LETTER: Campaign advertising

Jeffrey M. Howards

To the editor:

Recently it was reported to four local municipalities that Kevin Braun, the sitting state senator for the Leavenworth/Lansing area, was using the logos of those municipalities on three of his campaign signs along Kansas 7 Highway, thereby implying endorsement of his campaign by those municipalities. At least one municipality responded by stating that they were not endorsing any candidate and ordered their logo to be covered/removed from the signs. The letters to the municipalities were written professionally and without malice. I know. I wrote them.  When I received a response, I replied, “We had thought this would be the case regarding endorsement of a candidate and simply wanted to ensure a fair and honest campaign by all candidates involved.”

That reply is on file with them. No attack. No malice, just a request for fair play.

How did the Braun campaign and constituents respond? Did Braun issue an apology for what may have been an honest mistake and then simply and professionally drive on with his campaign? No, they responded on Facebook with hate-filled posts containing so many lies they couldn’t be counted. And who did they attack? Jeff Pittman, who had nothing to do with the notifications to the municipalities.

And who took credit for the posts, including a photo of Kevin Braun painting over his illegal logos? A locally based far right group calling themselves the Leavenworth County Conservatives of Kansas. Their multiple attacks were so vile as to concern even this old Marine. And they are representative of Braun supporters who previously attacked me and the Pittman family as being Communists for supporting local nonprofit charities such as the Catholic Charities food bank in Leavenworth.

I support the food bank on a regular basis. We once were economically stressed and counted pennies at the end of the month.  Now I am in a situation to pay forward on behalf of those who helped us. If that makes me a Communist to be scorned, then there are hundreds of other good Leavenworth residents who are also supporting the food bank and hundreds of other needy local residents who must also be Communists for receiving assistance from the food bank. If this is what defines a Communist, then I guess I’ll gladly accept the label and continue working with the food bank.

So in November, it comes down to this. Do you want to elect Jeff Pittman, a man who clearly has a track record of supporting the local community as your new state senator or reelect Kevin Braun, who would rather disparage those who reach out to others and who would rather throw the needy into the gutter and brand them for their social status? When we go high, they go even lower.