Margie was born in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1957 with public service in her blood. Margie’s grandfather's grandfather General James Craig served in Congress from 1857 to 1861. Her mother, Mary Garth Grace, was a tireless volunteer in her hometown of St. Joseph. One of Margie’s earliest memories as a child is going door-to-door, campaigning with her Grandfather Garth on behalf of local candidates.
Carrying on the family tradition of community service through her work, Margie is a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a former member of the Kiwanis Service Club, and previous secretary of the Board of Trustees for the Douglas County Library, among many other community leadership roles.
Margie received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri in 1980. After graduating from college, Margie worked in United States Senator Bob Dole’s office in Topeka, Kansas as a constituent services aide. From Senator Dole, Margie learned the importance of civil discourse, compromise, engaging and listening to constituents.
In 1985, Margie earned her law degree from the University of Kansas. Since then, Margie has maintained a law office in Douglas County and been a member of the American Bar Association and the Kansas Bar Association. She currently owns her own practice, Margie Wakefield Law Office, P.A., where she focuses on family law. Margie’s success as an attorney has been built upon her honesty and her ability to negotiate deals between opposing parties.
An active member of the Democratic Party, Margie has served as a precinct committeewoman, chair of the statewide Protect the Vote project, and as a delegate to the national convention. She is immediate past chair of the Douglas County Democratic Party and the Second Congressional District Caucus. In these roles, she regularly traveled throughout the state listening to Kansans concerns about the direction the state and nation are both headed.
Margie lives in Lawrence and has two grown sons, Jon and James.
What I Believe
I believe that elected officials have a responsibility to work across party lines to find practical and principled solutions for all. That's why I'm running for Congress. It's counterproductive to view public policy as a black and white, winner take all, political game. I understand that people are truly served when common values replace polarized positions.
People want civility in our national discourse, and public officials to shed partisan bitterness and work together. The current squabbling in Washington serves political purposes but not the common good. We are a country of big ideas, founded by people willing to take big risks, people who crossed an ocean and reached for the stars. We can find a way to work together.
I have seen what collaboration looks like as a young staffer in Senator Bob Dole's office. Together Senator Dole and Senator George McGovern of South Dakota set aside their political differences to address hunger in America in the Food Stamp Act of 1977. Senators Dole and McGovern worked tirelessly to support farmers and make sure that no American went to bed hungry. They found a way to work together, and we can too by building relationships one person at a time.
Education continues to be the key to economic growth, stability and leadership for the United States. Our schools must reflect the needs of a changing world so we can graduate a highly trained workforce. Our educational system must have highly qualified teachers, encouraged to be creative in a learning environment that supports accountability but does not "teach to the test". We must focus on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at every level of instruction.
We must continue to fund (and in some cases restore funding) to enable our universities' research projects. Historically, this is the base upon which America has led the world in innovation and technology.
Ensuring that higher education is affordable is crucial. Tuition and student loan rates must be kept in check so that anybody who wants to attend college will not be left out because of their parents' income or for fear of going broke.
America is a country with divergent needs, but it is my belief that most Americans share the core values of fairness, opportunity through education, and individual responsibility. Only through a well-educated and well-trained workforce are we able to compete on an international level.
The key to economic health and stability is an educated citizenry. I will support our public institutions of higher education as well as technical colleges and vocational instruction schools. It is through education that big ideas are nurtured and emerge as tools for commerce and job creation. Good jobs come from good ideas.
The new health care law is the first step in what will likely be an ongoing process to address health care in America. I support the advances made for us in this new law such as eliminating preexisting conditions, allowing dependents to stay on their parents' health care coverage until age 26, and a focus on early detection and preventative services, which will not only make us healthier but also lower health care costs. However, as with any new and major piece of legislation, there will be unintended consequences or things that don't work. Congress must identify issues and fix them instead of saying no to everything and trying to repeal a law that was upheld by the Supreme Court.
We need to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit that built our country, businesses that create jobs here at home. In order to encourage small businesses we need to provide incentives, and that requires a fair tax system that rewards small businesses, not large corporations. We need to strengthen and expand our business incubators, which is a long-term approach to building a better and stronger economy, with good paying jobs. Finally, we must work to expand the policy of minimum wage to a livable wage.
Social Security, Medicare
Having Medicare negotiate presciption drug costs is one idea that may help significantly reduce costs. Also, any efforts to privatize Social Security are unacceptable. Generations of Americans have paid into this program and we must honor that commitment and keep the trust fund stable. We must stop using the trust fund for other purposes. Keeping the fund healthy may require changes; however, I do not support raising the retirement age for those who have already paid into the system. Other proposals to turn Medicare into a voucher program, which would not guarantee quality care for our seniors, and could force seniors to pay thousands more every year for lifesaving medicines and treatments, must be thwarted.
Stewardship of the Land and Water
Kansas is second nationally for wind energy potential and fifth for solar energy potential (1). Investing in clean and renewable energy serves several purposes. We protect the environment, create short-term and long-term jobs, and provide a more stable energy source, becoming less dependent on foreign oil.
We need to harvest our wind and solar power so future generations will enjoy clean air and water.