By Joe Jarosz
February 10, 2016
KANSAS CITY, Missouri Election season is starting to heat up in the Northeast.
Three Northeast residents have already announced their intention to run for Missouri House District 19. The seat became available when John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, announced his candidacy for the Missouri’s 11th Senatorial District, which became available in July 2015 after the resignation of Paul LeVota following allegations he sexually harassed a female intern working in his office. No charges were ever filed. Rizzo has represented Missouri’s 19th House of Representative’s District since 2010.
Throwing their hats in the race are Manny Abarca IV, Cliff McMurray, and Ingrid Burnett.
Abarca plans to draw on his experiences behind the scenes as a field organizer for multiple campaigns including U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s 2012 bid for re-election.
Abarca plans to “combat some of the rhetoric that’s coming down from Jefferson City and fight for issues that matter to the 19th district, be that on protecting Kansas City’s earnings tax or for finally funding the much needed and necessary regional crime lab in Independence.” Abarca believes that this opportunity will allow him to “take a stand on these issues as well as provide more for the district.”
A community leader, Abarca has volunteered his efforts to organize neighborhood watch programs, address blight, and take on the Kansas City Public Schools as one of the founding members of “Save Thacher Save Our Schools” campaign. Abarca has been working in public services for the last two years for Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II. His extensive training and on the job experience, combating agency bureaucracy and fighting for services and benefits earned by the Federal government, puts him in a prime position to effectively serve and take on any constituent issue. Whether fighting for someone’s Social Security Disability benefits, navigating the twists-and-turns of our healthcare system, or fighting for someone’s home that is being foreclosed on by big, corporate banks.
A full list of Abarca’s policies and upcoming fundraiser can be found on his website www.MannyforMissouri.com.
A Northeast resident since 2006, running for the 19th seat will be McMurray’s first foray into politics. He decided to throw his hat in the race because he developed a desire to see better outcomes for the area youth.
“For me, there was never necessarily an ah-ha moment ‘I’m going to pursue running for elected office’,” McMurray said. “It was more a journey of how I’m going to take this passion to help our young people and by extension families and really be effective with that.”
As a neighborhood activist and constant volunteer in the Northeast, his platform will focus on quality of life issues and better addressing education, two things he believes are more connected than people realize. So when the opportunity arose to seek office and address all those issues, that’s when he decided to run.
“I was actually intending to seek a school board seat,” McMurray said. “The reason I decided to go for the state house is because I feel it’s the place where we can have the most impact on the issues.”
As a first timer, he knows the deck is stacked against him. McMurray respects both Burnett and Abarca, someone he’s gotten to know through his constant volunteerism and work for the Northeast.
“I think they’re both going to be challenging opponents for me because they come to this with a more politically savvy and connected infrastructure,” McMurray said.
To learn more about McMurray’s platform and any upcoming fundraisers, visit https://www.facebook.com/cliffordmcmurrayIII/.
A two-term school board member, Burnett is no stranger to the political race. But after retiring last summer, she didn’t expect to get back in the political game so soon. It certainly wasn’t something she was actively exploring, either.
“Several people encouraged me to consider it and I was flabbergasted because I just retired,” Burnett said with a laugh. “But after thinking about it, this was the logical next step. It seemed like a good opportunity when the seat came open to synthesize all things I’m good at. It’s an extension of all I have done up until now.”
Having served on a school board, her platform will focus on education. Burnett said there are great concerns about what is done to area schools, the educators and students. She also plans to focus on Medicaid expansion and neighborhood development.
“I really would like to influence the continuance of all the exciting things going on in the 19th District,” Burnett said.
As for her opponents, Burnett thinks Abarca and McMurray are, “really nice young men with good intentions” but she doesn’t believe they would bring the experience or institutional knowledge she would bring to the table.
“That’s a really important quality in an election at this level,” Burnett said.
To learn more about her policies and about any upcoming fundraisers, visit http://ingridburnett.com/.