Kansas People's Action

For the Press

Latest Press Releases and Statements:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 25, 2014
Contact: Jacob Swenson-Lengyel, 312.316.3973 or jacob@peoplesaction.org

Black & Latino Leaders Call for Change in Kansas,
Demand We Put Working Families Over Corporate Interests

Paul Davis and Jean Schodorf Make Commitments to Expand Access to Medical Care,
High Quality Public Education and Increase Ease of Voter Registration

**** Click Here for Photos from the Event: http://bit.ly/1uWp4Ek ****

Wichita, KS — African American, Latino and low-income families packed into a community building Saturday to share their stories and talk about their vision of a Kansas that works for all families. The event, hosted by Kansas People’s Action Political Fund, celebrated the growing power of African American and Latino voters, who now make up almost a quarter of Kansas’s population, and gave the members of Kansas People’s Action Political Fund a chance to talk with candidates about the issues of importance to their families.

The event opened with remarks from Sulma Arias and Reuben Eckels, who laid out Kansas People’s Action Political Fund’s vision for a better Kansas.

“We want a Kansas where every family counts and is doing well,” said Arias, calling for a state that puts the needs of working families above the special interests of corporations and the wealthy. Arias also condemned “cynical and extreme” politicians like Kris Kobach. “We are working to transform the politics of hatred into a politics of renewal, of hope, and of love.”

Eckels retold Kansas’s proud history as a free state founded by people fighting pro-slavery forces. Kansas People’s Action Political Fund, he said, still believes in that vision of a state founded on equality by people who are willing to fight for it. “Do you want to fight for it?” Eckels asked to cheers and a resounding “Yes!” from the members of Kansas People’s Action Political Fund. “Then it is up to us to lead,” said Eckels to more cheers. “For our mothers, for our fathers, for our children, for our cousins, for our neighbors, it is our moment to lead.”

As Kansas People’s Action Political Fund President Carlos Contreras noted, there is a stark difference between the vision Kansas People’s Action Political Fund and its members have for Kansas and the policies that have been implemented by Governor Brownback and Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Kansas People’s Action Political Fund members have steadfastly opposed Governor Brownback’s failed experiment in Kansas, which they say has shifted power away from working families to corporations and the very wealthy, devastated their children’s education, and deprived tens of thousands of Kansans of healthcare. They have also strongly condemned Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s attempts to game the election system to advance his own career, most notably by working for the passage of one of the most obstacle-filled voter registration laws in the country. The law has made more than 23,000 Kansans second class voters, who can vote in Federal elections, but can’t cast a ballot in their home state.

After outlining Kansas People’s Action Political Fund’s vision for a better Kansas, members had a chance to ask Davis and Schodorf to weigh in on key questions around voter registration, healthcare, and education.

Schodorf committed to expanding same day and automatic voter registration, as well as measures that would encourage returning citizens to vote. “I want to make it as easy as I can for citizens to vote,” said Schodorf. “I have plans so that [Kansas] will be number one [in the country] for voter turnout.”

Davis, for his part, emphasized that the Brownback experiment has failed and pledged to make Kansas a welcoming place for immigrants, to expand medicaid, and to eliminate disparities in the public education system that impact children of color and children from low-income families.

After the event, Davis emphasized the critical role Kansas People’s Action Political Fund was playing in this election. “I really appreciate the work that Kansas People’s Action is doing right here in Wichita and across the state,” Davis said. “This is going to be a close election and Latinos and African Americans can have a huge impact on who our next governor is going to be.”

Members were encouraged by what they heard from Davis and Schodorf, who agreed with Kansas People’s Action Political Fund on key issues. “We’re tired of Brownback’s failed experiment that’s left tens of thousands without healthcare. We’re tired of Kobach gaming the system,” said Jan Swartzendruber, a member of the Kansas People’s Action board and a Regional Organizer for MoveOn. “It’s time for new ideas and that’s what we’ve heard today. We have the ideas and today we saw candidates who are willing to partner with us in making Kansas rise.”

After hearing from the candidates, more than 50 KPA Political Fund members hit the doors and the phones to talk to their neighbors about un-electing Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Governor Sam Brownback. Members also signed up to put in hundreds of volunteer hours talking to fellow voters between now and Election day.

Members left the event feeling inspired and powerful.

“This event has made me proud to be a citizen and a registered voter. Together, we are powerful,” said Juanita Martinez, a member of Kansas People’s Action Political Fund who came to this country 34 years ago from El Salvador.

“This is a historic moment for our communities,” said Vivian Martin, a member of the group. “Too often we’ve been pushed down and tossed under the bus, but today we’re leading. We’re putting in evenings, weekends, any day and everyday knocking doors and making calls to get out the vote. And our efforts are changing the balance of power in Kansas.”

