Candidate Profile: Brent Welder for U.S. Congress, Kansas District 3
“No one who works a full-time job should live in poverty, especially while corporate CEOs make as much in an hour as their workers make in a year”, says Brent Welder of Bonner Springs, candidate for Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District.
Welder, a labor lawyer and former Bernie Sanders (I-VT) campaign member, played a significant role in the 2016 Democratic Party caucus in Kansas. Much like the Senator from Vermont, Welder is running a campaign which rejects large corporate PAC money. You can tell a lot about who a candidate is beholden to based on where they receive their finances from. In this case, it is hard-working Kansas families.
On the issues, Brent Welder supports the fight for $15 and ending corporate tax loopholes. He recalls his childhood, growing up in a family that did not have much money. His stance against corporate greed and workers’ rights violations is evident through his profession as a labor lawyer. As for healthcare, Welder considers affordable and quality healthcare as a human right.
It is no secret that a great amount of Congress members are funded by large corporate interests that often work in opposition to the working class families of this country. How can a candidate claim to support affordable healthcare if they are funded by the health insurance companies who benefit from a healthcare system that is not affordable? Brent Welder is against the big drug companies which have taken advantage of people in need by driving up the prices of treatments and prescription medications.
On women’s rights, Welder believes in equal pay for equal work. He is an opponent to any effort to defund access to a woman’s basic healthcare rights. Brent is a supporter of Black Lives Matter in addition to fighting the unconstitutional police violence in this country. In this time of uncertainty for DREAMers and DACA legislation, Brent will fight to maintain the legal status of child immigrants who did not choose to come here illegally, but who have made a place in the United States as the only country they have known. These DREAMers are doctors, teachers, and military servicemen and women. We need to provide these immigrants with a path toward citizenship rather than making it harder for them to realize the dream of a better life, the reason why their parents brought them here.
Welder believes that a populist progressive is what Kansas CD-03 needs to flip the district. In his campaign announcement video, Welder points out that his district saw through Donald Trump. In fact they did. Kansas CD-03 just barely went to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Senator Sanders’ performance in the 2016 Democratic Caucuses showed that a progressive message has been well-received in Kansas. There are only five Congressional Districts in the entire country that went to Bernie in the primary and Hillary Clinton in the General Election.
Could this combination be enough to push a Democrat over the edge?
We have recently seen the effect where heavily Conservative areas have actually come into play for the Democrats. For Kansas’ 4th Congressional District in 2017, a progressive named James Thompson lost the special election with 46% of the vote. In 2016, the Democratic candidate did not even reach 30% of the vote. In 2014, Democrat Perry Schuckman held 33%. The trend continues. James Thompson did not win this district, but he had come closer than any other Democrat in two decades. Rob Quist, another progressive, lost to Greg Gianforte in Montana’s At-Large special election in 2017, but by the smallest margin since 2000.