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Examiner
  • Few challengers so far in state house races

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  • With filing underway for a week, none of Eastern Jackson County’s state legislators faces a party primary challenge, and only a couple so far are looking at challenges from the other party in November.
    Filing for state offices opened last week and runs through March 25. State representatives are elected every two years and limited to four terms. Senators serve four-year terms; half are elected every two years.
    State Rep. Noel Torpey, R-Independence, is seeking a third term in the 29th District. Two Democrats are running in the August primary for the chance to run against Torpey in November: Addison R. Newberry of Independence and John B. Sutton of Independence, who ran against Torpey in 2012.
    The district includes Independence generally south of 23rd Street and west of Lee’s Summit Road, as well as parts of Kansas City. Noland Road, from 23rd Street south to Missouri 350 at Knobtown, basically runs down the middle of the district.
    Also, Glen Kolkmeyer, R-Odessa, is seeking a second term in the 53rd District, which is mostly in Johnson and Lafayette counties but also includes the northeast slice of Jackson County east of Buckner, including Levasy. Democrat Henry Grubb of Odessa is running to challenge him.
    Others on the ballot so far face no opposition.
    One is Ira Anders, a Democrat from Independence. Representatives are limited to four terms, and Anders is running for his third. Although it’s been typical for legislators to run for and win their maximum number of terms, Anders said he makes that decision two years at a time.
    He said he’s going for another term “basically because I think I’ve learned so much in the last four years.” Anders entered the General Assembly with decades in teaching and six years on the Independence Board of Education, and he’s on the House Education Committee, but he’s also on the Utilities Committee, which deals with a large number of complex issues often out of the spotlight. The state, he said, needs to study its long-term energy issues.
    He also favors changes for schools.
    “If I had my wish list, I would like to expand early childhood education,” he said.
    Anders represents the 21st District, which includes much of northern and eastern Independence, from the edge of Englewood to the edge of Susquehanna to the area just north of Centerpoint Medical Center.
    Several others from the area, like Anders, are about halfway to their term-limit maximums. These so far face no opposition:
    • Sen. Will Kraus, a Republican from Lee’s Summit, seeking a second term in the 8th District, which covers the southeast part of Jackson County – part of Lee’s Summit plus Blue Springs, Grain Valley and Oak Grove. There’s also a slice of Independence generally north of Interstate 70 and east of the Little Blue River, the Lobb Cemetery, Crenshaw Road, Eureka Road area.
    Page 2 of 2 - • Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs, seeking a third term in the 32nd District, which runs from Burr Oak Woods State Forest east to Oak Grove, taking in Blue Springs north of I-70.
    • Rep. Sheila Solon, R-Blue Springs, seeking a third term in the 31st District, which is most of Blue Springs south of I-70 as well as the Lake Jacomo/Blue Springs Lake area.
    • John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, seeking a third term in the 19th District, which is mostly in northeast Kansas City but also reaches into Independence and Sugar Creek – the area generally north of Winner Road and west of Vermont Avenue.
    • John Mayfield, D-Independence, seeking a second term in the 20th District, which runs from Sugar Creek to northeast Independence to Buckner, taking in River Bend and Sibley and running as far south as the edge of Burr Oak Woods. U.S. 24 east of Missouri 291 runs about through the middle of it.
    • Rep. Donna Pfautsch, R-Harrisonville, seeking second term in the 33rd District, which includes Harrisonville, Pleasant Hill, Lone Jack, Lake Lotawana and the edges of southeast Blue Springs, Grain Valley and Oak Grove.
    • Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, first elected in 2011 and seeking his second full term in the 22nd District, which includes western Independence, Blue Summit and parts of east Kansas City. It includes Hill Park and the area generally west of Westport Road in Independence and, in Kansas City, the stadiums, Blue Valley Park and the area as far west as Troost Avenue between 35th Street and Blue Parkway.
    • Rep. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit, seeking a third term in the 30th District, which runs from the 39th Street and Missouri 291 area of Independence, as well as the area immediately east of the Little Blue River, south through Lakewood and into Lee’s Summit. Interstate 470 runs roughly down the middle of the district.
    • Tom McDonald, D-Raytown, seeking a fourth term. His district, the 28th, is mostly in Raytown but also includes some Independence residents in the area generally along Norfleet Road south of U.S. 40.

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