PARKVILLE, Mo. — Tony Luetkemeyer is on the campaign trail running for Missouri State Senate.
The Parkville resident is vying for the upcoming vacancy in District 34 — covering Platte and Buchanan counties — which is open after Dr. Rob Schaaf has reached the end of his term limit.
Luetkemeyer, who is an attorney for an insurance company in Kansas City, is hoping his outsider perspective will lead to a victory in Aug. 7 in the primary election.
“I felt we could do a lot better,” Luetkemyer said during an interview with The Citizen at Parkville Coffee earlier this month. “We got people in office who are career politicians, who are trying to climb the ladder and move to the next office. I think it is good for people to come in with fresh perspective and bring new ideas to Jefferson City.
“I got frustrated with how things were in Jeff City and instead of sitting around complaining, I should do something and the best way is running for office.”
This marks the first run for public office for the Farmington, Mo., native who moved to Kansas City eight years ago following graduation from the University of Missouri School of Law.
He said he felt a calling to get involved as the reason behind his running for office. Luetkemyer started slowly, going door-to-door in Parkville and has branched out to meet local mayors, school board members, county officials and other elected officials.
During an election kickoff party on Jan. 25 at Northridge Farm in Kansas City North, more than 50 people showed up to show support for Luetkemeyer’s bid.
He has joined various chamber of commerce organizations in the area, while being a member of the National Rifle Association and Federalist Society.
Though Luetkemeyer doesn’t have a political office background, he has been involved politics in various aspects.
As a junior at MU, he was the student body president and during Law School, then Gov. Matt Blunt appointed Luetkemeyer to the Board of Curators as the student representative. He fought to keep tuition low and voted on a new president for the school.
He was also an intern in the Domestic Policy Council at the White House during the summer following college graduation, prior to attending law school. After law school, Luetkemeyer clerked for a judge on the Missouri Supreme Court before starting work at a law firm in Kansas City.
“I came to the decision to run for office because I could make the biggest difference and impact in the state,” Luetkemeyer said. “This is not about running for a higher officer after this. It is about going there and doing a good job for people in the district and make sure we build a more prosperous Missouri.”
Of the 34 Senate seats, 17 are up for grabs, nine of which are due to previous elected official serving two four-year terms. The deadline for filing is March 27.
He said believes there should be term limits on all portions of the state government, not just for certain positions.
Luetkemeyer and his wife Lucinda — currently the legal counsel for Gov. Eric Greitens — said Parkville felt like home and the small-knight community is what drew them to town. Now, this is an area he wants to represent in Jefferson City.
He said his focus will be on both sides of the county line, being a Senator for the entire district from St. Joseph down to Kansas City.
Some of his platforms he discussed were government regulations, agriculture, developing a better workforce, keeping taxes low, ethics reform and education funding at the state level.
“One thing the state can do it just get out of the way. One problem with government instance is getting involved in everything and often it makes it more difficult for businesses. We have initiated 40,000 pages of new government regulations since the year 2000. These are regulations that cripple business and make it very difficult for them to operate.”
“Those communities I feel at home. I grew up in a small farming community and I love getting into those communities talking to farmers. I grew up family with a fifth-generation farm. Being in a rural, doing coffee and meet-and-greets, those are the things that I have done and will continue to look the most forward to. Missouri, our economy is significantly based on agriculture. Anyone that is in the state legislature that have a rural population needs to be focused on agriculture issues and reaching out to the working farmers.”
“Talking to people in Platte or Buchanan County, the No. 1 thing I hear about is jobs. We need to do all we can to keep businesses. You need to have a competitive workforce that is ready and willing for businesses to stay here.”
“I’m in favor of keeping taxes low. The best way to grow and stimulate the economy is let businesses spend their own money. When you let people keep their money in their pocket and they get to spend it, they stimulate the economy and the economy grows. Everyone wins when you have a sensible tax policy. I will be looking out for the taxpayer in Jeff City. We need to keep taxes low on Missouri families and businesses.”
“We are one of only 11 states with no limit on the mount the lobbyist can spend on gifts. I think that is a big problem. Those types of things make people lose faith.”
“I believe in affordability and accessibility. Provide a quality education at a price that is affording and fight rising tuition cost. I will fight for higher education. Can I promise there won’t be cut, no, but I realize students and parents are hurting and it is difficult. It is getting harder to send a kid to college. As someone who is elected with a state university in this district, I will fight for higher education.”