There are several things that we come to expect during election season in America: debates on television, campaign literature in your mailbox or on your doorstep, and countless phone calls and text messages from all sides. Another sign that election season is upon us is the negative attack ads. Whether it is a short television spot or an off-color piece of mail, it is hard to go a day without seeing these ads that have no other purpose but to spread misinformation, fear, and division within our communities. This has become the norm in America.
Up until this past week, our race here in Missouri’s HD 16 in the heart of the Kansas City Northland has been run with integrity, honesty, and hard work — from both sides. I was proud that my opponent and I were leading grassroots-based campaigns that focused on our platforms and our community.
Unfortunately, my opponent and his political party have recently decided to take the low road by sending out mailers and writing his own opinion piece that was full of lies. It is clear that the only intent in doing so is to win over our voters through fear and division.
I am saddened and utterly disappointed in my opponent’s behavior and that of his political party. They claimed I have “proposed radical agendas,” that I have “taken a stand against our police officers,” and that I “support measures to defund our police.” These claims are completely unfounded, misleading, and simply untrue.
My opponent has attempted to make these claims based on the fact that my wife and I attended two peaceful protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Ironically, at one of these events, the Parkville Chief of Police and several police officers spoke and marched alongside us, in a beautiful showing of unity.
Let us set the record straight. Yes, I support the Black Lives Matter movement and all our Black and brown neighbors here in Kansas City. I also support our Kansas City Police Department and our first responders. Supporting these two groups are not mutually exclusive.
As stated on our website, our mailers, and on social media, I have — and will continue to — oppose measures that would defund any of our first responders, including the police. Rather, I will work in Jefferson City to protect funding for our police departments, fire departments, and other critical services, period.
Furthermore, I would like to speak directly to my opponent. Chris, I am calling on you to denounce these divisive antics and misleading statements that you and your political party have spread throughout our community. This behavior has no place in the Northland nor in Missouri — especially from a potential representative.
To the Northland, I believe you and our great state deserve better. Right now, we have an incredible opportunity to usher in a new decade of Missouri politics. One where our government listens to all sides, embraces our differences of opinion, and puts you, the people, first. The time for partisan games is over.
Regardless of who you support in this race, I just urge you to go out and vote. I will respect your decision either way. When you do, I urge you to vote for a dedicated public servant, raised with Northland values of integrity and transparency. Vote for community togetherness and unity. Vote James Shackelford for state representative.
Let’s go win this together, Northland!
James Shackelford is the Democratic candidate for HD 16 in Kansas City.