Students query Ryun about issues
U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun brought several messages to Tonganoxie High School.
One of the messages Ryun stressed to THS seniors was the importance of voting.
It's also something he stresses to his own children.
"At our house we have a tradition that when our children have their 18th birthday, we have cake and ice cream first thing in the morning so you can enjoy it all day long, and one of the first things you do is to go and register to vote," the Kansas Republican said.
But there's more to it than getting registered, and later, voting, he said.
"I encourage you not only to vote, but to find out what the issues are," Ryun said.
By their questions, THS students indicated they have been paying attention to national and international issues. In written and spoken questions, students asked Ryun about key topics, including one that could effect young men -- a military draft.
Ryun said he's opposed to a draft.
"There's an interest in the draft in this country that was raised last fall to score political points -- the other side of the aisle raised that question," Ryun said. "We're not going to reinstate the draft -- nobody wants to reinstate the draft because they have an all-volunteer army that's working extremely well."
Congress failed to pass a draft reinstatement bill that was proposed by Rep. Charlie Rangel, Ryun said.
"We forced that to a vote on the House floor," Ryun said. "Charlie Rangel, New York ... voted against his own bill. It was there for political points, not because it was going to become reality."
When a student asked why there is a lack of armor on military vehicles used in combat zones in Iraq, Ryun's answer was quick.
"There's not a lack of armor. What you get from the media and what's actually happening are two different things," Ryun said, adding the military has already increased the armor on Humvees and other combat vehicles.
When asked if he approved of how President Bush has dealt with Iraq, Ryun said he did.
"It's a very real threat out there, and I believe that the United States has done the right thing," Ryun said.
Ryun said the United States is giving the people of Iraq a "greater opportunity for self-government."
Ryun said it's notable that there has been no major attack against the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.
"I think that's very significant," Ryun said. "We've put them on the offense."
And, when students brought up the topic of gay marriage, Ryun said he was against it. He noted that last Thursday the Kansas Senate approved an amendment that would ban same sex marriages.
"For a child to have the best future, it always has been the traditional marriage of one man and one woman and I advocate that approach," Ryun said.
When asked if he were advocating that a child would be better off brought up by no parents than by gay parents, Ryun replied, "I'm going to advocate back in a hypothetical situation that children do best in a traditional marriage. One man. One woman."