Transportation, health the focus for Kalp
Democratic candidate running to make change
Lisa Kalp, Democratic candidate in the State House Special Election on Nov. 5, had to go no further than her own home for a reason to run for the position left open by former State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, who was appointed State Treasurer.
Living in the area since February 2005, Kalp, 55, of Butterfield, spends most of her time working on her farm and with her two special needs children, ages 23 and 24, and it was her children that spurred her to run for office.
“I am constantly telling my kids, don’t just say something, but follow through,” Kalp said. “And, if I think something should change, why don’t I do something about it? Change will not come from me sitting on my posterior.”
This is Kalp’s first bid for public office, but she said she and her family have always been in politics.
“I have an education and state department background, and my father was working in the CIA and was one of the people held hostage in Iran in 1979, where 52 Americans were held for 44 days,” she said. “That was when I was thrown into politics.”
Kalp was 17 at that time, and she continued being involved in politics during the Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter election in 1980.
“I voted for John Anderson, who was the third-party candidate,” she said. “Outside of politics, I do volunteer work for the military and worked in Michigan and Wisconsin. My uncle was a school principal, and my kids were in the education system until they were 21, so I have worked on numerous education projects.”
Kalp has worked on advertising projects in Massachusetts for transportation needs, knocking on doors and getting petitions together while advocating at the Massachusetts State Legislature. She also worked on the campaigns of William Weld, governor of Massachusetts from 1991-1997, as well as with the Kennedys and Anderson.
“I’ve usually been a volunteer behind the scenes [during elections],” she said.
Nonetheless, Kalp has work she wants to get done for people in Barry County.
“We need to get netter transportation in this area to help the economy, and we need to work on medical care,” she said. “Mercy is here [in Cassville], and you can goto Cox in Monett, but to see a specialist, you have to go to Springfield.
“Rural hospitals are being shut down because they are not getting funding. There is federal funding for rural hospitals and doctors, and part of a medical school loan for a doctor will be paid off if the doctor works in a rural area. It’s not fair to people n this area to have to go to Springfield, or even as far as Columbia, if they have a medical issue that requires a specialist.”
Kalp said when it comes to transportation, she would like to see something more than just the OATS bus routes.
“i would like to get people in rural areas more access to assistance for things like rent or electric, because they can’t get into town and people don’t tell them what’s available, like the OACAC [Barry County Neighborhood Center],” she said. “Where I live, if I didn’t drive and wanted to go to town, the OATS bus only comes once a week. Older people are still living in this area and they are landlocked because they can’t get out of their homes. There will also be more business opportunities in the area if more people are coming to town.”
Kalp said one of her best qualities as a candidate is hard work and persistence.
“One thing I learned from my father is to be persistent,” she said. “It only takes one door to be opened for something to happen.”
That persistence will be key for Kalp, who recognizes as a Democrat and a woman, she has a hill to climb in Barry County.
“I am a Democrat, but I think in this are people vote for issues rather than party,” she said. “We all want the same things whether we are Democrats or Republican, and one of those things is better healthcare.”
In her spare time, Kalop enjoys taking care of the goats and wild mustangs living on her farm.
“I do a lot of animal rescue work,” she said. “My 33-year-old mustang has been living here since he destined for the slaughter house. I adopted him when he was 18, and he’s still going strong.”
Kalp said her rescue work and raising her children has given her perspective that can be used well in Jefferson City.
“It has taught me to be more patient and how to work hard to get more,” she said. “It does not help if you lose your temper, because they will lose focus, and all human beings are the same way.
“It’s not me or them, it’s all of us, and there’s give and take on both ends.”
Kalp said no matter the result, she is hoping to drive more voters to the polls in November.
“I’m trying to get the younger people out to vote, no matter who they vote for,” she said. “I would like them to vote for me, but just voting is more important.”