by Melinda Wilcox Deason

I feel like I am part of a group of history makers! Let me tell you – tonight (Tuesday, February 7, 2012) was probably my favorite night ever of our Kansas City Metro Republican Women’s Club (KCMRWC). Our very own Member, Attorney Jamie Barker Landes, who has been with us since the beginning (when there was about 10 of us), has been arguing on the 5th district’s behalf against the new Congressional lines of the 5th district in MO. She went before the circuit court (I may have that court name wrong) and had her case tossed so she appealed to the MO Supreme Court and won the right to have our case heard. She then went back to argue at the circuit court and lost so now she is appealing it back to the Mo Supreme Court. I feel we have a good chance of winning on the Supreme Court level since they originally agreed that our district was not compact.

Let me tell you why this is important: Missouri’s constitution says that districts HAVE TO BE compact when drawing new lines. The most compact shape is a circle. What we have had in the past has been as close to a circle as they could get while keeping in a certain amount of people and dividing districts evenly. The new shape is ridiculous. It’s obvious gerrymandering (Which means lines are drawn to represent political interest rather than the people as a whole.) The fact is-both Democrats and Republicans testified at this hearing. Neither party of the people is happy with it.

The problem is that rural towns and urban towns have been divided out so that our district is part country farm land and part big city of Kansas City. Our district now stretches from the Kansas border to Marshall MO. yet at the same time they cut out a peninsula of Lee’s Summit which has always been in the 5th district and just happens to be a largely Republican voting area and they cut a big chunk off below our new district which has typically always been the 5th district. Here is the old map versus the new map:


Map of 2000 to 2010 MO 5th District

2000 - 2010 MO 5th Congressional District


Proposed Compact version of 5th congressiona district MO

Proposal for a compact 5th Congressional District

The proposed 5th district option that was rejected, but would have been much more logical – it was rejected for the following district map.


Map of the current 5th Congressional District in MO

Current map of the 5th Congressional District in MO


As you can see – it has been spread out horizontally to encompass more to the Right and less to the top and bottom. And I have to point this out – Jacob Turk, who ran against Emanuel Cleaver in the last election in 2010 and lost by the smallest divide since the 1948 elections – just happens to live in the little peninsula that is cut out on the left from the top to inside the shape:  Where the black dot is; Coincidence? I think not. I think Cleaver is scared that for the first time since January 4th, 1949 someone came close to unseating a Democrat and he panicked. The last time that seat was held by a Republican was January 3rd 1949. Turk lost by only 9% after the previous times Cleaver beat him out by about 30%.

What this means is that if we let our state get by with this, essentially our congressmen are picking us-we are not picking them! And while it may not affect you now – it will. It is one less freedom you have and one less opportunity to have a say in this country…..

See, the thing is, Jacob is a nice guy who takes the time to get to know his district. It took a while for people to get to know him but to meet him is to like him instantly. He is warm and caring and a good man – a former Marine, a business owner, and an employee. He manages his finances well. He’s not in debt. He and his wife would make Dave Ramsey proud. He would never take back door deals. He is a man of integrity and the more he gets out there, the more people like him.

My family met him a couple of years ago and we’ve been on board ever since. My son, Nehemiah, was so moved by him, he wrote a song about him and Jacob asked him to play it his election night party. The party was warm, held in a large church and people brought their own food dishes cooked with their own hands – honored to be asked to attend the election night watch party and as we saw the final numbers come down-we were not sad. We saw the victory in a 9% stretch – a record number of votes for a Republican in over 6 decades!

So we waited and we worked and we donated and we stuffed envelopes and we pounded the pavement because we believe in Jacob Turk! And in one vote of the Mo state Senate and back door deals between Democrats and Republicans – securing votes for certain districts, while letting others like Jacob fall by the wayside because “No one can beat a Democrat in that district” – in one simple act by the Mo State Senate – certain people in certain high places are trying to take that away from us! And we’re not going to roll over and take it lying down!

So I enjoyed my meeting tonight partly because I feel hopeful about the future outcome and partly because I am proud to be a friend of Jamie Landes, who is taking this case pro-bono because she believes that the state of Missouri ought to live up to the words of its state constitution.

I am proud that out of our little club that started at a real-estate office in Lee’s Summit with only a handful of women – we have grown to 45 strong and have a diverse group of homemakers, business owners, employees, Attorneys and so forth; look out Barbara Walters! Our club is where it’s at!

But I am most proud that the liberal Democrats thought they had us beat, they tried to kick us when we were down and regardless of the final outcome, we are strong and we are resilient because we are lovers of this country and we will continue the good fight for justice for all and it starts at the local level!

We are the grassroots! Whoop!


Melinda Deason is a conservative stay-at-home who became tired of armchair politics and yanking her hair out by the wads while yelling at the television.  In 2007 she decided to get active after a long furlough from activism.  Since then she joined the KCMRWC and began volunteering for local campaigns, writing letters to her representatives, and speaking at hearings, including the hearing on the new Missouri Redistricting lines.  “I am raising my children to realize that each of us have this one opportunity to leave a world better than we found it,” she said and added “so we can’t waste it being passive.”  Through activism and education, she feels she’s making a difference in her community; “…and it feels good to be part of something bigger.”  She finished by saying “Now I don’t sit in front of my television and wish I could do something; I am proud that I AM doing something.  My scalp is grateful”