Kyle Yarber describes himself as a “libertarian Democrat” in the mold of New Mexico’s former Gov. Bill Richardson or Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
He wants to ride that different kind of message into the Democratic nomination for Missouri’s 6th District congressional post.
“I believe in smaller government and fiscal responsibility,” Mr. Yarber said, “but I believe that government has an important duty to the people.”
The Gladstone resident hopes to unseat six-term Republican Sam Graves for the northern Missouri U.S. House seat.
Another Democrat, Hamilton physician Dr. Ted Rights, has also announced for the race.
Mr. Yarber, a teacher by trade, began studying the 6th District while actually studying ... for a master’s degree in social sciences. He had a write-in campaign for the 6th District seat in 2010, getting 47 votes, picking up information for his thesis and putting him in touch with the economic ills of small Northwest Missouri towns.
In the Great Depression, the Democrat said, Americans looked to move to other parts of the nation where opportunities might reside. He sees little chance of that in the current environment.
“You can see what it’s doing to the family farms and the small towns,” Mr. Yarber said. “They can’t sell their homes, they have no idea where to go and they’re trying to figure out what to do where they are.”
The candidate said the federal government can take different paths in encouraging growth. Some of the methods being discussed in the current Congress, he noted, seem to benefit Americans already blessed with advantages.
“Sam Graves claims that he represents small businesses and farms,” the 45-year-old said, “but the farmers and small businesses he chooses to help, to me, look like international corporations.”
Born in the St. Louis area, Mr. Yarber said he is a sixth-generation Missourian and a third-generation educator. He said this background informs his belief that agriculture and education hold the key to sustaining the 6th District, which expands with this election across the top tier of the state.
Having taught at school districts in Plattsburg, University City and Kansas City, he now faces the task of educating Democratic groups and county central committees about what he stands for.
At least one other thing pointed him to the race. As reapportionment took place after the 2010 census, the candidate thought his Gladstone home might get redrawn into new congressional boundaries.
“When the redistricting map came out, I was still in the 6th District by about a block,” he said. “I took that as a sign that the 6th District was what I was meant to take on.”
Ken Newton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.