With stops in Goodland, Garden City and Lakin, former Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive end Dave Lindstrom of Overland Park took to western Kansas to announce his bid for Pat Roberts’ U.S. Senate seat Thursday, in part, he said, to show his dedication to rural communities.

“That is the point of being in western Kansas today,” Lindstrom said after announcing his candidacy to a handful of locals at Samy’s Spirits and Steakhouse. “I understand that it’s been over 40 years for a U.S. senator to represent the state of Kansas from the northeast part of the state. I understand that. And I understand there’s a reason for that, too. And I think that reason is people here want someone to represent them. And that’s why I’m here.”

Since playing for the Chiefs from 1978 to 1986, Lindstrom, a Republican, has spent years in local government in Johnson County. He served for 10 years on the Johnson County Commission and seven years on the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees. In 2002, he joined former Kansas State Treasurer Tim Shallenburger’s ultimately unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign, running as lieutenant governor.

When Roberts announced his upcoming retirement, the same calls from community leaders that directed Lindstrom to those opportunities directed him to the Senate, he said.

“People started to encourage me like they had for lieutenant governor, like they had for Johnson County Commission, like they had for the board of trustees. So, I have been for the past two and a half months exploring the feasibility for my candidacy,” Lindstrom said.

“We’re going to jump in with both feet,” he said.

As a candidate, Lindstrom said, he would prioritize border security and a “comprehensive immigration program that allows people to work in this country legally.” He said he is opposed to public spending that has led to an “unsustainable” deficit, and his website notes that he will support the military and is in favor of anti-abortion measures.

As his website also says, he plans to protect “conservative Kansas values.”

“Republican values are being fiscally responsible and not spending more than what we have, first of all,” Lindstrom said. “Second of all ... is protecting the vulnerable and at-risk populations. Caring for others and common decency to each other. Those are Kansas values to me.”

Lindstrom’s website emphasizes the “top priority” of keeping a Republican in Roberts’ seat who will support the agenda of a president whose popularity among Kansas voters “is one of the highest in the nation,” the website states. As of May, President Trump had about a 48% approval rating in the state, on par or below that of many red states, according to Morning Consult.

“I do believe that our country is under attack right now, philosophically. There are people and organizations and candidates and elected officials in Washington, D.C., that are talking about things that I never thought in my lifetime they would talk about. Like socialism for this country. I think that’s an attack,” Lindstrom said.

Lindstrom said his background would serve him well in the Senate. The collaborative nature of football, “one of the best team sports out there,” he said, taught him how to “work with people for a common goal.” His experience formerly owning and operating several Burger King restaurants in northeast Kansas, which often saw a high turnover rate, has helped him learn firsthand how to create jobs, he said. He said his experience in local government could help him get things done in a “very combative and very segmented” Washington.

“There are a lot of silos,” Lindstrom said of the U.S. political environment. “There are a lot of people that have their camps and they’re not necessarily talking to each other — they’re talking at each other and they’re not listening. Because if you don’t agree with my position then there’s something wrong with you. And I have proven in my political career that I can get along with people and that I can get some things done ... We can just agree to disagree, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t work together to try and fix the next problem.”

Lindstrom said he has spoken to Kansan agriculture workers about their position on the Trump administration’s tariffs policy. They all say that it has affected them for the worse, he said, but it is a sacrifice they’re willing to make for fairer foreign trade deals down the road.

Lindstrom stands by Trump, he said. But, he said he would speak out against any policies hurting or adversely affecting Kansans.

“I represent the state of Kansas. I represent the state of Kansas and it would be my job to go to Kansas and do that. Make sure Kansans are getting a return on our tax dollars. That’s what I believe the job of a U.S. senator is,” Lindstrom said. “If I feel strongly about it with all of the information, absolutely. I’m going to stand up for Kansans.”


Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.