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Political Neophite Faces Uphill Battle in the 29th


JEFFERSON CITY – Addison Newberry, a 23-years-old security guard at Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, has announced plans to run for State Representative in the 29th district currently held by leading House Republican Noel Torpey of Independence.

Newberry has no political experience and has not raised any money for the race. He has cited a lack of fundraising experience as an obstacle.

“In 2012 the democrats raised $2,000,” Newberry said. “Noel raised over $100,000. He has a lot of union support.”

Lizzie and Addison Newberry
Lizzie and Addison Newberry


In fact Torpey has an overwhelming amount of organized labor behind him, confirms Mike Louis with the Missouri AFL-CIO.

“Noel is a great person to work with. He constantly supports Missouri’s working families during this time of constant attack by some legislators,” Louis said. “He has a real sense of fairness about him with a certain flavor of conservative bi-partisanship.”

On top of the political opposition, Newberry works from 4 p.m. to midnight most days. Caring for a toddler takes up another significant segment of his time.

Newberry is running on a platform that includes tax reform. His inspiration is working with Community Improvement Districts in Waldo and Brookside neighborhoods of Kansas City. Community Improvement Districts are operated by local businesses that tax themselves to provide services like street sweepers and security. He said the businesses are thriving. He wants taxes to be allocated where they are needed most in Missouri.

Despite the obstacles, Newberry believes he has a chance in the upcoming election. He’s running as a Democrat in a district that votes heavily democratic at the national level.

However, Torpey is not a typical republican said House Majority Leader and head of the House Republican Campaign Committee John Diehl.

“Noel Torpey is a quality person who cuts across any partisan demographics,” Diehl said. “He is a personal friend of mine and a valuable member of our caucus. No expense will be spared defending this seat”.

Further, Torpey’s voting record in the legislature has gained him a strong following among groups who often support democratic candidates such the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.

“He is an extremely thoughtful and intelligent person,” Sara Schuett, MATA’s Executive Director said. “I’ve had the chance to work with him on a couple of bills and I really admire the way he was able to craft compromises and develop solutions all of the interested parties could agree upon.”

Also, the Firefighters look to be on the ground supporting Torpey in the fall.

“Noel’s committed to public safety and the community,” Mark Habbas, owner of Habbas and Associates, said. “We plan to be out strongly supporting Noel with boots on the ground to make sure Noel returns to the legislature next year.”

Most legislators eye Torpey’s distict as challenging for a Republican but his voting seems to fit the district.

“This will be a tough race. Noel positions himself as one of the most liberal members of his caucus and, smartly, he keeps a keen eye on how he votes,” Rep. Jeremy Lafaver, D-Kansas City, said. “I think it’s important for voters in that district to have a choice, but it’s definitely an uphill climb.”

Newberry says he knows the race will be a tough fight, but plans to file next month.