The Outsider

Democrat Nancy Boyda fights Jim Ryun, the odds, and sometimes her own party

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Nancy Boyda is running as a Democrat to represent Lawrence (and the rest of Kansas' 2nd Congressional District) in the U.S. House of Representatives. This is her second race against Republican incumbent Jim Ryun. Boyda sat down with last week while in town speaking to Lawrence area students. What are some of the challenges you face running as a grass-roots Democrat in Kansas?

Nancy Boyda: Actually, there haven't been that many challenges. It's gone a lot easier than trying to let Washington, D.C., tell me what to do, so this campaign has been much more enjoyable. People are ready for it.

Fundraising is always a challenge, but (even) fundraising has gone okay. When you're doing it as grass-roots, you don't need the big money and that's just the whole point of this thing.

You've eschewed getting money from D.C. Democrats:

:I haven't been to Washington and I'm not gonna get on a plane and do the fundraising thing and go do the Washington game.

Any support from Kansas Democrats?

They've been good. They're happy to have just an exciting campaign, something that's different and really Kansas-based. [Gov. Sebelius] did a fundraiser for me last Tuesday. Good event. Had a couple hundred people there:

Why do you think you have a better shot at unseating Jim Ryun this time around?

Everything has changed:people are in a vastly different frame of mind.

The whole:"I'm gonna stand up for family values" is ringing very hollow in people's ears right now. There's a lot of disappointment.

The [other] thing that's different is the campaign, and I think that makes a big difference, the fact that we're running a non-traditional, non-Washington campaign. The voters are not stupid.


Nancy Boyda

What do your polls show?

It's very, very neck and neck. The latest poll has us at 40% and he's at 42.6%, with a margin of error of 3.9%. So we're right there.

For four and a half weeks, [Ryun] has been pounding on me with negative, negative, negative campaigning:and he hasn't moved his numbers. So hallelujah is all I can say.

Do you think that the Mark Foley scandal has had an impact on your race?

I think it does have an impact.

:Ryun's had, what? A week and a half going on two weeks? And he hasn't said a word about it.

You know, I can tell you that if I had been in Congress:anybody who knows me knows that all hell would have broken loose if I had gotten wind of anything like that. You don't pussy-foot around anything like that. You just get it done

:It's just another, "What's going on in Washington?" It's part of the throw-the-bums-out mentality.

You helped organize Iraq war protests before we invaded. Do you feel vindicated now that a majority of Americans view the war as a mistake?

When Steve (my husband) and I decided to speak out, and it was the first time I've even done anything like that, I could not physically be silent. I thought that what we were doing would end up very much the way it is today:

I need hope. Things are a mess. This James Baker Iraq Study group:I'm very glad that James Baker is open about what's going on. It's a bipartisan group of people who are doing everything they can to get above the politics.

The whole thing with Iraq right now is at a point where we have to find solutions. It just makes me furious to have it come down to just "Cut and run" or "Stay the course," you know? We don't have a democracy if we give the American voter [those] two options. It's just wrong.

What should be done about North Korea?

You know, the whole thing is about power, and I just disagree with George Bush 100%. Strong leaders will negotiate with their enemies. They'll talk to their enemies. It's only the weak-I won't even call George Bush a leader at this point-only weak people won't talk to their enemies. :It's destabilized everything.

What would your legislative priorities be if elected?

I have three priorities. One is to get the word out and to pound the message home that we have to break the tie between money and elections, and money and legislation:I don't think we can get to solutions as long as that's the problem.

The second and third priorities are healthcare and the environment.

Fred Phelps-crazy or stupid or...?

I think they're dangerous:Internationally, Kansas, unfortunately, is known for evolution and Fred Phelps. Don't think that doesn't have an impact when we're trying to bring high tech businesses and bio-sciences here. It does hurt our image. He's a nutcase.

Why should Kansans vote for you rather than Jim Ryun?

I think Jim started off with the right idea:ten years ago. He's never had the courage to ask questions and has basically done what he's been told to do, with few exceptions. Jim Ryun is not only voting wrong, he's not in there working.

I am a worker and a problem solver. I don't have a passive bone in my body, and we'll sit and say "What are we gonna do to provide for a strong middle class, whether you're in rural America, or suburbia, or New York City?" That's what's lacking right now. Kansas is just missing that leadership


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