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Examiner
  • Running grassroot campaigns

  • Call it the year of the grassroots campaign.

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  • Call it the year of the grassroots campaign.
    Like their neighboring primary election candidates in the 51st District, the 52nd District’s two Republican and two Democratic candidates have walked the streets of eastern Independence and northern Lee’s Summit, speaking on behalf of job creation, education and social services.
    Democratic candidate Chyanne Lockhart Cardarella, a third generation homeowner from Independence, said she interned for two Missouri state representatives and worked for nonprofit groups for 10 years in Jefferson City. She is the team leader for the records management department at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP.
    She received endorsements from the Missouri National Education Association, Missouri Votes Conservation, Women’s Political Caucus, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri and Democrats 21st Century.
    Cardarella’s priorities include supporting public education; bringing more jobs back to empty storefronts, such as those along the Noland Road corridor; and investing in renewable energy to attract “green” industry jobs to Missouri. She also is a firm believer in remaining accessible to constituents and has based her campaign around community outreach events and neighborhood coffee gatherings.
    “I believe the state representatives should be available and should be able to help people,” Cardarella said. “Constituents don’t hear back from their representatives all that often, so I know that it does make a big difference when someone listens to their concerns.”
    Robbie Makinen, Cardarella’s Democratic opponent, is the Jackson County economic development coordinator who previously spent about 20 years working with children and families.
    The 52nd District’s main concerns, according to Makinen, are jobs and the education of children. As economic development coordinator, Makinen said he knows that 70 percent of jobs created in the 52nd District and in Jackson County were created through business expansion and retention and said one of the biggest indicators of economic development is how much effort goes into early childhood education.
    “Social services and economic development are two sides of the same coin. I truly, truly believe that,” he said. “D’s and R’s don’t matter in front of our names; we should all have C’s and F’s for children and families.”
    Among Makinen’s endorsers are Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders; state Rep. Paul LeVota, the outgoing 52nd District legislator; state Sen. Victor Callahan, D-Independence; Independence Mayor Don Reimal; Independence City Council District 3 Member Myron Paris; Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp; the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 781 of Independence; and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 53.
    On the Republican ticket, Joel Blevins said he has always felt a calling toward political science and public service. When he saw that LeVota was term limited following the 2010 session, Blevins said “it was almost one of those euereka moments” and saw the opportunity to run for state office.
    Page 2 of 2 - Blevins, who has worked for more than five years in the retail industry, has received endorsements from Missouri Votes Conservation and Citizens for Educational Freedom. Job creation, education and environmental policy are his main concerns, and Blevins said he supports a reform of the state’s tax code. He suggested the abolishment of the corporate income tax and an improvement of payroll tax to encourage employers to hire and to retain new employees.
    While working on previous campaigns in the Kansas City area and in Chicago where he attended college, Blevins said he has learned that “it’s more personable” for candidates to visit their constituents door to door and said he has made it a priority to attend public forums and roundtable discussions.
    Noel Torpey, Blevins’ Republican opponent, said he believes “one person can make a difference, and I want to make a positive difference on all of the constituents.” Torpey estimates that he has knocked on 7,000 doors while campaigning in the 52nd District.
    Torpey, who owns the small business Torpey Brothers Lawn and Landscaping, received the endorsement of Missouri Right to Life. Like other candidates, Torpey said job creation is a priority and said Missouri companies should receive rewards for not outsourcing their jobs.
    A community effort is needed to eradicate illegal immigration and its effect on the workforce, Torpey said, adding that illegal immigrants and the companies that hire them alike should be punished. He said residents should make it a priority to purchase American-made products.
    “Education is enormously important, as well, but the more jobs we create, the stronger education can become,” Torpey said. “This country was founded on legal immigration, and we shouldn’t reward people for breaking the law. I run a small business, and sometimes, I have to bid against companies that have hired illegal aliens, and that’s not right.”
    The winner of each primary Tuesday will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

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