Jan Justice: Working to meet the people
During a candidate forum Monday night, a Kansas Senate hopeful concluded her remarks by reciting a familiar line that's become a cornerstone of public appearances during the 15-plus months she's been on the campaign trail.
"Send a big message and a little justice to Topeka," said Jan Justice, the Democratic candidate for the 3rd District Kansas Senate seat. And, yep, she approves that message.
Address: 14323 166th St. Bonner Springs
The 3rd District covers southern Leavenworth County -- excluding Lansing and Leavenworth -- as well as Jefferson and northeast Douglas counties.
The incumbent, Sen. Bob Lyon, R-Winchester, is not seeking re-election.
If the catchphrase Justice left voters with Monday night is recognizable, it may be due to Justice's becoming well-acquainted with the district she courts.
Since August 2003 Justice, a lifelong Kansas resident, has worked toward securing the nod of voters in preparation for next week's vote.
"My platform has always been to meet the people," said Justice, adding that her campaign has taken her to home visits with approximately 10,000 District 3 residents and includes everything from yard signs and attending chili dinners to direct mailings and radio spots. "From the beginning, I've wanted to meet the people so I could understand all their issues."
And those issues deemed most important, Justice said, is funding education, finding a solution for affordable health care and prescription drugs and small business development, among others.
Her bid for a seat in Topeka has also taken Justice inside the statehouse. During the last legislative session, Justice spent time with representatives reviewing issues as well as the political process. She believes the visits have helped make her better prepared to handle the rigors of public office.
"When I get there, I won't have a long ways to go," she said.
In trying to secure the support of both everyday residents as well as local bigwigs, Justice said she's actively sought opinions from a wide range of people as she prepared for next Tuesday's election in which she faces Lawrence farmer Roger Pine. When considering an issue, the question of "who's voice is missing" resonates with Justice, she said.
"I've pursued all parties in my campaign," she said.
"You don't get ahead at the expense of someone else -- it's best to truly represent what's best for everyone and what's best for Kansas."
Justice is the executive director/CEO of Community LINC, a 15-year-old not-for-profit corporation serving homeless and at-risk families in Kansas City, Mo. She is also an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church.
On Election Day, Justice said she hopes voters take notice of her enthusiasm to represent their interests as a Kansas Senator.
"I hope they realize I'm passionate about a better future for them, for their children and for Kansas," she said. "I believe I have the education and experience to truly represent them on those issues we face.
"It shouldn't be whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, it's who you think will fight for you -- I believe I'm that person."