Dave Lindstrom’s career path has led him down many roads. From playing as a professional defensive end in the NFL to franchising four Kansas City-area Burger Kings to stepping into local and state politics, he has learned plenty and has many stories to tell.
His next feat he hopes to score points in is the U.S. Senate race in Kansas. Lindstrom will go head to head with several Republican candidates in the August primary including Kris Kobach, Roger Marshall and Bob Hamilton.
Lindstrom said he thinks being a Kansan by choice sets him apart in this Senate race. A native of Massachusetts, he has been a resident of the Sunflower State for over 45 years.
What brought him to Kansas was a lifelong dream of his: playing for the Kansas City Chiefs.
After being drafted in 1977 by the San Diego Chargers and playing on the team for a year, the Chiefs recruited him and he moved to the Midwest.
He played eight years with the Kansas City Chiefs before being presented with the opportunity to franchise Burger King.
Entering into business and real estate development played a role in Lindstrom’s decision to transition into politics.
Lindstrom started working to open his first Burger King in the late 1980s. It came with the usual struggles of real estate development such as working with the city on zoning.
But Lindstrom was also presented with an issue when a community member living one mile away from the Burger King didn’t want the fast food restaurant to open with a drive-through.
After hiring an acoustical engineer to measure the decibels and impact the drive-through speaker would have on a house one mile away, Lindstrom began to feel his local government wasn’t running the way it should.
"Government should protect the vulnerable and at-risk and we should be very cognizant of what goes on with neighbors who could be impacted by business, but I thought this was a little bit of an overreach," Lindstrom said. "I said right there that government needs to have people that understand business also representing the folks in local government."
Lindstrom joined his local and state chambers, served as a Johnson County commissioner for 10 years and ran for Lt. Governor in 2002 with then-state treasurer Tim Shallenburger.
When Lindstrom made the decision to run for the Kansas seat in the U.S. Senate, he did so because he felt the country was under attack and still feels that way today.
He has been told he is overstating the issue, but stands by his statement.
"Eighteen months ago there were people in Washington, D.C., who were talking about socialism as an economic way forward in this country and that’s not what I believe," Lindstrom said. "I believe that capitalism is the way that we need to go here in this country and it was the way this country was built. We are under attack when we have Washington politicians talking about open borders in this country. This is a sovereign nation and we are a nation of laws."
Lindstrom pushes for securing the country’s border and believes immigration reform is needed.
"We need to know who’s coming and going. We all drive to this building today in our automobiles, they are in the parking lot," Lindstrom said. "We don’t leave the windows open and the doors open so anyone can come and go in our car whenever they want. We lock our cars, we close the windows, but it’s not to say that we don’t want people to ride in our car. We are a nation of laws and we are a hospitable nation, and we need to be a nation that includes immigrants but we need to have a plan and we need to enforce that plan."
He firmly believes and is running on a platform that supports responsibly spending money.
"I wasn’t successful in my business by spending more than I take in and that’s exactly what Congress does these days," Lindstrom said. "They are spending trillions of dollars more than they take in every single year and I think that’s obscene. I think it’s irresponsible and it’s not sustainable and it’s not something that I want to pass down to my children and my children’s children."
If elected as U.S. senator, Lindstrom said he will push for term limits and pay for performance — a concept he said he feels Kansans support, but not elected officials.
"If we have a billion dollar deficit, then every elected official in Washington, D.C., their annual salary would be docked by $100, which doesn’t seem like a lot of money but after the last year’s budget in 2018 — a $1 trillion deficit — that would have meant a $100,000 dock in pay," Lindstrom said. "Do you think that would get the attention of elected officials if they took $100,000 out of their pay because they are voting on a budget that hurts every American in this country?
Lindstrom has hopes his issues and values resonate with the people of Kansas as the state is less than a month from the primaries.
"I understand this is a team sport and we have two U.S. senators but we have millions of people in the state of Kansas and we need their help and I need their help," he said.