The race that will decide who will represent the people of the 31st District in the Missouri House of Representatives is heating up.Two candidates vie for 31st District seat


The race that will decide who will represent the people of the 31st District in the Missouri House of Representatives is heating up.

Incumbent Sheila Solon, R-Blue Springs, will face Democratic challenger Dale Walkup during the Nov. 6 election.

Solon was first elected in 2010 as the 55th District representative. But after the 2010 census, legislative districts were redrawn. The 31st District covers Blue Springs south of Interstate 70 and west of Missouri 7 as well as a handful of neighborhoods east of M-7. It also covers the Fleming Park area in Lee’s Summit.

Solon served for three years on the Blue Springs City Council, including a term as mayor pro-tem. She also served for nine years on the Blue Springs Planning Commission and was on several other city committees, including The Charter Review Committee, the Capital Improvements Committee, the Board of Zoning Adjustment and was chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Review and Multi-Family Task Force commissions. She and her husband have two children.

Solon is endorsed by the International Association of Firefighters Local 42 of Greater Kansas City; the Missouri Club for Growth; KC BixPAC, the Political Action Committee of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City; the National Rifle Association and the National Federation of Independent Business Owners (August Primary).

“I strive to be the voice and conscience of the people as a planning commissioner, city councilman and now as their state representative,” she said about her decision to seek another term. “In doing what is best for our community, at times, I have taken harsh criticism because of it. The 31st District deserves a representative who will be able to stand strong on its behalf. I know that I can continue to be effective at the state level.”

Walkup is currently president of the Blue Springs Board of Education, which he has been a member of the board for more than 20 years. He owns and operates Luckytime Dog and Car Wash in Blue Springs and is a partner, along with his wife, in Destination Unlimited Travel. He served for four years on the Jackson County Board of Equalization and has served on the National Institute for Construction Excellence Advisory Board. He and his wife have three daughters.

Walkup is endorsed by Missouri Right to Life, the Missouri School Administrators, the Missouri State Teachers’ Association and the National Federation of Independent Business (August primary).

Both were endorsed by The Kansas City and the Missouri National Education Association in their August primary elections. However, neither group has made endorsements yet for the November election.

“I am disappointed with the way that things are going. More importantly, I am frustrated with and by the representation we currently have in District 31,” he said of his decision to seek the 31st District seat. “People often complain about the way things are going, but instead of talking about it, I’m doing something about it. I will not go to Jefferson City and embarrass you. Respect for District 31 citizens will be a priority.”

Solon said building a “strong and healthy economy” was one of the reasons she first wanted to serve in Jefferson City and plans to continue working on improving the state’s economic. In addition, she plans on supporting education and working toward the future of the Missouri Innovation Park.

“For two years, I watched the struggle between the courts and the St. Louis school district, fearful that the same fate would befall Kansas City. I was not as confident as others were that Blue Springs would remain outside the scope of the court ordered remedy. Now that we are involved, it commands attention and vigilance. I will continue my support for greater local control of successful school districts and oppose open enrollment,” she said. “The city of Blue Springs has invested heavily in The Missouri Innovation Park and has staked their future on it and as such it is a top local priority. My job as representative is to find ways at the state level to help bring it to fruition. This is why I voted in support of MOSIRA, the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act. MOSIRA would have brought high-paying, high-tech jobs to our state. As MIP needs these jobs, MOSIRA will continue to have my support.”

Walkup said if elected he plans to “establish relationships and build consensus.

“I will advocate for lower taxes to put more money back into the hands of the people so that it can be reinvested in our economy to grow the state’s revenue so that schools, infrastructure and other programs can be properly funded without placing a burden on the people,” he said. “I will work against unfunded mandates, taxes or regulations that cripple our citizens, businesses and schools. I will not pander to special interests as my opponent does. It all begins with service. I have served for 35 years and have proven my commitment to our community, its patrons, schools, businesses and future. I listen first and make fact based decisions utilizing collaboration of all stakeholders.”