Tony Whisenant, far left, Jack and Georgetta Taylor, Jack Jacob, Kansas 125th Representative District candidate Shannon Francis and Jerry Harding are among the crowd listening to U.S. Senator Pat Roberts Friday at the Depot. Roberts will be facing challenger Dr. Milton Wolf in the Aug. 5 primary. L&T photo/Robert Pierce
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
The incumbent in the Kansas U.S. Senate race was in town Friday at Liberal’s Rock Island Depot, a visit that comes just two days after his challenger came to Southwest Kansas for a campaign stop before the Aug. 5 primary.
After opening remarks from local Kansas Representative Reid Petty, Senator Pat Roberts began talking about some of his concerns about what needs to happen to get America back on its feet.
Roberts said he believes there is a feel among Kansans that the America of the past may be lost and may not be there for future generations.
“I think that’s the overriding issue,” he said. “I think we ought to stop and think a minute about the president. The president is the least experienced president in our lifetimes, and I think it shows. I think that he is so blind to his agenda trying to push the country into socialism under the banner of social justice that he has either forgotten about or doesn’t care about the U.S. Constitution, especially the First Amendment with what he has been doing to certain groups with the Internal Revenue Service.”
Roberts said President Obama, though, still has his agenda, and likewise, he is ignoring the U.S. Constitution, particularly when it comes to spending and legislation that affects everyone every day. The senator also said those items need to first begin in the halls of Congress before they get to the president.
“You can’t govern as he’s trying to govern by executive order,” he said. “Give me a phone and a pen. If I don’t like the Congress, I’m not going to work with them.”
Roberts said Obama’s intent is to redistribute income to certain people under the banner of social justice.
The senator then addressed issues with the nation’s military, noting that many of the people who have served in combat recently are now being kicked out of service.
“They come back to base, and somebody gives them a pink slip?” he said. “That’s incredible. Nobody’s ever done that before. We’re hauling out our military. Our enemies do not fear us. Our allies don’t trust us. I just don’t think we would’ve ever seen a day that this would be the case. That is very, very dangerous when you lead from behind. You leave a void, and when there’s a void, bad people come in. Somehow, we’ve elevated Vladimir Putin out of the world stage again.”
Roberts also addressed the challenges facing Southwest Kansas, namely transportation, housing, education and farming. He talked about some of the recent regulation coming down the pike from the Environmental Protection Agency, which he said affects the area in a negative way.
Roberts said there is a simple solution to changing that and other problems facing not only Kansans but Americans in general.
“Elect a Republican Senate, kick Harry Reid out of his leader position, and pass appropriation bills whereby we can take their money away,” he said. “I can assure you that when we take their money away, that gets their attention. You restore the constitutional rights and obligations and responsibilities of the Congress of the United States. That hasn’t happen the past five years.”
Roberts said with Reid serving as Senate majority leader and Democrats in control of that branch of Congress, even the rules of changing rules have been broken.
“You don’t get a budget,” he said. “You don’t do appropriation bills. All of a sudden, you find at the end of the day, you’ve really got a problem. You have a continuing resolution on a bill, and you don’t have any idea what’s in the budget. That’s how we’ve governed the last four or five years with Harry Reid at the helm. It’s time for him to go. It’s time for that kind of situation to change.”
Roberts, who serves as chairman of the Senate’s Agricultural Committee, said one thing that needs to be seriously looked at is the U.S. Department of Agriculture, primarily the fact that 83 percent of that department’s budget goes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps.
“I would like a table full of people from western Kansas testifying, and then I want that agency to come up and say how much money you’re spending, how many people you have on board, and we’re going to know by that time what kind of reform we need in that particular agency,” he said. “Everybody within the Department of Agriculture is going to have to know that the Department of Agriculture will get back to representing production agriculture and the people who feed this country. We’ll get it done. It may take me a year, but I’m going to have a lot of fun doing it.”
Roberts if elected promised to continue fighting for western Kansas in other areas as well.
“I will continue to fight for our constitutional rights and responsibilities and continue the fight to restore our freedoms in this country,” he said.