KANSAS Born, Kansas Raised

A fourth-generation Kansan, the son of a labor lawyer/Air Force veteran father and a public school teacher mother, Matthew Calcara is a progressive Democratic candidate for Kansas House District 30 in 2018. Now 37, Matthew was born in 1981 at KU Medical Center.

Candidate Matthew Calcara & cousins in wedding outfits sit atop a small tractor
Matthew Calcara and his cousins pose at Cousin Megan’s wedding – Great Bend, KS

Growing up in Johnson County, Matthew attended Shawnee Mission public schools, eventually graduating near the top of his class from Shawnee Mission East, and earning an academic scholarship to the University of Southern California.


After graduating from USC in 3 years, Matthew would enjoy growing professional success, first as a journalist for CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg, and then as Peter’s New Media Manager, building Greenberg’s social media and digital operations from the ground up.

After consulting stints at Guthy|Renker, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Online (where he was a producer for Disneyland.com), Capital Group and Disney (again), Matthew felt satisfied professionally. But he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing.

He decided there was something more important than professional success that California could never give him: proximity to his family, his roots, and the place he’d always called “home.”

BeCOMING A Candidate

Matthew and Dad standing in front of U-Haul
Matthew and his Dad stand in front of the U-Haul they drove halfway across the country.

When his latest Disney contract ended, Matthew packed up a U-Haul and drove with his Dad back across the country to Kansas.

Seeking to make a difference in Kansas just as he’d done even while living in California (like getting Wichita’s Dan Manning included as part of the Grassroots 15), Matthew was elected to the board of the Kansas City Metro chapter of Equality Kansas, the state’s largest LGBT rights organization. He is also precinct committeeman (Olathe 4-14) for the Johnson County Democratic Party.

He gives back as a volunteer with the Kansas Voter Registration Project, a non-partisan organization that helps people in Kansas (and Missouri) register to vote. He’s used his digital skills to build websites for a number of local organizations like Kansas Equality PAC.

Fun fact: If elected, Matthew would be the first openly-LGBTQ state representative in the history of Kansas.

After seeing his state representative consistently ignore, and even mock, the wishes of constituents, Matthew signed up as a potential candidate with RunForSomething.net, and was selected for candidate training by the Victory Institute. In May 2017, he officially declared his candidacy for Kansas House District 30 (Olathe & Lenexa – 87th to 127th, between Pflumm & Renner). Now an official partner of the DLCC, RunForSomething endorsed Matthew as part of its first class of 65 endorsed candidates from 17 states around the country.

More recently, Matthew was endorsed by Our Revolution: Kansas City, the civic organization that grew out of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. See all of Matthew’s endorsements here.

You can learn more about his stances on the issues that are important to the people of the 30th District.

Want to get involved in making a difference in your community, whether for Matthew’s campaign, or for a cause that’s important to you? We will show you how!