BY JIM MISUNAS
WICHITA — Rep. Tim Huelskamp and Great Bend physician Dr. Roger Marshall agree on most topics in the Aug. 2 Republican primary race for the first Congressional District in Kansas.
They both proclaim they are staunch conservatives who oppose ERA overregulation, the Affordable Health Care Act and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. They support pro-life, existing gun regulations and Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The biggest question appears to be whether Huelskamp will regain his spot on the House Agriculture Committee in a debate aired on KWCH-TV Tuesday night. The 30-minute debate was anchored by Michael Schwanke.
Marshall said a member of the Republican Steering Committee told him Huelskamp has already burned political bridges that he won’t be re-appointed to the Ag Committee.
Huelskamp believes his spot on the Ag Committee is forthcoming if he is re-elected.
“The most common issue people talk about is ‘Can we get a voice back on that Ag Committee,’ “ Marshall said. “With the support of Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Livestock Association, we’ll do just that and get back on the House Ag Committee.
“Tim got kicked off the Ag Committee because he put his own political aspirations ahead of the hard-working Kansas farmers that we have. John Boehner gave him a chance to get back on the Ag Committee, but he got voted down.”
Huelskamp said former Speaker of the House John Boehner removed him from the Ag Committee in 2012 as retribution because he didn’t vote for higher taxes and higher borrowing against the federal deficit. He currently serves on the Republican Steering Committee that recommends appointments for committees.
“I told John Boehner that, ‘I don’t work for you.’ He kicked me off the committee for that,” Huelskamp said. “I work on the Steering Committee that makes the decisions. I will be back on the Ag Committee. I bring a wealth of knowledge as a fifth-generation farmer fighting for farmers.”
Huelskamp believes the Affordable Health Care Act will get replaced only if Donald Trump is elected President.
“We need an alternative that protects patients and not bureaucrats,” Huelskamp said. “We need an alternative that helps consumers and not insurance companies.”
Marshall has worked in the medical field during his working career.
“I understand heathcare and can make it better,” Marshall said. “I believe in an incremental approach while we’re getting it (Affordable Healthcare Act) repealed. We can let health insurance be bid across state lines. We can remove the mandates.”
Gun violence authored by perpetrators has garnered special attention in recent times. Neither candidate wants restrictions on guns, but Marshall believes suicide shooters and bombers are creating particular mayhem for authorities. Some have suggested stricter gun regulations.
“Guns are not the problem. The problem is radical Islam. We need to declare war on radical Islam,” said Marshall, an NRA member. “We need to call it like it is and go after them.”
Huelskamp has been endorsed by the NRA and Gun Owners of America.
“The problem is not guns. I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment,” Huelskamp said. “It’s a cultural problem. I’m worried about the future of our culture. We need to strengthen our families and our culture. We have a lack of respect for human life. We need to unify as a country.”
Marshall was asked about a 2008 incident in Barton County where a neighbor claimed a Marshall-operated vehicle led to a 911 call, Marshall said it ended in a $45 traffic infraction.
Huelskamp said Marshall’s original offense ended in a criminal conviction. A subsequent civil case, settled out of court, cost Marshall “thousands and thousands” in a unpublished settlement, according to court documents.
Marshall favors term limits — six years for a representative. Huelskamp is running for his seventh and eighth years in Washington and prefers a longer Congressional term.
Marshall believes he has developed skills as a physician to be an effective leader.
‘The most important clinical skillset that a physician has is to listen and hear patients,” Marshall said. “I’ve been listening to Kansans.”
“The biggest problem in Washington and Topeka is the lack of leadership. Leaders don’t tear down other people and blame other people for their problems. I’ll be an effective conservative leader for Kansas.”
Huelskamp said his endorsements by the Kansans For Life and the NRA illustrate his core beliefs in opposing government growth.
“If you want a proven conservative, you already have one,” he said. “I’ve pushed back against the EPA. I introduced a resolution to impeach the IRS commissioner.”