MainStream 2020

This is a guest column by MainStream's new Executive Director, Michael Poppa.

Head and shoulders photo of Michael PoppaI was introduced to the MainStream Coalition in 2014 while attending a state lobby day with Equality Kansas. Soon after, we partnered with them and built a strong alliance of local individuals and advocacy organizations to champion the passage of a nondiscrimination ordinance in the City of Roeland Park – the first in Johnson County to include protections for LGBTQ individuals. It was through that experience I learned the importance of building strong coalitions among diverse stakeholders in order to enact meaningful public policy. Since then I have been a strong supporter of MainStream, its mission and purpose.

In 2015, I filed to run for Roeland Park City Council. And in an election that drove the highest voter turnout in the city to date, I narrowly won my seat by only four votes. Our victory was due to the personal connections and relationships that were forged on  doorsteps in the city. For the last three years of my term, I also worked for the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce as director of member engagement.

During my service to the city and my position at the Chamber I built and maintained strong professional relationships with elected and appointed officials at all levels of government, regardless of party affiliation. Politics can be partisan, but policies and objectives can reach across party lines. It is within that aisle we find common ground and accomplish the most good for all Kansans.

I am excited to join MainStream because this is the same philosophy that underpins everything we do here.

We have an incredibly busy year ahead of us, beginning with the 2020 Kansas Legislative Session, starting Monday the 13th of January. We will work with our legislators, with our advocacy partners, and with you to keep you informed about what is happening in Topeka, and what it means. Expect us to call on you to lend your voice when it is needed.

Kansans vote twice every year, but in 2020, along with primaries in early August and the general election in November, there are Presidential caucuses this year, bond issues and special elections. Your opportunities to use your voice will come fast. We will call on you to not only vote, but to do more than vote, to encourage your friends and family to become informed, active voters, too. We will help you.

This is how we move Kansas forward, working together, helping each other, looking out for our neighbors. You—our members, supporters, and volunteers—are the linchpin in this process, and I am looking forward to working with you.

Do more than vote in 2020.


Michael Poppa
Executive Director, MainStream Coalition

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