate-Palmolive plant being under water.

“We had friends that lived down in the bottoms who lost their homes. It took a long time to get back in, and they had to practically redo the whole thing, build houses back up again,” Ready said.

The flood of 1951 changed the look of the Kansas City area. It also was a factor in the migration of some residents west to higher ground in Turner and western Wyandotte County. Since then, more flood protection has been built around the rivers.

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email maryr@wyandottedaily.com.