Northeast Johnson County conservatives launch new group to get involved in local, state issues

Former Dist. 21 candidate Neil Melton spearheaded the effort to form the new NE Johnson County Conservatives group.
Former Dist. 21 candidate Neil Melton spearheaded the effort to form the new NE Johnson County Conservatives group.

Citing the presence of similar groups everywhere in Johnson County except this area, a group of northeast Johnson County conservatives have formed a new organization they say will be a place to share ideas and lobby for initiatives at both the local and state level.

Neil Melton, the challenger for the Dist. 21 House seat who fell to Rep. Barbara Bollier 41-59 in the 2014 Republican primary, spearheaded the effort and is serving as NE Johnson County Conservative’s first chair. He said that he wanted to create a forum for conservatives to get together and organize without requiring them to drive to south Johnson County or Olathe to be involved in a conservative group.

“We know that this is a more moderate area [than much of Johnson County],” he said. “It’s a purple area. And some parts of it are pretty blue. But the idea is that for conservatives who live here, they can get involved here rather than out in Olathe or somewhere else.”

The group started with a handful of members a few months ago, but has grown to have 15 to 20 attendees at its monthly meetings, which have been held the first Tuesday of the month at the Cedar Roe Library. Melton helped NE Johnson County Conservatives launch a website and Facebook page this week.

John Anderson, a frequent attendee at Prairie Village City Council meetings who is retired after finishing his career working on downtown Kansas City revitalization developments, serves on the new group’s board, and said the group isn’t shy about its conservative ideology.

“We’re not trying to hide it,” Anderson said. “We’re a conservative group that wants to work on conservative issues.”

Melton said the board is working to bring in prominent Republican officials to speak to the group, including Rep. Kevin Yoder and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer. Additionally, they’re forming a Political Action Committee to allow them to raise funds to support candidates in both local and state elections.