The Republican Party is alleged to be the party of big business but you would not know it from the lists of endorsements by KC BizPAC, the Political Action Committee of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City.
On the Kansas side, KC BizPAC’s endorsement showed a shockingly consistent pattern of support for Democratic office seekers and Republicans even more liberal than the Democrats.
“KC BizPAC is not affiliated with any political party,” insists the KC Chamber. “Rather, it’s organized to support those state and local candidates who have taken responsible positions on issues involving business and the economic well-being of the Greater Kansas City area and the states of Kansas and Missouri.”
The key word in this manifesto is surely “responsible.” On the state and local level “responsible” translates into “business as usual.” The “as usual” clause refers to high taxes to feed Big Education and a much too cozy relationship between government and big business. That relationship has made the phrase “public-private” partnership almost redundant in any discussion of recent business deals.
In house races in Johnson and Wyandotte County, KC BizPAC endorsed 15 Democrats and just 7 Republicans. Of the seven Republicans in the metro that KC BizPAC did endorse, Ron Ryckman scored the highest on the Kansas City Policy Institute’s Freedom Index. He was 58th.
There are 165 senators and house members in Kansas, Newly elected governor Laura Kelly scored a 26.7 on the Freedom Index on a 100 scale. This placed her 23rd from the bottom. Of the Republicans, KC BizPAC did endorse, Jim Karleskint placed one spot above Kelly on the KPI index and Tom Cox one spot above Karleskint.
Four others–Melissa Rooker, Stephanie Clayton, Jan Kessinger, and Linda Gallagher–scored below Kelly. True to form, KC BizPAC endorsed Laura Kelly for governor.
In other words, six of the seven local Republicans KZ BizPAC endorsed, as well as the newly elected governor, scored in the bottom 25 of 165 on a scale that measures commitment to economic and educational freedom.
Chamber members really need to be asking themselves what exactly are the criteria for a BizPAC endorsement. A larger question might be what is the rationale for supporting a chamber like Greater Kansas City’s.