13th District seat to be decided on Tuesday
ean Pouche, a Republican, and Vic Abundis, a Democrat, are vying for a Missouri House seat after the incumbent, Vic Allred, withdrew, leaving the Platte County Republican Committee to choose Pouche.
The race is among those on the ballot in Platte County at the election set for next Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The 13th district includes the area just west, south, and east of Platte City and includes most of Parkville.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: See related campaign story about late mail pieces here: https://plattecountylandmark.com/2020/10/30/abundis-opposition-flyer-is-despicable/)
The Texas native grew up around politics and even worked in the political arena before becoming a Park Hill High School English teacher 16 years ago. Abundis, a Mexican American, said he sees his political aspirations as an extension of the public service he has offered as a teacher.
He learned early political lessons, including how the parties can work across the aisle, by first watching his mother, Elva Abundis, a Democrat, act as a campaign manager for a Republican district judge.
Other political experiences further reinforced this belief, including when he worked as a congressional staff member for Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, who held office when George W. Bush was president. Abundis and others in the congressman’s office routinely met with Republicans.
“I think I’m a guy who can be not just friends with other Democrats, but with those in both parties,” said Abundis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English in Vermont before becoming a Rockhurst University graduate, where he earned a master’s degree in education. He added that all elected officials, including those in Jefferson City, “have to start working together to get things done.”
If elected, Abundis also plans to draw from other political experiences, including working on the staff of Congressman Joaquin Castro, brother of former presidential candidate Julian Castro. As a constituent affairs officer, he answered questions and responded to problems that the congressman’s constituents faced. The position taught him how to address voter concerns, he said.
Abundis also worked a year-long stint as a paralegal for Legal Aid of Western Missouri, where he served helping settle landlord-tenant issues while representing low income residents.
Abundis, who is single, said he is determined to run to represent constituents, not to fulfill a personal political agenda, with aspirations to win a higher office.
“It’s a vanity project,” he said of some elected officials who may have different motivations and “are so caught up in their egos. They want to see their names on stationery.”
If elected, Abundis said he will not insist people refer to him with the title of “Representative.” He added, “This is not a vanity trip for me” and he plans to “be as transparent” as possible, working with people of other parties to reach a compromise. “Let’s have a conversation and see if we can come to common ground,” he said. He considers himself a moderate Democrat, which he calls “a dying breed.”
Sean Pouche grew up in a political household and learned first-hand from his father, Fred Pouche, as he campaigned and eventually won a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives. The younger Pouche said he helped his father’s campaigns when a teenager by “putting up a lot of signs” and has modeled “how he interacted with people and how they appreciated him making the effort to talk,” he said.
Sean Pouche, a divorced father of two, said he ran four years ago and described it “as a good experience” although he ultimately lost. Pouche, who grew up in southern Platte County, said he knocked on a lot of doors and listened as voters described their wishes for Platte County.
If elected, Pouche said he would work to “trim the excess” from the state budget, using the money to improve infrastructure, especially roads. His job delivering construction equipment in his brother’s business causes him to drive throughout Platte County, where he has noticed many roads in need of repair. He also would use the extra money to improve the educational system, making it more competitive by allowing parents to choose the schools their children attend instead of the current method of children attending neighborhood schools.
He said he would make changes to infrastructure and education not by raising taxes, but by using money saved by making the state budget more efficient.
The Rockhurst High School graduate continued his education in the Merchant Marine Academy, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Marine Transportation. He later earned a U.S. Coast Guard license, which allowed him to serve as an officer aboard a merchant vessel. He was a Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve, was earlier mobilized to serve a year in Iraq and has served as an advisor to senior U.S. Army and Navy commanders. He was promoted to full commander and awarded the Distinguished Meritorious Service Medal for his service in Iraq.
He previously worked as the captain of a casino boat, first in the Kansas City area and finally in Indiana. He joked that he is “a guy from the Midwest who likes the water.” He currently works in the family-owned business, Platte Rental & Supply, which opened in 2000 and has locations in Parkville and Platte City, he said.
The business, which was started by his parents and now is owned by his brother, rents construction, lawn and garden equipment and party and event supplies. His position delivering heavy equipment to homeowners and contractors and working the counter doing customer service has afforded him the opportunity to meet and talk with a lot of Platte Countians, giving him “a pretty good idea of the vibe of people across the county.” He added that the seat calls for a representative “who is not afraid of being a patriot and doing what’s right.” He added, “This is my time, and this is how I can make a difference.”