5th Congressional District draws many candidates as Cleaver goes for sixth term

07/28/2014 6:38 PM

07/30/2014 3:36 PM

Emanuel Cleaver, seeking his sixth term as congressman from Missouri’s 5th District, says people should have no illusions about the Democratic Party’s ability to get its agenda through the Republican-controlled House.

“The legislative branch of the federal government is broken,” Cleaver said, adding that he will nonetheless continue to work for immigration reform, a raise in the minimum wage and the continuation of the Export-Import Bank.

Cleaver ran unopposed in his party for re-election two years ago, but this time he has four challengers in the Democratic primary. Two of them, however, have previously run for office as Republicans, and a third one espouses conservative positions.

In the Republican primary, Jacob Turk is making his fifth run. But he has three competitors this time, one of whom calls Turk a perennial also-ran.

Turk said he will listen to people of the 5th District and will respect their opinions.

“Unfortunately, the incumbent has just lost touch,” Turk said. “He doesn’t listen to people anymore, and he’s not the only one. There’s 535 of them (in Congress), and the vast majority have stopped listening to the rest of us.”

The district still leans Democratic even though it now includes Lafayette, Saline and Ray counties and much of Clay County. It embraces North Kansas City, Gladstone and Claycomo in addition to Kansas City south of the river, Raytown and Grandview and parts of Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs and Independence.

Cleaver, a former city councilman and mayor of Kansas City, is the only candidate with deep pockets. His most recent campaign filing showed his committee had raised $665,502 in this congressional term and had $234,463 on hand at the end of June.

Turk had raised $36,876 and had $19,497 cash on hand at the end of June.

Cleaver votes with the Democratic caucus and sits on the House Financial Services Committee. He supported the stimulus package and the Affordable Care Act. He also is an advocate of restoring civility to a Congress often paralyzed by partisan discord.

Cleaver secured tens of millions of federal stimulus dollars for the Green Impact Zone in Kansas City. It was intended to foster environmentally sustainable projects in a blighted area, but opinions about the results are mixed.

Cleaver points to his addendum to the Farm Bill that allowed retroactive compensation for farmers hurt by the drought of 2012.

He is optimistic he can secure passage of a bill designating Kansas City’s Liberty Memorial as the national memorial to World War I. He also is sponsoring a bill to name Washington’s Union Station after Harry Truman.

Cleaver worked to make mortgages easier in rural areas. And he is working to allow rural veterans to receive medical care at nearby hospitals instead of traveling to Veterans Affairs hospitals.

But Cleaver and his wife owe a bank for a failed car wash in Grandview, most of the loan for which was guaranteed with public money through the Small Business Administration.

Cleaver is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Mark S. Memoly and Bob Gough of Lee’s Summit and by Eric Holmes and Charles Lindsey of Kansas City.

Memoly ran for the U.S. Senate from Missouri in 2012 as a Republican. He describes himself as a moderate conservative. In a YouTube video, he outlines four themes for his campaign: to promote a culture where people are happier; for each person to have equity in the economy; to promote high-speed rail; and to promote renewable energy appropriate for each state, such as tidal power.

Memoly says Cleaver has been in office far too long and should be replaced.

Gough also ran as a Republican in 2012 against Sam Graves for the 6th District in Missouri. His website says the Affordable Care Act “is a disaster” and Cleaver is a career politician. He identifies with the tea party movement. He opposes Cleaver because he voted to raise the federal debt ceiling.

Holmes also espouses conservative positions, saying he wants to lower corporate tax rates to spur the economy and lower the federal minimum wage so more young people can get jobs. He also wants to repeal the health care law. Holmes lives in the 6th Congressional District, even though he is running in the 5th.

Lindsey said he is running for office “to assist public officials in resolving constructive trust that is destabilizing the Missouri banking system.”

On the Republican side, Turk emphasizes he is not a career politician like Cleaver.

Turk, of Lee’s Summit, wants to replace the health care law with a system without so much federal regulation that he says will have the unintended consequence of harming health care delivery. He thinks the government can and should help poor people with health insurance, but he opposes federal programs that encourage dependency.

He says the Environmental Protection Agency, the IRS and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are deterring job growth.

Turk, who was a Marine, opposes significant reduction in America’s armed forces, which he says has led to psychological problems for soldiers continually sent back into combat. He believes the country needs to remain prepared to meet possible threats.

Turk’s renomination by his party is challenged by Michael Burris of Kansas City, Bill Lindsey of Lee’s Summit and Berton A. Knox of North Kansas City.

On his website, Burris says he is “not a career politician and not a perennial also-ran.” He wants to repeal the health care law, simplify the tax code and “subdue” the IRS. He also wants to secure energy independence, secure the nation’s borders and keep federal agencies from controlling local schools.

Bill Lindsey wants to secure the borders against illegal immigration and then figure out a pathway to citizenship for those already here. He would encourage new businesses in the 5th District. He supports the Keystone pipeline and state control over educational standards.

Knox says he is “anti-communist, anti-socialist, anti-elitist and anti-fascist” and is “pro-Constitution and free enterprise.”

Libertarian Roy Welborn of Kansas City is unopposed in the primary election.

To reach Matt Campbell, call 816-234-4902 or send email to mcampbell@kcstar.com.


Mark S. Memoly

Age: 59

Address: Lee’s Summit

Occupation: Consultant for energy-efficient homes

Education: Master’s in business, Farleigh Dickinson University, Madison, N.J.

Previous public service: Mayor and councilman, Sparta Township, N.J.

Website: http://mmemoly.com

Emanuel Cleaver

Age: 69

Address: Kansas City

Occupation: U.S. representative, United Methodist minister

Education: bachelor’s degree, Prairie View A&M; master’s in divinity, St. Paul School of Theology

Previous public service: Kansas City Council; Kansas City mayor; U.S. representative

Website: http://www.cleaverforcongress.com/

Bob Gough

Age: 76

Address: Lee’s Summit

Occupation: Executive director Jackson County Tax Payers Association

Education: Bachelor’s in mathematics, San Jose State University

Previous public service: None

Website: http://bobgough.com/

Eric Holmes

Age: 52

Address: Kansas City

Occupation: Operations research analyst

Education: Bachelor’s in engineering, U.S. Military Academy; master’s, Georgia Institute of Technology

Previous public service: None.

Website: http://www.holmesforcongress.org/

Charles Lindsey

Age: 52

Address: Kansas City

Occupation: Paralegal

Education: Kansas City College of Legal Studies; National American University

Previous public service: None

Website: None


Age: 51

Address: Lee’s Summit

Occupation: Teacher, Lee A. Tolbert Community Academy charter school

Education: Bachelor’s in education, Graceland University; master’s in leadership, Baker University

Previous public service: None

Website: http://friendsofbilllindsey.com/

Berton A. Knox

Age: 58

Address: North Kansas City

Occupation: Engineer, U.S. Merchant Marine

Education: High school

Previous public service: None

Website: http://bertonaknox.org/

Michael Burris

Age: 45

Address: Kansas City

Occupation: Owns Bledsoe’s Rental on Wornall Road

Education: Attended Avila University

Previous public service: None

Website: http://www.michaelburrisforcongress.com/

Jacob Turk

Age: 58

Address: Lee’s Summit

Occupation: Leadership and educational consultant

Education: Bachelor’s in engineering, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Previous public service: None

Website: http://www.turkforcongress.com/


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