March 4, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Why Has Deaf Community Turned Against First Deaf Candidate for Kansas House?

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As the first deaf candidate for the Kansas House, Chris Haulmark has gotten a lot of media attention, even from the national media.  As the Miami Herald reported in August, “Chris Haulmark can’t speak or hear, so he takes pamphlets when he goes door to door, pointing to show his platform.”

Closer to home, and more recently, KCTV 5 did a flattering article on Haulmark. “What people in this district are asking for is a focus on public school funding,” KCTV 5 quotes Haulmark as saying. “That way all families with children have a good education.”

Haulmark has made many enemies where you would least expect them–in the deaf community.

“This campaign is just completely different than any other campaign than you’ll see here in America because, obviously, I’m a person who uses a second language,” adds Haulmark. “I don’t use strictly English.”

An Olathe resident, Haulmark ran unopposed in the District 15 primary. His November opponent, John Toplikar, ran unopposed in the Republican primary. Yes, the campaign is “completely different” but for reasons the media have yet to address.

One unanswered question is why there is so much opposition to Haulmark in the local deaf community. One deaf woman, Pamela Torres by name, takes exception to the fact that in his campaign literature, Haulmark claims, “Chris is known nationally for founding the Deaf Grassroots Movement.”

To make the case that Haulmark’s claim is bogus, Torres reproduced on her Facebook page a letter from 2016 on Deaf Grassroots Movement letterhead that shows “the founders list on the left column.” Says Torres, “Chris Haulmark is not even listed.”

A woman named Jennifer Carlino weighs in, “Always do research on his/her/their history and background and determine if this person has character and integrity and respects the Deaf community well that we do want him/her/then to represent us. Definitely not CH [Chris Haulmark].”

Before deciding to run for the Kansas House, Haulmark made a gesture at running for Congress in the 3rd District. This possibility roused a deaf citizen named Jason Tozier to anger. Wrote Tozier, “I do not support Chris Haulmark to win the seat. He do not deserve it at all. Please do not support Chris or donate money. I will make everything to make sure Chris does not win the seat.”

Tozier apparently had done something illegal when he was younger, and, by his account, Haulmark conspired to keep him out of deaf politics because of it. “Chris Haulmark did this to me purely out of malice for sheer pleasure,” Tozier wrote. “It was fundamentally undemocratic. Bullying does not mean backing the right candidates. He was attempting to make it more difficult for me to fit into Deaf community and wanted me to be shunned in public. Hate has spewed by Haulmark was a directive outward for his own self-loathing.”

Haulmark’s reported bias against those with legal problems is particularly curious in that he last made the Sentinel for his having a registered sex offender living under his Olathe roof. Kudos to the deaf community for not voting as a bloc.






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