1. FISCAL POLICY
a. While the tax policies of Governor Sam Brownback are not your responsibility, what is your view of those policies? Do you believe they have in fact been an effective stimulus to our economy? How would you advise the Governor at this point?
The Kansas tax plan is one example of Brownback’s failed leadership in Kansas. While Ron Estes has allowed for this to happen under his watch, I am concerned that Mr. Estes will take the Brownback agenda to Washington, D.C.
b. Would you advocate a Kansas-style tax experiment at the national level?
c. Should growing income inequality in our country be of concern? If so, is this something the federal government should address? What solution to this problem would you pursue?
The income gap is of concern. While those that support higher wages for various employers use the “average income” model to show that wages are on the rise, we know that the opposite is true.
d. Do you believe tax policy at the federal level is fair to all Americans, the poor as well as the wealthy? If not, how would you change it?
The current tax plan is not fair. Significant tax reform needs to be accomplished. I support closing loopholes on corporations that allows them to record profits overseas in offshore accounts. In addition, I would close loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying taxes all together. Working class Americans should not bear the burden of overtaxation while the ultra rich enjoy tax havens and loopholes that allow them to avoid taxes or pay a small percentage of their total income
2. CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
a. Do you believe that climate change is real, and that human activity is a major factor causing it? If so, what do you believe should be done about it, and what is the proper role for the federal government?
Climate change is very real, and a very real threat to all aspects of our future. The federal government has a responsibility to protect our citizens, and should be working towards energy sources that do not threaten our future
b. Do you approve of or oppose President Trump’s proposed deep cuts in funding for the EPA?
I oppose President Trump’s deep cuts to the EPA.
c. Would you support or oppose policies at the federal level to encourage the growth of alternative energy systems in the United States, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on climate?
d. What is your view of the fracking activity taking place in the 4th District—does it serve the public good, or should it be more carefully regulated?
While I encourage technology and innovation, the wide-scale adoption of fracking/salt water injection has led to consequences that need to be investigated and better regulated. Earthquakes have become an increasing concern in southern Kansas as a result of the fracking/saltwater injection
e. If elected, will you be prepared to address environmental and climate change issues in a serious and nonpartisan manner, keeping the health and welfare of all Kansans foremost in your thinking and resisting pressures from powerful special interests?
3. VOTER RIGHTS
a. Do you support or oppose the efforts of Secretary of State Kobach to disqualify voters on unwarranted proof of citizenship grounds, and to pursue his claim of rampant voter fraud?
I oppose major elements of the 2012 SAFE Act, and the argument that there is rampant voter fraud that the SAFE Act would protect. While Mr. Kobach is correct in his argument that the ability to hold elections according to state laws and rules as dictated in the US Constitution, I disagree with his and the Kansas Legislature’s method of voter registration in Kansas. Despite Mr. Kobach’s statements otherwise, I have never seen any evidence of serious voter fraud.
b. If elected, would you stand with those who believe that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 must be preserved and strengthened?
c. Would you speak out against the voter suppression efforts in Kansas and many states, such as the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck System, and work to ensure that they are not pursued at the federal level?
Yes. I have and will continue to.
4. HEALTH CARE
a. If elected, would you work to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and improve its implementation?
The question presented here holds the key to my response. I believe that the ACA was a great step in the right direction, but it is not the perfect solution. I know that we should improve the existing plan and its implementation. Efforts to reform or repeal that result in less coverage for Americans must be fought and resisted.
b. If not, would you attempt to repeal it without replacement, or do you have a plausible plan to replace it?
N/A. See above.
5. PUBLIC EDUCATION
a. Do you agree that there is a legitimate role for the federal government in public education? (Kansas receives approximately 7.5 percent of its school funding from the federal government.)
b. The “Common Core” was an initiative of the National Governors Association, not the federal government. Its purpose is to ensure a comparable educational experience for students across the country, regardless of where they live. Do you support Common Core? If not, why not?
I support Common Core’s objective of providing a shared set of standards that all accredited educational institutions should meet. However, implementing one common structure that all American educators and students are required to meet is a problem. With the rich diversity that exists in our nation, there should be some flexibility that allows for some adaptation to the standards that are outlined in Common Core’s program.
c. As state support declines for Kansas universities, federal funding for scientific research is increasingly important. Will you support the continuation of this funding?
Federal funding through grants and other enrichment opportunities is something that I would continue to support. While the Kansas Board of Regents schools are held to standards at the state level, Federal Programs do allow for University faculty and staff to apply for research funding and grants that would enhance every college and university operation.
6. CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
a. Will you accept or have you accepted campaign contributions from special interest groups or organizations through any means, including political committees, political action committees, small donor committees, lobbyists or any other form (not including political party contributions) which do not identify its donors?
Yes. The laws are structured so that various contributions are seen as free speech in support of a candidate or policy. This has developed many groups that privately solicit donations on issues and candidates from the right and left alike. The laws need to change, but under the current situation, I accept donations from groups that operate legally under current law.
b. Do you agree that “dark money” should be eliminated from our political system?
I think I do agree, however I don’t want to mis-speak on this point as I am not clear on how “dark money” is exactly defined by Women for Kansas. Money itself isn’t evil, but transparency in our election system and practices would benefit all Americans.
c. Do you believe the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United should be overturned by congressional action?
Citizens United should be overturned. Legislation should attempt to more narrowly define and limit Citizens United. I also support a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United.
d. If elected, will you support campaign finance reform efforts?
Yes. Federal campaign finance reform needs to be addressed quickly.
7. THE JUDICIARY
a. The independence of the judiciary has been called into question in Kansas, and in Washington by President Trump. If elected, would you speak out in behalf of an independent judiciary?
