(TNS) — A campaign associate of Independent Greg Orman belittled Democrat Laura Kelly’s experience as a recreational therapist, asking whether she was “certified to work with the monkey bars as well as the teeter totter?”
Scott Poor made several comments on Kelly’s gubernatorial campaign Facebook page on Friday that attacked her past work experience. By Saturday morning, the comments appeared to have been deleted.
Poor has been closely involved in Orman’s run for governor. He serves as one of three directors on Orman for Kansas, Inc., according to business filings. Orman for Kansas’s registered office is the address of Poor’s office in Wichita.
“Have you ever had a real job? Oh … I forgot, you were lobbyist for the playground sector,” Poor wrote in one comment.
Kelly was the director of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association for 19 years and is now a Topeka state senator. The organization advocates for parks and leisure service professionals.
She worked as a recreational therapist prior to that, which involved using recreation to help children with mental illness.
In another comment, Poor said: “KS has 40,000 employees and a $15b budget. How many ‘recreational therapists’ have ever managed such an enterprise? Kansas is at a critical point … and we’re thinking about putting a ‘recreational therapist’ in charge.”
Poor is an attorney, and when someone else commented that perhaps it’s time to give recreational therapists a chance to try because lawyers haven’t worked out, Poor replied: “That’s very fair. But, as a ‘recreational therapist,’ was Laura certified to work with the monkey bars as well as the teeter totter?”
Poor didn’t immediately respond to a call and email Saturday morning.
Poor’s comments on Facebook came underneath a post that shared a new Kelly TV ad that focused on her background and her support for additional funding for education. The comments stood in contrast to the Orman campaign’s overall message, which has been largely positive.
In a statement, Kelly spokeswoman Johanna Warshaw said Poor’s comments were insulting to working Kansans.
“The derogatory and condescending comments posted by Greg Orman’s attorney and advisor are disappointing and embarrassing. Trying to diminish the career of Laura Kelly — a highly respected state senator and ranking member of the budget committee — is outrageous,” Warshaw said in an email.
Asked whether Poor’s comments reflected the position of the campaign, Orman spokesman Sam Edelen said in an email that only Edelen and Orman speak for the campaign.
“We won’t be making any comments about the qualifications of other candidates until the primaries have been decided. At that time, I believe it will be clear that Greg Orman is by far the best qualified candidate to lead the state of Kansas forward with confidence,” Edelen said.
Orman's running mate for lieutenant governor is John Doll, I-Garden City.
Edelen didn’t answer a question about Poor’s role in the campaign.
Although Orman is campaigning, he is not yet on the ballot. His campaign must still submit thousands of signatures to receive a spot. The deadline is early August.