By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
Like many of the candidates running to fill the seat being vacated by First District Congressman Jerry Moran, Jim Barnett believes government should have a limited role in America.
The now state senator, and Emporia doctor, feels trust needs to be restored in the government, and that begins with ridding Congress of career politicians.
“We need to elect people with some integrity and honesty to begin with,” he said. “I feel that the American people are looking for conservative leaders who can stick to their principles and yet find consensus so that we can actually solve our problems.”
Barnett was in Liberal Wednesday as part of a campaign tour, and he said people across the country are looking for elected officials who can find answers and solutions.
“That’s what I’ve focused on in Topeka,” he said. “When I ran for governor against then Governor Kathleen Sebelius four years ago, I proposed a budget that balanced over four years, provided funding for schools when the money would have been there.”
Barnett said that proposal would give a tax cut to middle income families and a 10 percent investment tax credit for businesses.
“We would have had money in the bank and money for our highway programs,” he said. “That’s the kind of leadership we need in America.”
Polls across the country have showed a decreasing trust in government, and Barnett believes restoring that trust starts with term limits for elected officials.
“I support term limits,” he said. “I have self-imposed term limits. I served eight years on the school board. I’m in my third and last term in the state senate. Whether or not an amendment or law passes for term limits, I will self-impose term limits in the United States Congress as well.”
Kansas recently became the 38th state to pass a state shield law for reporters. With 39 votes from the state senate for the law, Barnett was the lone vote against, and he said his decision came following researching and studying the law’s history.
“I believe that the law is unconstitutional,” he said. “The United States Supreme Court has ruled that there should be no protective group specific to journalists. The United States Constitution protects us only against self-incrimination. There’s a lack of clarity, in my opinion, or definition of online journalists. I believe what ultimately will happen is the courts will decide that.”
Barnett said the shield law, which had been debated in the state legislature for years, provides a protective class for journalists, something he believes the Constitution does not furnish.
One thing Barnett has learned in his medical practice is the importance of listening, and he feels the answers to America’s problems are in the hearts and minds of its citizens.
“We need to elect public officials who will listen to the people of America,” he said. “I’m hearing a great deal about jobs and the economy.”
Barnett believes government spending needs to be reduced in order to lower taxes to get the nation’s economy back on track.
“Regulations are a major concern,” he said. “In the last nine months, we’ve seen a marked increase in the regulatory environment from government.”
Barnett said cap and trade is a major example of a wrong policy headed to the people, and it needs to be derailed.
“Small businesses struggle with taxes and regulations, and I believe small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” he said. “I feel that elected officials need to control spending and government needs to live within its means just like we do at home and in our own businesses.”
As a doctor, the nation’s health care problem is close to Barnett’s heart, and he is asking people to log onto his Web site, www.barnettforcongress.com, where they can click on a button to help repeal recently passed health care legislation approved by the Obama administration.
“That’s what needs to happen to Obama care,” he said. “We need common sense health care reform that addresses the issue of cost. Tort reform should be part of any common sense health care reform. It is sorely lacking in Obama care.”