Senator Jerry Moran has two resolutions for the new year – first, avoid desserts and second, do his part to end the rancor in Washington, D.C.
He addressed both at the Great Bend Noon Lions Club meeting Tuesday at the Highland Hotel and Convention Center. The Kansas Republican, who was born in Great Bend but raised in Plainville, is back in the state for the winter recess and opted to make his first stop of 2012 in his hometown.
“It’s embarrassing to be involved in what is happening in Washington,” he said. “This country faces tremendous challenges that can’t wait until the (November congressional and presidential) elections.”
It’s discouraging, he said, that neither Congress nor the president have the will to do what needs to be done. But, it is not solely a partisan problem. “The politics of the past 50 years have been a detriment.”
Harking back to a familiar theme of the need for more common sense in the nation’s capital, Moran said he has basic rural Kansas prospective. “My intent in politics was never these big-picture issues we face today. I just believe in preserving life in rural America.”
But, today, the two are inextricably intertwined – from agriculture to education to health care to access to technology.
Farmers and ranchers, business owners, hospitals, school and everyone else can’t be hindered by government. “It’s easy to spend someone else’s money,” he said of the use of tax dollars.
“This country is basically broke,” he said, adding the government barrows 42 cents out of every dollar it spends. “We’ve got to turn this spending pattern around.”
He said he supports the Keystone Pipeline project (which stretches from Canada to Texas through Kansas) and other ideas that foster energy independence, limited implementation of new regulations that could hamper energy production and farming and judicious cuts in defense spending.
“We can’t be the policeman for the world. We’re stretched to thin.” Any federal department and agency have waste and abuse that can be eliminated, he said.
He served for eight years (1989–1996) in the Kansas Senate and was elected to Congress in 1996. Although no stranger to Washington, this marks Moran’s freshman term as a senator.
Before running for the Senate, he said he though about getting out of politics. “But, then I saw my daughter walk across the graduation stage,” he said. He decided he still had to do what he could to make sure she and other young people had a shot at “the American dream.”
Our greatest responsibility as citizens, he said, is to pass on this country to our children and grandchildren in better shape than we found it.
“With the new year, we have the opportunity to turn over a new leaf,” he said. “We need to find better solutions.”
He declined to predict how the upcoming election would go. He did say people are frustrated. “Business as usual is unacceptable.”
He compared politics in Washington to a game with the Democrats and Republicans vying to score points so they can get re-elected instead of serving their constituents.
Moran attended Fort Hays State University, and the University of Kansas at Lawrence, where he completed degrees in economics and law. After an early career as a banker, Moran established a law practice in Hays and returned to FHSU as an adjunct political science professor.