Steve Rose

Rep. Kevin Yoder stands to gain a political boost from his banking errand

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder receives the oath of office from House Speaker John Boehner, accompanied by wife Brooke and daughter Caroline.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder receives the oath of office from House Speaker John Boehner, accompanied by wife Brooke and daughter Caroline. The Associated Press

With Kevin Yoder, you always need to connect the dots. He’s always planning the next move.

This is a very ambitious man with great political skills.

In the Kansas House, Yoder morphed from a moderate to a conservative Republican, and eventually ended up chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

For an encore, he beat a slew of contenders to win the 3rd District congressional seat, which mostly consists of Johnson County.

What’s next?

The third-term congressman from Overland Park has just earned the love and affection of the nation’s largest banks.

He just accomplished a feat that surprised pretty much everyone.

Yoder ushered through the House of Representatives an amendment attached to the $1.1 trillion spending bill that repeals a part of the Frank-Dodd law, in favor of big banks. The draft of the bill reportedly was written by the lobbyists for Citigroup.

Both the House and Senate passed the spending bill with the amendment attached, and the president signed it.

Why would a congressman from the Kansas suburbs, who has no major presence of a mega-bank in his district, push through such a bill?

I think I know the answer, and even if Yoder doesn’t admit it, I still would bet that he has his eye on the governor’s seat when Sam Brownback finishes his second term in 2018, or a U.S. Senate seat, if for some reason Pat Roberts does not fill out his six-year term.

There will be a long line of Republican candidates vying for governor — or senator. And at first blush, it would seem Yoder would be out-gunned by several heavy-weight contenders.

Likely to be included — among others — are Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who has been a high-profile number two leader of the state; Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a man known far and wide as an anti-illegal immigrant fanatic and a voter protection advocate; Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a fairly moderate and popular leader; U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo from Wichita, a staunch conservative; Kansas Sen. Susan Wagle, the Senate president; and U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins of the 2nd Congressional District, a former state treasurer.

Guess who now is best positioned to run a mammoth campaign?

The nation’s largest banks, beholden to Yoder, would shower his campaign with so much money he would become, almost overnight, one of the front-runners, after dominating the airwaves, introducing himself to the rest of Kansas.

Historically, in Kansas — with rare exception — candidates for governor from Johnson County do not fare all that well. The rural part of the state is very suspicious, or maybe jealous, of this island of prosperity.

But big bucks can paint a picture of a man in touch with all parts of Kansas, from the farmers out west to the aircraft employees in Wichita.

Yoder is bright, attractive, and he is a gifted communicator. His town hall meetings are something to behold. He relates to everyone. And he now has the conservative credentials to get him through a Republican primary election, dominated by conservatives.

Plus, if that weren’t enough, Yoder is one of the best fundraisers around. He just raised $1.5 million for a slam-dunk race against a weak Democratic opponent.

Oh yes, and one more thing. You have never seen a more aggressive campaigner than Kevin Yoder.

To reach Steve Rose, longtime Johnson County columnist, send email to srose@kc.rr.com.

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