Former Shawnee Mission North ROTC member, Iraq vet Joe McConnell announces run for Yoder’s seat in congress

Joe McConnell with his wife Valerie and
Joe McConnell with his wife Valerie and daughter Madeline.

A former member of the Shawnee Mission North Junior ROTC who went on to serve in Iraq before embarking on a career in the tech industry has announced he will seek the Kansas District 3 seat in the U.S. Congress in 2018.

Joe McConnell, a 35-year-old Overland Park native, filed on Tuesday to run as a Democrat for the seat that’s been occupied by Kevin Yoder since 2011. Jay Sidie, the Mission Woods Democrat who ran against Yoder last year, has made overtures suggesting he may mount a new campaign for the seat as well.

McConnell said he has been frustrated by the lack of accountability in Washington.

“I believe that the government should always work for the people and be for the people,” said McConnell. “I have always been someone who wants to serve others and I always ask ‘How I can best serve other people?’”

McConnell received an ROTC scholarship to attend Princeton University, where he earned an engineering degree. He then spent eight years in the U.S. Army with the 1st and 3rd Infantries. After retiring from the Army, he earned an MBA from Stanford. Most recently, he has been an executive with the business social networking company LinkedIn. He recently moved back to Kansas from California with his wife Valerie, an attorney who holds a law degree from Stanford, and daughter Madeline. The family currently resides in Leawood.

McConnell has been a vocal opponent of efforts to water down the Affordable Care Act.

“We should not move back to the world in which people are tossed out into the cold because they had cancer, a kidney problem, were born with a birth defect, or had a c-section,” McConnell wrote in a public post on his personal Facebook page recently. “We should not move back to the world in which millions were bankrupt; their only sin being that they or a member of their family got sick.”

Intern Alicia Allison contributed to this report.