MEDIA ALERT: October 23, 2014
Contact: Jacob Swenson-Lengyel, 312.316.3973 or jacob@peoplesaction.org

2:30pm Saturday, Oct 25: Kansas People’s Action Political Fund to

Hold People’s Forum with Paul Davis and Jean Schodorf

Wichita, KS – This Saturday, the members of Kansas People’s Action Political Fund, an African American and Latino led organization, will hold a “People’s Forum” with Kansas gubernatorial candidate, Paul Davis, and Jean Schodorf, candidate for Kansas Secretary of State. Kansas People’s Action Political Fund members and community leaders will lay out their vision of a Kansas that works for all families and ask the candidates key questions of concern to the African American, Latino, and low-income voters. After the forum, Kansas People’s Action Political Fund will launch a Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort with volunteers knocking on doors to encourage their neighbors to oust Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Governor Sam Brownback on November 4th.

What: A People’s Forum (with candidates) and GOTV Launch

Who: Two hundred African American, Latino and White members of Kansas People’s Action Political Fund

        together with Paul Davis and Jean Schodorf

When: 2:30 pm Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Where: 1751 North Ash Street, Wichita, KS 67214

Visuals: Two hundred Kansas voters, from the African American, Latino, and White communities interacting with candidates; Volunteers knocking doors and encouraging their neighbors to vote on November 4th

For more information about the event, or to interview members of Kansas People’s Action Political Fund, please contact Jacob Swenson at 312.316.3973 or jacob@peoplesaction.org.

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Kansas People’s Action Political Fund is a statewide organization of working people fighting to build a Kansas that works for all families.

For Immediate Release: Oct 21, 2014
Contact: Jacob Swenson, 312.316.3973 or Jacob@peoplesaction.org

 

***See Ad Here: http://youtu.be/qQBTg6JKkK8  *****

Grassroots Organization Releases New Advertisement

Slamming Kris Kobach For Gaming the System

Group charges Kobach is abusing his office to further

his own career, help Roberts and Brownback

Wichita, KS – Kansas People’s Action Political Fund released a bold new advertisement today urging voters to oust current Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The advertisement doesn’t mince words, saying outright what a growing number of Kansans believe: Kobach is trying to game the system by implementing harsh voting restrictions and messing with the ballot itself to win re-election for himself and his friends Governor Brownback and Senator Roberts.

The advertisement is part of an aggressive campaign by the grassroots organization to mobilize more than 100,000 voters in predominantly Latino and African American communities to vote in the November 4th election.

***View the Advertisement Here:  http://youtu.be/qQBTg6JKkK8 ***

“We talk to voters everyday and they’re sick and tired of Kris Kobach abusing his office to further his own career,” said Sulma Arias, Executive Director of Kansas People’s Action Political Fund. “Instead of fulfilling his duties as Secretary of State, he came to office bound and determined to make it harder for Kansans to vote. He’s made more than 23,000 Kansans second-class voters who can’t even cast a ballot for candidates in their home state. Then he has the gall to try and mess with the ballot itself to ensure that his friend Pat Roberts gets re-elected. Kobach says the move wasn’t politically motivated, but we all know he sits on Robert’s Honorary Committee! Does he think Kansans won’t connect the dots? We think our elected officials should play by the rules and encourage more Kansans to vote through measures like same day registration.”

Leaders at Kansas People’s Action Political Fund point out that while Kansas’ restrictive voter ID laws are meant to keep African American and Latino voters away from the polls, they also negatively impact a large number of white voters, particularly independents. Not deterred by Kobach’s effort to suppress participation and confuse voters ahead of a critical election, the grassroots organization has already reached out to more than 30,000 African American, Latino and white voters to create a democracy that works for all Kansans.

The organization says the voters they’ve been talking to are appalled by Kobach’s efforts to game the system. Members encouraged the organization to create the ad to reach even more Kansans and encourage all Kansas voters to show Kobach the door in November.

Quick Facts about the Campaign to Unelect Kobach

  • The Kansas People’s Action Political Fund campaign to unelect Kobach has contacted 30,000 voters so far in predominantly African American and Latino neighborhoods and says it’s on track to contact more than 100,000 voters by election day.

  • In addition to door knocking and phone canvassing, the campaign has mailed literature to this key constituency urging them to “Show Kobach the Door.” See a sample of the campaign literature here: http://www.kansaspeoplesaction.org/kpapf_mailer.

  • Kansas People’s Action and KPA Political Fund are member-driven organizations with more than 5,400 members across the state of Kansas.

Advertisement Script – “Finger on the scales” – 30 seconds

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has his finger on the scale.

