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RESOURCES

Kansas Legislature
Johnson County Election Office
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Communities of the
25th District

Fairway
Mission
Mission Hills
Mission Woods
Prairie Village
Roeland Park
Westwood
Westwood Hills

CONTACT MELISSA

In Topeka: 
State Capitol Room 168-B
Topeka, KS 66612
melissa.rooker@house.ks.gov
785-296-7686

At home in Fairway
4124 Brookridge Drive
Fairway, KS 66205
melissa@melissarooker.com
913-961-1555

Dear Melissa:

The campaign season is reaching a fever pitch as we finally draw near the end of the 2016 election cycle. Rhetoric being employed by both sides is intended to gaslight you into believing the opposing candidate is the worst of the worst. What is gaslighting?
From the Urban Dictionary:
Gaslighting is "an increasing frequency of systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information to, the victim - having the gradual effect of making them anxious, confused, and less able to trust their own memory and perception.
We see both extremes:
  1. Postcards from the right warning of liberals who support terrorists, want your freedom and think taxing you to death to fund big government is fun.
    • These mailers are full of images of Muslim terrorists, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton to scare you into believing there is a direct connection.
    • They warn of activist judges who let heinous crimes go unpunished and vicious criminals roam free. Neither of which are true.
  2. Postcards from the left tying anyone running as a Republican to Gov. Brownback.
    • Claims such as “Barbara Bollier votes with Brownback 88% of the time" fail to factor in the number of times votes are unanimous or very nearly so.
    • A similar comparison shows that the Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley voted with the Republican majority 81% of the time over a 6 year period (2011 – 2016). Does that automatically make him a Brownback supporter? Ridiculous conclusion to draw, but in a climate where polling shows that Brownback is historically unpopular, the left equally sees an opportunity to sow seeds of mistrust in the minds of voters.
In the case of proven incumbents, voting records are being ignored or manipulated to fit the desired narrative, even when the claims being made are demonstrably false.

These mailers often ignore the reality that anyone paying attention knows – the governor and his supporters have had moderate Republicans, especially in Johnson County, at the top of their hit list, some as recently as this summer primary election cycle.
 
The extremists on both sides are playing a high stakes game in which nothing matters but scoring a win on election day for their side. These campaigns have no substance, and offer no analysis of the major issues facing the electorate. But gosh, they are working to make you question the integrity of people you know and trust, or worse, they’re hoping you tune it all out and stay home on election day.
 
The truth is, there are wonderful candidates across the political spectrum
who have proven track records and experience reflecting a desire to serve you,
not outside special interest groups or a political machine.

 
The truth is our court system is under attack to suit a specific purpose –
to load it with judges who will rule based on a particular political ideology,
rather than the rule of law.
 
We are better than this. Voters deserve each of us in public life to BE better than this.
 
When talking to my husband about whether to run or not the first time, I told him I was tired of politics as usual. Instead of being frustrated with the talking heads and politicians on TV every night, I wanted to lead by example and prove that there is still a place in public service for those who are willing to talk straight and do the right thing.


Consensus Building
In my four years in elective office, we have come together on many critical issues to move bipartisan legislation or (and oftentimes more importantly) to stop elements of the extremist agenda. Working together, a bipartisan group of sensible centrists:
  • Protected the independence of our judiciary
  • Protected the constitutional authority of our State Board of Education
  • Protected AP, IB and other college prep classes from being outlawed
  • Protected our state education standards from repeal
  • Resolved the equity portion of the school finance lawsuit after six long years of legal battles
  • Protected local governments and school boards from partisan elections
  • Protected renewable energy by providing a stable business environment, translating to a record number of new projects under construction (thus helping our actual environment)
For all the controversy that routinely makes headlines, Kansas has made quiet progress in criminal justice reform, invested in upgrades to infrastructure at our medical school, and put together a forward-thinking plan to deal with our state water crisis, among other things.
 
The challenges facing Kansas have been brewing for a number of years and will not be resolved overnight. Promises being made by untested challengers that they will go to Topeka and “stand up to Sam Brownback” sound good but belie the simple fact that, as we have seen in Washington, DC, simply saying “NO” isn’t a viable path to problem-solving. Making the perfect the enemy of the good will not get Kansas back on track. 
 
Consensus requires solid, working relationships built on a foundation of trust, collaboration and teamwork. The corrosiveness of the campaigns currently being waged is doing tremendous damage. The cynic in me wonders if that might be the actual intent – prevent a coalition from forming to solve the serious problems facing the state in order to further their political cause in the next election. I will not give in to cynicism. Please join me in that commitment as we continue to work together for the best possible policy outcomes.
 
Polarization and hyper-partisanship too often prevent elected officials from coming together to share ideas. The media fans the flames because it drives ratings, and the public ends up tuning it all out. Working together, we can change that narrative. Your willingness to evaluate candidates based on the content of our character, our record of service to our communities and our work ethic will make the difference.
 
I hope when you cast your ballot it reflects that thoughtfulness regarding my policy work and public service rather than a reaction to the latest news from the national scene. I am still me - you know me. Your trust in me is something that I will never take for granted, and endeavor to earn for another term.
 

Resources
Resources are readily available to help you cut through the spin and make an informed decision when you cast your vote. It doesn’t take much time to review voting records of incumbents.
 
The most complete resource I can give you for House and Senate candidate information is KanVote, a site that compiles candidate surveys, endorsements, and press coverage.

Another easy way to get a quick view of voting records is at Kansas PTA using their legislative Vote Count series.
 
For the judges on the ballot, you will find reviews from the lawyers arguing before these judges – those who won AND those who lost.
 

Advance Voting
Advance voting is underway statewide. Please check you own county election office for specific details. Here in Johnson County, we have 6 locations for voting in advance.
 
If you applied for an advance ballot by mail, please take the time to fill it out and drop it in the mail today! It does no good if it is still on your kitchen counter when the polls close on election day. Ballots must be received to the election office by 7 pm THIS Tuesday. If you need help returning your ballot, please call and I will deliver it by hand with your permission.
As always, I encourage you to connect with me if you have questions or concerns. I am honored to serve.

Sincerely,

Rep. Melissa Rooker
Kansas State Representative, District 25
Serving Northeast Johnson County
Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved.
Melissa Rooker,