Candidates discuss issues at forum
The rough economy was at the forefront of talks at Thursday’s meet the candidates event that First State Bank and Trust and Tonganoxie VFW Post 9271 sponsored at the VFW Post Home.
Several candidates spoke at the event: Tom Little, Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, as well as Thomas Koch and Cheryl Hudspeth in the Democratic race; and Chris Steineger in the Democratic race for secretary of state.
Though some other candidates couldn’t attend in person, some area residents and a staffer spoke on their behalf, some in impromptu fashion.
Joshua Lewis, who works for Lynn Jenkins’ campaign, spoke for the Republican incumbent in the 2nd Congressional District. TJ Cahill of Lansing spoke on behalf of Jenkins’ challenger in the primary, Dennis Pyle, while Mike Stieben of rural Tonganoxie spoke in support of David Powell, Republican challenger in the state insurance commissioner race. John Fales, McLouth, took the podium to speak in favor of Kris Kobach, Republican candidate for Kansas secretary of state. Linda Scheer, retired Leavenworth County clerk, spoke in favor of Kobach’s opponent, Elizabeth Ensley. Dennis Bixby of Tonganoxie spoke in support of Derek Schmidt, Republican candidate for attorney general.
Each candidate or supporter was given a few minutes to speak and then candidates fielded questions from the audience, which totaled about 50 people.
Koch and Hudspeth spoke about the hurting economy and whether to allow tax cuts for wealthiest Americans.
Hudspeth said instead of extending the tax cuts, money should go toward extending unemployment benefits.
“For every dollar you invest in a tax cut you’re going to get back your dollar plus two cents,” Hudspeth said. “For every dollar you put in the pocket of someone waiting for a job to be opened you get back the dollar plus 63 cents. Ask yourself which is better.”
She said the gridlock in the U.S. Congress needed to stop and that Jenkins has voted no several times in Congress. She said she’s heard from military families who call her office and are told she’s to busy to help them. Hudspeth said it took her five minutes to look at the issue and figure out a solution.
Lewis then spoke on Jenkins’ behalf and said Jenkins has voted no often, “every time there’s bad legislation, she votes ‘no,’” Lewis said. He also noted she worked on a stimulus plan that would have generated better results and was a better plan, according to President Obama’s own economic advisers, Lewis noted. Jenkins has received endorsements from Kansas colleagues in Washington, D.C., as well as several state representatives and the American Conservative Union.
Cahill, speaking for Pyle, questioned Jenkins’ spending of $422,000 in her first year in office on taxpayer-funded junk mail. He said that according to a Wichita Eagle story, eight members of the U.S. House spent more than her and she was second in spending among 54 house members.
For the secretary of state race, Steineger gave a little background about himself and the office. A Democrat from Wyandotte County who currently serves in the state senate, Steineger said the secretary of state oversees local election officers in all of the Kansas counties and oversees various businesses registrations.
“It’s more about being a good manager, not about being a Republican or Democrat,” Steineger said. “The person should be a good manager be beyond partisanship… almost like running a product.”
Scheer, who was county clerk for 19 years, said when she found out that Ensley was running for secretary of state, she planned to call Ensley about working on her campaign. Before she had the chance to do so, Ensley called Scheer asking her to be Leavenworth County chair for her campaign. Ensley previously worked in the secretary of state’s office and has worked as election commissioner for Shawnee County since 1992. She has endorsements from former secretaries of state Bill Graves and Jack Brier have endorsed her.
Scheer said she’s provided evidence of 12 people who were involved in election fraud and plans to push for voters provide photo identification when they vote.
Fales, meanwhile, spoke about Kobach being a strong conservative and his works regarding immigration law in Arizona.
For a sample ballot for Democratic voters casting ballots at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tonganoxie, go here.
For a sample ballot for Republican voters casting ballots at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tonganoxie, go here.