By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
In a mid-term election that could swing the balance of power in Washington, Tim Huelskamp is looking to join what may be the largest Republican freshmen class in history.
The Kansas Senator from Fowler won the Republican primary in a field of six candidates and is now in the final 34 days of the general election race where he is facing a Democrat from Salina, Alan Jilka.
“It’s still very humbling to me that a farm boy from Fowler can serve in Washington,” Huelskamp told a crowd that gathered outside Wheatridge Park Care Center Tuesday evening. “What is going on there is not what we’ve expected with our founding principles. I am confident that the people in the First District are ready to put the country back together.”
With a struggling economy and a large number of Americans out of work, plus controversial legislation that has been passed or proposed in the past two years, Huelskamp said there is uncertainty across the district about the future of taxes, health care and economic opportunity.
“I visited with one business owner today that has 85 employees,” Huelskamp said. “His goal next year is to eliminate 15 of them. It’s because of Obamacare and not knowing what the costs are going to be.”
While the economy continues to struggle, the national debt continues to soar, reaching a new high of $13 trillion, close to the annual national economy.
But Huelskamp said that the spending isn’t stopping yet.
“They are planning to add about $1 trillion a year over the next 10 years,” he said. “That will put us at $23 trillion in a decade. I didn’t think Americans would stand for $13 trillion. I’m sure that some time between $13 trillion and $23 trillion they will demand that something be done. We have to get our financial house in order.”
Huelskamp never voted for a tax increase during his tenure as a Kansas senator, and it is that consistent record of fighting spending in Kansas that led to his victory in the Republican primary in a year when there is a strong anti-government sentiment among the electorate.
That’s why Huelskamp said fixing the economy is only a start to the reforms needed in Washington.
“Even when we get the economy right, and we will, and even when we get jobs right, and we will, we have to remember we are living in the best part of the country,” he said. “We can’t forget that the government needs to reflect our values. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”
The general election takes place Nov. 2.