He’s trying to game the system for his own agenda.

He’s trying to enact voting restrictions AND mess with the ballot itself.

Kobach thinks that by eliminating votes he can tip the balance in his favor of his own re-election and that of his friends.

Stop Kris Kobach and his friends Governor Brownback and US Senator Pat Roberts.

We want a state that works and is fair to all Kansas families.

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Kansas People’s Action Political Fund is a statewide organization of working people fighting to build a Kansas that works for all families.

For Immediate Release: Oct 1, 2014

Court Stops Kobach From Rigging the Election,
But He’s Still Trying to Game the System

Today, the Shawnee County District Court declared that the Democratic Party does not, contrary to Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s contention, need to name a new Senate nominee. Sulma Arias, Executive Director of Kansas People’s Action Political Fund, had this to say about the development:

“The court rightly ruled today against Mr. Kobach’s attempt to intrude and interfere in this election to further his own agenda. But despite the fact that Kobach has failed to rig the ballot, he’s still trying to game the system to place harmful restrictions on voting and keep himself, and his friends — Governor Brownback and Senator Pat Roberts — in power, despite their deep unpopularity among voters. The people of Kansas won’t stand for an official who abuses his office for personal gain. It’s time to show Mr. Kobach the door.”

Kansas People’s Action Political Fund is a statewide organization of working people fighting to build a Kansas that works for all families.

 # # #

Press Advisory For: September 5th, 2014

Kansas People’s Action Demands Kobach
Stop Tampering with the Office of Secretary of State

 

Wichita – Kansas People’s Action Executive Director Sulma Arias is calling on Secretary of State Kris Kobach to stop using his office to change the rules of the electoral process. Arias leads a broad coalition of grassroots organizations working together to undo Kobach’s restrictions on the ballot box that make it harder for people of color, women and the elderly to vote.

“First Kobach changed the rules on voting, now he is meddling with the ballot box to try to help Republican Pat Roberts survive a challenge by Independent Greg Orman in the US Senate race,” said Arias. “The job of the Secretary of State is to administer the electoral process, not use the office to change the rules in a way to advance their political careers. By contradicting his own staff who approved Chad Taylor’s withdrawal from Senate race this week, Kobach is abusing the office yet again.”

Kansas People’s Action Political Fund is reaching out to 112,000 unlikely voters in African American and Latino communities and asking them to turnout to fire Kris Kobach from his job. Hundreds of volunteers have already joined the effort and are making phone calls and knocking on doors weekly to support the effort. To get involved or find out more about the effort, go to kansaspeoplesaction.org.

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For Immediate Release: February 11, 2014

Suspended Voters Speak Out as Kobach’s Voter Restriction Push Winds Through Courts 

Community Groups Call Kobach’s Push to Disenfranchise Thousands of Kansans an “Embarrassment to Democracy”

Wichita, Kansas– Early today the US District Court of Kansas in Wichita held a hearing for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s lawsuit to keep tens of thousands of Kansas voters off the rolls. Suspended voters aren’t taking the lawsuit lightly– they are organizing alongside Kansas People’s Action to oppose the controversial voting restrictions, and held a press conference this morning before the hearing to brief the public on the real effects of the law which has targeted many African American and Latino voters as well as elderly, disabled, homebound, and low income voters.

“Despite any difficulties I face with my disability, I have actively participated in every community that I have lived in. Until I moved to Kansas, registering to vote had never been a problem for me.” said KPA member and suspended voter Michael Nucci at this morning’s press conference before the hearing.

Kansas People’s Action, a diverse statewide organization, is leading the charge against Kobach’s new voter restriction push. KPA is organizing to get the word out on how destructive these policies are to democracy.

“Women carry a disproportionate burden under this voter restriction. Women registering to vote in Kansas for the first time will have to show a paper trail of not only their birth certificate, but other legal documents such as marriage licenses and divorce papers.” pointed out KPA member Jen Bruey.

Sec. Kobach is suing the federal government to allow him to keep thousands of voters from actually casting a ballot, arguing state’s rights. More than 20,000 voters were initially affected, though that number has recently dropped to closer to 12,500– many affected are some of Kansas’ most vulnerable residents.

“We should be fighting to get more Kansans voting, but instead we are trying to keep Sec. Kobach from throwing eligible voters off the rolls,” said Carlos Contreras, President of Kansas People’s Action. “Kobach’s actions are an embarrassment to Democracy, and we will fight these racially driven attacks until every Kansan’s voice is heard in our elections.”

In 2012, Kansas saw record low voter turnout and became fourth in the nation for lowest African- American voter participation. Since the full implementation of new voter restrictions in 2013, more than 20,000 Kansans have had their voter rights suspended.

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