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Emanuel Cleaver, Sam Graves deserve to keep representing Missouri in Congress

Fifth District: It is the sixth time Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and Republican challenger Jacob Turk have faced off in a general election.

Cleaver is a former Kansas City mayor and councilman who was elected to Congress in 2004. Turk, a Marine veteran and small-business owner, has not held public office. Cleaver, a former United Methodist minister, is known for his eloquence and urgent push for civility in the halls of the Capitol. Turk has honed a pitch for the need for an advocate in Congress to deal with government programs such as veteran disability claims and remediation for environmental exposures, and for becoming a voice for small businesses that he says are being crushed unnecessarily by government bureaucracies overstepping their mandates.

Turk, with practice, has become a better candidate. Cleaver, facing challenges, has become a better congressman.

Cleaver worked with Republican Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri to co-author and enact the largest comprehensive housing overhaul bill in three decades.

Cleaver worked effectively to secure an estimated $700 million to keep 2,500 jobs at the National Security Campus in south Kansas City. He deserves credit for his work to maintain the National Nuclear Security Administration/Department of Energy Honeywell Federal Manufacturing Facility in this area, when it could have been relocated anywhere in the country.

Cleaver was a leader in gaining $22 million in the budget for law enforcement body cameras. When used, these cameras should benefit both communities and the law enforcement officers who serve them.

Some purists have complained about Cleaver’s unabashed pursuit of pork for the Kansas City area. That is short-sighted criticism. He has been unapologetic about bringing hundreds of millions of dollars home to the 5th District through federal investments in transportation, flood control, Veterans Affairs improvements, job training and domestic violence prevention funds.

Cleaver deserves to continue representing the people in this district.