Last week, Brent Welder, a 1999 Nevada High School graduate living in Bonner Springs, Kan., took the time to weigh in on Nevada’s local election. Welder wrote a letter of support for his brother-in-law, Luke Spence, who ran against Larry Sloan for the Ward 2 Nevada City Council seat. Spence won the seat.
This week, Welder is back to concentrating on his own campaign. The workers’ rights advocate and labor lawyer is taking a run at Congress.
“I’m running for Congress because billionaires and giant corporations have too much control over our government,” said Welder, a lifelong Democrat. “We have a rigged economy caused by a corrupt political system, and it’s past time to fix it.”
Welder believes that people need someone to represent them — not big money and corporations. “That’s why I’m not taking any corporate PAC money. I’ve been fighting for workers and hardworking families my whole life. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and take that fight to D.C.”
Welder, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, where he majored in political science and journalism, and from Saint Louis University School of Law, with a JD, Certificate in Labor Law, is no stranger to politics. His roles with the campaigns of Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Patrick Murphy, the first Iraq veteran elected to the U.S. Congress, have allowed him, he said, “the opportunity to listen to and connect with the people.”
“I have fought for workers and hardworking families my whole life. I’m part of a new generation of Democrats focused on a fair economy and rooting corporate corruption out of government,” Welder said.
Last year, Senator Bernie Sanders nominated Welder to the Democratic National Platform Committee, where Welder wrote and fought for an amendment to ban corporate money from elections. “I urged national party leaders to adopt an agenda focused on representing working families, not giant corporations. The culmination of our work was the most progressive national platform in history,” Welder said.
Welder has also served as a national field director for the Teamsters union. “I organized over a million union members for better wages, benefits and workplace safety.”
As an attorney, Welder has continued supporting workers’ rights as designated legal counsel for a national labor union.
In early 2015, he began leading the grassroots campaign to win Kansas’s third congressional district for Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary.
Being active in politics and others’ campaigns, however, did not mean Welder thought he’d eventually run for office. It isn’t something he ever planned to do, he admits. But last fall, he changed his mind.
“After the elections last fall and with craziness of the Trump Administration, like many Americans, I knew I had to do something. The best way for me to help ensure that Washington represents us, and not big corporations, is to take the fight to Washington,” he said, and that, for him, meant running for Congress.
“I’m running as a Democrat… As a Democrat, I believe it’s time to make sure our party represents the people, and will fight for issues important to us, such as a $15/hour minimum wage, health care for all and trade that’s fair for the American worker. I’ve already been visiting with people throughout the 3rd District of Kansas, because I’m running a people-driven, grassroots campaign that represents the people,” he said. If elected, Welder said the value he will hold most high is “to always try to help others.”
Along for the ride are Welder’s wife Kristie, who grew up in Olathe, Kan., and has also been politically active. Kristie worked as the Latino Outreach Director for the Democratic Party in Kansas’s third congressional district – helping to elect former Democratic Congressman Dennis Moore and Governor Kathleen Sebelius. The Welders have two young daughters.
Here at home, Welder will have family rooting for him, including his mom, Beth Wagner, and stepfather, Mike Wagner, as well as his sister Stephanie Spence, brother-in-law Luke Spence and their three children.
Because he’s not accepting any PAC money, Welder will rely heavily on donations from everyday people. People are invited to give to his campaign at his campaign website: www.BrentWelder.com.