Tyler Holmes, Overland Park freshman, ran as the Democratic candidate for Kansas 28th district representative. Holmes lost to Pat Colloton, the Republican incumbent, but the unlikely candidate said he was pleasantly surprised he managed to receive a quarter of the votes. His goal was to get 1,000 votes; he received about 4,000 votes.
His age and political party may have affected his chances at victory, but Holmes remained confident and continued to receive support through the entire election process.
Holmes said one of his main goals in running was to increase the visibility of the Johnson County Democratic Party. Holmes said he was proud of what he had accomplished in the face of tough competition.
I have to be thrilled, he said. I outdid the number of registered Democrats in the county and was only 309 votes short of the high mark, for a Democratic candidate in the district.
Most college students would find it impossible to take on a challenge like this during their first semester of freshman year, but Holmes said he was able to balance an 18-hour course load and the duties of running his own campaign.
Ive managed without getting behind too much in any class, but I am constantly thinking about what I could be doing for the campaign while trying to satisfy my scholastic duties, Holmes said.
Representative Colloton and Holmes differ in gender, political party, age and years of experience. But Colloton said, Its great that a young person is involved with politics. She also said she thinks Holmes wouldve been too young and too inexperienced to be state representative.
Tyler is a nice kid, but I think its presumptuous to want to represent the citizens of Leawood without much background and experience, Colloton said.
However, Holmes is too ambitious to start small, and said he felt he had enough knowledge and heart to hold a position in office.
He said he would like to see Kansas specialize in wind energy and would like the state to spend more money on better teaching methods, rather than standardized testing.
The federal government should utilize the prevalent energy in each state. For Kansas, thats wind, Holmes said. Supporting wind energy could also create more local jobs.
Holmes also wants to use the states wasted funds to make Kansas state universities more affordable.
Holmes is opposed to Collotons plan to draw funds from the proposed gambling infrastructure revenue stream.
I simply find it appalling considering the economic circumstances were in, Holmes said. While Kansans are already hurting for cash and thus contributing less to state revenues, we want to encourage them to gamble to create a cash flow to fund state projects?
Holmes biggest supporters are his friends and teachers from high school.
I must thank them because they have been totally supportive, even when I wasnt confident in the whole idea, in me chasing my dreams, Holmes said. Their encouragement has meant a ton.