While the confirmation of Federal judges and SCOTUS justices is a US Senate responsibility, I personally do believe in an independent judiciary at all levels of government, and have said so publicly, particularly following the latest Ks Supreme Court Decision on Kansas School funding. An independent judiciary is necessary to maintain our system of checks and balances. Efforts to destroy the balance of power must be resisted.
8. FOREIGN AFFAIRS: THE REFUGEE ISSUE
a. The United States traditionally has been a haven for refugees. Do you agree or disagree with President Trump’s assertion that refugees present a security threat?
While we have a responsibility to secure our nation, I disagree with the president on major points of his policy. Refugee’s aren’t the threat, terrorists are the threat.
b. Do you support or oppose President Trump’s efforts to sharply limit travel, immigration and refugee flows from Muslim countries?
I disagree, largely for the same reasons as above. While those that support the president argue that these nations on the travel ban list state that the government in these countries do not have the ability to enforce in their own nations, it is on us to allow for the safe and free passage of all people around the world regardless of their place of origin. The President claimed the ban was for safety reasons, yet, Saudi Arabia, where most of the terrorists of 9/11 came from were not on the list.
c. If elected, would you support a substantial resettlement program of thoroughly “vetted” refugees in the United States, in keeping with our values and tradition.
9. FOREIGN AFFAIRS: THE IMMIGRATION ISSUE
a. If elected, would you support “a path to citizenship” for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country? If not, would you support a program to regularize their status without their becoming citizens?
Yes, I would support a better “path to immigration” plan than the one that currently exists.
b. Would you support or oppose a mass deportation of undocumented immigrants?
I would oppose mass deportations. While the prevention of mass illegal immigration through safe and humane methods would greatly reduce the number of future illegal immigrants in the US, the treatment of current undocumented people in the US should be dealt with in a manner that does not include “mass” deportation.
c. Do you believe a wall should be built along our entire southern border?
No. We should use that money for something useful like financing infrastructure or education.
a. Do you believe an effective response to the terrorist threat requires special intelligence/ police efforts directed toward the Muslim community in the United States, as President Trump suggested when he was a candidate?
No. While I believe that law enforcement should be supported to do their jobs, and held accountable for any wrongdoing, targeting specific groups based on religion is a violation of the Constitution, specifically the 1st and 4th Amendments.
a. Would you consider, or oppose, modest steps to regulate gun traffic, such as expanded background checks, and closure of the so-called gun show loophole?
As a gun owner and someone who has bought and sold guns at these shows, I would support increased enforcement of the laws that are currently on record. I support expanding the availability of background checks to anyone who wants to sell a gun.
b. Do you support or oppose limitations on the sale of military assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips?
Military assault weapons are already regulated under the National Firearms Act. As an Army veteran, and owner of weapons, I believe our Supreme Court correctly ruled that the right to defend oneself is an integral part of the 2nd Amendment and that it is my right to own such weapons for legal purposes. However, the Supreme Court also ruled that “reasonable regulations” are permitted. In Kansas, I do not believe that any regulations on the use of “assault rifles” or “high capacity ammunition clips” are reasonable. However, I do support a community standard interpretation that would allow states to adopt rules that better reflect their own communities.
c. Do you believe the NIH should be allowed to investigate gun deaths in the United States in order to propose sensible, constitutional remedies?
Education and research on any issue is something that I support. We should always be learning and considering new ways of looking at old issues. I do not support NIH making suggestions on constitutional remedies. I believe that is the role of the legislature.
12. A FREE PRESS
a. Do you agree or disagree with President Trump’s views on the press (“fake,” “enemy of the people,” etc.)?
I agree with the president that there are a variety of “news” organizations that do not hold the highest standards of a fair, impartial, and free press. The responsibility held by reputable journalism outlets to meet unbiased reporting is one that should be upheld. However, there are many sources of noise that exist to clutter the truth from coming through. I strongly oppose President’s Trump’s efforts to “ban” reputable news agencies.
b. Will you speak out against efforts to restrain or discredit the press?
I have done so and will continue to so in the future.
a. If elected, would you support or oppose Congressional investigations into Russian interference in our 2016 election, and allegations of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives?
I would strongly support such an investigation. Similar to my response on fracking in question 2(d) above, the consideration of such a threat, particularly on an essential component of our democracy such as voting, should be investigated by an independent prosecutor.
14. ETHICS IN GOVERNMENT
a. If elected, will you be prepared to challenge ethical lapses or improprieties wherever they occur in the federal government, either among your Congressional colleagues or in the Executive Branch?
I have taken an oath to protect the US Constitution twice in my life from enemies foreign and domestic already. I am prepared to take it for a third time as the Representative from the Kansas 4th. Ethical lapses should be investigated to maintain the integrity of the system.
b. Are you satisfied that the President has adequately separated himself from his business interests, and has not breached the constitution’s “emoluments” clause?
I am not. There are mechanisms in place that allow for elected officials to put their financial interests into blind trusts that are managed independently from the official’s influence. This has not been satisfactorily done in the case of President Trump.
c. Do you believe the President should release his tax returns to the public, as all his modern predecessors have done?
Elected officials are held to a higher standard. That is part of the deal with running for public office. While the FEC has requirements that myself and other contenders for this office have had to fill out, they are not publicly released tax returns, but rather statements of financial interest. There has been talk about legislation that would require this in the future, but I used to believe in the ability of the American voter to distinguish for themselves what their own opinions are on a candidate’s trustworthiness. I believe he should release his tax returns, if for no other reason than to satisfy questions about his conflicts of interest.