Jolie Justus – MO State Senate – 10th District
The August 8, 2006, primary election is fast approaching, and the 10th District fight for the State Senate seat looks to become one of the hot races of the state since Charlie Wheeler announced his decision to run for Jackson County Executive rather than running for re-election. Four candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination: Jolie Justus, Jason Klumb, Ingrid Burnett, and Mike Flaherty.
Jolie Justus is an out lesbian who has lived and worked in Kansas City for over 10 years. A native Missourian, she currently lives with her partner, Lana, and their 14 year-old daughter. She is the Director of Pro Bono Services with Shook, Hardy, & Bacon L.L.P., a national law firm based in Kansas City with over 500 attorneys and 1,500 employees. She is a charter member of the firm’s award-winning diversity committee and founded the firm’s LGBT employee resource group.
In an age where character assassination has become the norm to determine candidate qualifications for office, I felt it time to return (used loosely) to a tried and true method of any applicant seeking a new position. The resume!
Candidate: Jolie Justus (www.JustusforSenate.com)
Seat: MO State Senate, 10th District
Education: Southwest Missouri State University, BS
U. MO – Kansas City School of Law, JD
(w/ distinction), 1998.
• Bench & Robe Honor Society
• Managing Editor, UMKC Law Review
• Charles E. Whittaker Award for Academic
Excellence & Law Review Honor Award
Healthcare–Advocates for restoration of Medicaid and expansion of coverage for children. Supports proposals like tax credits and other incentives for employers who offer health insurance to employees. Wants to find ways to reduce healthcare costs and reform insurance. Reduce premiums for MC+ / CHIP families; restore of 2003 / 2004 income eligibility limits for MC+ families; and reduce Medicaid spend-downs. Supports serious study of a single-payer or hybrid system of universal healthcare. Advocates aggressive public policies and positions relevant to HIV/AIDS research, education, and treatment, in addition to gay and lesbian health and wellness. Close coverage gaps for senior citizens.
Protect Reproductive Freedom–Pro-choice advocate. Supporter and volunteer for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Supports full access for women to family planning services. In 2005, worked with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project and Planned Parenthood to organize a legal training seminar. Assembled a team of volunteer lawyers to represent women, pro bono, in need of abortion services.
Education–Support public schools and oppose schemes to channel public money to private schools. Ensure local accountability of public schools. Repair flaws in the funding formula. Increase funding to higher education.
Economic Sustainability–Create jobs that pay a living wage. Promote life sciences and stem cell research. Establish Kansas City as a bioscience hub. Increase the legislative parity between Kansas City and St. Louis. Support funding for the arts and transportation to attract quality workers.
Gay / Lesbian Civil Rights–As a PROMO Board Member, lobbied for passage of MONA (MO Nondiscrimination Act (transgender inclusive)) and helped draft Missouri’s proposed antibullying legislation. Works with local and state officials as an advisor on issues affecting LGBT children and teens in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. In 2004, actively campaigned against Missouri’s anti-gay marriage amendment.
• 16 years as a campaign volunteer for political candidates and issues
• Mel Carnahan’s 2000 campaign for U.S. Senate
• Committee for Fairness (a successful 2003 campaign to establish a domestic partner registry to secure benefits for city employees)
• Constitutional Defense League (the campaign to defeat Missouri’s constitutional anti-gay marriage amendment in August 2004)
• ACORN’s campaign-related projects
• Claire McCaskill’s 2004 campaign for Missouri Governor
• Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition
• Howard Dean and John Kerry 2004 presidential campaigns
• State Rep. Beth Low, Democrat, MO 39th District (member of campaign committee and treasurer)
• Local and statewide candidates endorsed by PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT organization.
• 2004 Election Protection Project: Primary organizer, trainer, and Legal Commander in charge of Missouri and Kansas area. Coordinated additional efforts in D.C., Florida, and San Francisco.
• National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), Washington, DC
• NGLTF’s Creating Change Conference, 2004 & 2005
• PROMO’s Equality Summit, 2003, 2004, & 2005
• EMILY’s List Candidate Training
Professional Experience and Activities:
Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., Kansas City, Missouri
• Of counsel & Director of Pro Bono Services, 2003 – present
• Associate, 1998-2003
• Committees: Pro Bono (co-chair); Diversity (charter member);
Association of Women Lawyers – Kansas City, Board Member (2004/5)
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
ACLU – KS & W.MO, Legal Panel
Four Freedoms Democratic Club
KC PRIDE Democratic Club
MO State Rep. Beth Low (D-39)
Asked why she felt qualified to hold the 10th District State Senate seat, Jolie said, “The 10th district is arguably the most progressive state senate seat. I am the most progressive candidate in the Democratic primary. The issues and values that are important to the people of the 10th district are the same ones that I support. I’ve lived in the 10th district for over a decade and have worked to represent Kansas City’s most vulnerable citizens.”
What about the other three candidates? Jason Klumb has proclaimed himself front-runner of this primary, according to the proclamation on ‘jklumb blog’ on April 17, 2006 (see the article on the Fired Up Missouri website www.firedupmissouri.com.) He has lived in the 10th District for less than two years; he was in fact State Representative for the 125th District while he lived in Butler, MO (Senate District 31) 1992-1994. In 2004, he lived in Harrisburg and ran for Missouri State Treasurer. Although he raised the most money and was endorsed by every major Missouri newspaper, he lost. He graduated from William Jewell College and the University of Missouri School of Law and earned a master’s degree from London School of Economics. I was unable to confirm any of his voting record while he held office or to find a website for him.
Ingrid Burnett is vice president of the Kansas City School Board. Her website is www.ingridburnett.com, but the only items on it are a picture and her current job title. There is no information on Mike Flaherty either, although there is a rumor that he is running on the pro-life issue.