HUTCHINSON – After trading controversial television commercials, polite conversation and friendly exchanges highlighted the debate between Great Bend’s Dr. Roger Marshall and Congressman Tim Huelskamp, Hutchinson for a near capacity crowd.
The evening started and finished with handshakes between the candidates.
Huelskamp said his biggest accomplishment is helping bring accountability to the Veterans Administration while adhering to his conservative principles.
Marshall believes one of his biggest strengths is his medical background, which would be vital for establishing a new healthcare plan once Obamacare is overturned.
“The next difference is healthcare,” Marshall said. “I have clinical experience of running a hospital and running a private practice. I’ll help repeal and replace healthcare with something that works for everybody.”
Both candidates confirmed their conservative values, which are closely aligned for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and against Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, repeal of Obamacare and pro-life beliefs.
Marshall asked whether voters wanted someone new to represent the First District or whether they wanted a “career politician.” Both candidates endorsed the concept of term limits for the House and Senate. Marshall endorsed three terms for a representative and two terms for the Senate.
“The biggest difference between Tim and myself is I’m a peacemaker. The spiritual talent that God has given me is that of a peacemaker. Since I’ve been 10 years old, I’ve been called Henry Kissinger. I bring people together to solve problems. We need to send new blood that knows how to solve problems rather than just talk about it.
“Tim defines a career politician,” Marshall said. “It’s time for a change, time for a big change.”
Huelskamp emphasized that he works for his voters in the First District, not the Republican Party. He’s been endorsed by several conservative groups.
“We don’t need to worry about electing another conservative. We already have one and he’s in Washington. I will not vote to raise taxes. I looked our Speaker of the House in the eye and told him – Mr. Speaker, with all due respect – I don’t work for you,” he said. “We don’t work for the President. We work for our constituents. You’ve got to fight for a way of life. We need to put the people back in charge.”
Marshall focused on Huelskamp losing a spot on an agricultural committee.
“Kansas needs a voice on the House Ag Committee. We’ve been without that voice for three years. Tim’s chances of getting back on the Ag Committee is next to none,” Marshall said. “I can get on the House Ag Committee. He (Tim) says he can, but that’s a gamble that Kansas is not going to take.”
Huelskamp said he was dismissed from the agricultural committee because he didn’t vote the way House Speaker John Boehner wanted. He’s convinced that he’ll be re-appointed to the agricultural committee.
“I will be back on the House Ag Committee,” Huelsamp said. “I’m on the steering committee that makes those decisions. The reason I’ll be back on the committee is because John Boehner is no longer the speaker. John told me, ‘Congressman Huelskamp, if you don’t vote the way I tell you to vote, then you’ll be kicked off the Ag Committee. We need to change that system.”
Both candidates outlined plans to change the current tax policy, but Huelskamp went as far to revise the system to abolish the IRS.
“We need to get rid of the IRS. The IRS targeted people who disagreed with the President without a doubt,” he said. “The current IRS commissioner should be removed from office. We need to start over. We need a tax system that is not 75,000 pages. We need a flat, fair, simple tax code. We can get there. We need lower taxes.”