Dr. Roger Marshall had a lot to celebrate this past week.
Thursday was the Great Bend physician’s 37th wedding anniversary and Friday was his wife’s birthday. Tuesday, of course, was the night he won the Republican primary in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in November.
Marshall received 40% of the votes, more than any of the other 10 candidates on the ballot, and won in 80% of the state’s counties – everything west of Holton and Sedan.
“I’m honored,” he said, “by the confidence all across the state by Kansas voters in our leadership.”
The November election is one of national importance, he said. “The general election is a race for the Senate majority and a choice of Kansas values.
“Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have hand-picked a candidate,” Marshall continued, describing the upcoming race between himself and Democrat Barbara Bollier as a race between a liberal socialist party and Kansas values. “Keeping the Senate majority in Republican hands will go through Kansas.”
The Republican party favors appointing conservative, pro-life judges; law and order; secure borders; protecting the sanctity of life; the Second Amendment; maintaining a strong military and keeping our promises to our veterans, he said. If those things are important to voters, “then we need to make sure we keep our Senate majority.”
Meanwhile, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Marshall said the next thing to work on is the second CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) to help the country recover from the effects of the pandemic. Liability protection for employers and schools is a crucial part of that, he said.
“If you’re using some Kansas common sense to protect employees, teachers and students, you shouldn’t be sued for that,” he said. Trial lawyers are urging for the opposite.
The $600 a week unemployment insurance relief (added to state unemployment relief) that was included in the first CARES Act expired July 31 and Marshall does not want to extend it.
“We need to wind that down or end it,” he said. “Nancy Pelosi wants none of that. We’re paying folks $25 an hour not to work. Employers have jobs open and can’t get people to work.” Even good jobs that pay $18 an hour can’t compete with this incentive to stay on unemployment, he added.
Winning the war on COVID-19
President Trump and Vice President Pence deserve much credit for the success the United States is having in battling COVID-19, Marshall said.
“We’ll probably have a vaccine by Thanksgiving for the most vulnerable people.” He also expects point-of-care testing with a 15-minute turnaround to be available soon.
The therapeutic treatments are improving rapidly, he said. At first, 4-5% of Americans who tested positive for COVID-19 died and now the rate is 0.4% for people under 65. “We’ve lowered the mortality rate. We have the best doctors and nurses in the world and the best health care in the world.
“And we have two more anti-viral agents that will probably be approved by the FDA in a week or two,” he said. “One is a shot that protects you for 3 to 6 months. It’s not ready yet but it looks very promising as a bridge to get through this.”
Seek good information
As a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, Marshall warned that Americans should get their COVID-19 information from reliable sources and be skeptical about what is posted on social media. He’s concerned about a “vaccine scare” on that front.
The vaccines developed and made available for COVID-19 in the future will be made in America, he said. “We’re checking the safety of them now."
Another social media myth is that Americans will be forced to take the vaccine. They won't.
“Nobody’s going to make you take the vaccine. This will be a choice between you and your doctor,” he said. Marshall said he’ll probably recommend that his parents, who are in their 80s, get the vaccine. But, “I’m not sure my grandsons need it. I encourage people to ask their own doctor to know what’s best.”
“We’ve been all over the state,” Marshall said. “The Number One concern I hear is ‘When can I have my American Dream back?’” His answer, “We are making great progress. We’re winning the war on this virus.” He said the economy is rebounding as well, and trade agreements will benefit farmers. “In Barton County, very few of us have had to skip a day of work,” he said, mentioning the agricultural sector. “Exports to China are increasing; the world still needs to eat.”
Marshall said there is hope for the future. “Past generations have been through tougher times; we’re going to come out stronger in the end.”