Hodge assists father with campaign for state representative

Local students support efforts by canvassing across Newton

Lauren Mitchell

More stories from Lauren Mitchell

Newton attorney and school board member Tim Hodge is receiving special assistance in his campaign for District 72 State Representative from his son, sophomore Jonah Hodge.

As the November general election approaches and Tim campaigns against incumbent Marc Rhoades, Jonah actively supports his father through a number of different actions.

“I am wearing his campaign shirt around and delivering signs to people with him, as well as canvassing. Also, walking around and getting a lot of Democrats and unaffiliated people to vote, hopefully,” Jonah said.

Other high school students have joined Jonah in his efforts to support his father’s campaign. Additionally, Tim agrees that Jonah’s involvement makes it easier to appeal to younger people.

“I think Jonah’s involvement in the campaign affected my participation in a positive way. I probably would have found a way to help out even if he wasn’t involved, but it makes it a lot easier to help out when there are people your age working as well. It also makes for an enjoyable time whenever I help Tim out,” junior Erik Brown said.

Brown currently canvasses for Tim, along with other high school students. Their job is to talk to Newton voters about the campaign.

“I’d love it if kids wanted to come out and help canvass. We’re paying $12 an hour for people to help me canvass all these places. If kids want to come out, that’d be great and I’d love it,” Tim said.

Tim said having his son so active in the campaign is an important step for getting young people involved in the electoral process.

“He likes it and he believes in the same kind of stuff I do. It’s great to see him taking interest in this stuff like school finance and fair taxes and separation of powers, all that good stuff,” Tim said. “It’s good to see him take interest in it and I think that is important, not just for Jonah but for all people your age. You all have to figure that out because otherwise, you’re gonna have these people steal elections time and time again and your voices won’t be heard.”

Through helping his father, Jonah has become aware of all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of a campaign. Tim agrees that it has been a valuable learning experience for his son.

“He knows that it is work, and it’s not just put your name on the ballot and go from there. It’s tough. In the high school, you can just rely on everybody knowing you. In this kind of a thing, you have to get the message out to people who don’t engage,” Tim said.

If elected, Tim’s top priority is to ensure that Kansas’ income tax system and sales tax system are fair for all personal income levels.

“Everybody who gets a W-2 pays income tax. So, an owner of a business won’t pay income tax but his or her assistant will. That’s not right. Instead of fixing that, what my opponent voted for was to increase the sales tax on people. An increase on sales tax for a poor person making $15,000 to $20,000 a year, you increase their sales tax and that hurts them a lot more than someone making $150,000 a year. That effectively raised the poor and the lower middle class’ income tax or tax in general by a huge margin,” Tim said.

Tim feels his experience as a USD 373 school board member will serve to be valuable for the job as a representative.

“When you’re on the school board, you have to work well with others and get things done,” Tim said. “You can’t just say no to everything because you have to pay people, you have to give people benefits, and you have to take care of the student body and all of the activities that go on. You can’t just sit there and say no, we’re spending too much money so we can’t do any of that. It’s definitely a good exercise in preparing for this job.”

Even though Tim is his father, Jonah believes he is the best person to serve as Newton’s representative in Topeka.

“I think he is the best candidate because he is most suited for it. He is a lawyer and he knows his stuff,” Jonah said. “He is fantastic with everything he knows and I think he will kick butt.”