Kirkland: Outsider perspective, track record of business success are badly needed in Congress

Club One Casino owner Kyle Kirkland has a long history of turning around enterprises in business. Now, he’s vying for one of the most coveted seats in Congress.

Fresno businessman Kyle Kirkland is one of the Republicans running for the 20th Congressional District to succeed Speaker Emeritus Kevin McCarthy.

Kirkland spoke with The Sun for a new political candidate podcast series, The Stump, airing on Sunrise FM


Kirkland’s background: Kirkland grew up on the east coast and came out to California in the 1980s to attend graduate school at Stanford. 

  • After starting a finance firm, he bought a small musical instrument manufacturer out of bankruptcy and later acquired Steinway Musical Instruments. He served as the chairman of Steinway for 17 years, the longest-serving leader in the company’s history. 
  • Kirkland purchased Club One Casino in 2008 and has been in the Central Valley ever since. 
  • Along with running his business, Kirkland has been heavily involved in local animal welfare. He operates his own animal rescue, the Kirkland Foundation, and is the chairman of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo Corporation. 
  • Kirkland is also the president of the California Gaming Association, which often takes him to meetings in Sacramento. 

What they’re saying: “I have always had my eye on politics, and I thought this was a very interesting opportunity for a non-career politician, or non-traditional politician, to get in the race and actually have an impact,” Kirkland said. 

  • “When the opportunity availed itself I jumped on it. I’m really excited about it, because I think what I can bring to the folks of the 20th District is a fresh set of thinking and an action-oriented set of thinking to complex problems. And I think that’s something we miss in Washington.” 
  • Kirkland spoke to The Sun about a variety of issues facing the 20th District and the nation, including water, agriculture, border security and the economy. 
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