Chamber of Commerce hosts candidate forum

With the local, state and national elections just a few weeks away, the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidate forum Thursday evening for any candidates interested in sharing their ideas and goals with the Fort Scott community.


Local candidates running for positions such as county offices participated as well as candidates running for places in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Each participant was given the opportunity to give a statement and to answer questions if they are not running unopposed.

Questions submitted by the public covered a wide range of topics including second amendment rights, the national debt, education in Kansas, Guantanamo Bay, the local law enforcement center project, immigration, county budgets and the Affordable Care Act among others.

Early voting began Monday and will continue through noon on November 7. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.

See below for some of the statements from different candidates and their opponents:

Patrick Wiesner (D), U.S. Senate:

“I am the ‘get us out of debt’ candidate…My mission is paying off our national debt.”

“They need to apply for citizenship.” [On letting undocumented immigrants receive welfare, adding children and emergencies should be exceptions.]

Joshua Berg, on behalf of Jerry Moran (R), U.S. Senate:

“Jerry believes that the number one thing that the federal government must do is protect us and keep us safe.” [Through military spending, immigration control and caring for veterans.]

Britani Potter (D), U.S. House of Representatives:

“My goal is to put people before politics.”

“Healthcare’s a huge passion of mine… The Affordable Care Act did not make healthcare affordable…One of the big things that we can do to address this is by getting special interest money out of our politicians’ pockets.”

“Debt is a terrible, terrible burden and I would work in any way possible to reduce that debt and not incur any future charges. I think we have to address our tax system. It isn’t working. There are far too many loopholes.”

Lynn Jenkins (R), U.S. House of Representatives:

“Many people in Washington don’t share our Kansas values.”

“Obamacare has been a disaster. It’s not working. It’s time the Democrats on Capitol Hill recognize that.”

“Our tax code is broken…we need to throw it out and start over. We have a plan to do just that, it grows the economy. You can’t cut your way out of 19.5 trillion dollar’s debt, you have to grow your way out of it. So fix the revenue side and then fix the spending side.”

Caryn Tyson (R), Kansas Senate District 12:

“I am tied to my constituents, not the governor, not the lobbyists.”

“You can count on me to work hard, to know the issues and to work with both sides to come to a solid conclusion for the state. I will continue to fight for limited government, individual freedom, traditional values and economic development.”

“I think we need to protect our schools. I fought very hard for our rural schools.”

“We have a budget process that promotes wasteful spending.”

Lynn Grant (D), Kansas Senate District 13:

“The Medicaid expansion will actually end up paying for itself… There’s money to be made by creating jobs.” [On her statement that she will increase spending on education and Medicaid.]

Jake LaTurner (R), Kansas Senate District 13:

“We didn’t have a lot of good alternatives looking at us… We were looking at a situation where we could cut K-12 schools, higher education, community colleges, or we could vote for a tax plan.” [On tax increase that put Kansas at a disadvantage to Missouri.]

“I’m clearly open to revisiting the 2012 tax cut, I think we must in Kansas, but I will not do that on the backs of the middle class and the working poor.”

Harold Coleman (D), County Commission District 3:

“The county is limited. We have taxes and fees, that’s the only income that we receive.”

Nick Ruhl (R), County Commission District 3:

“We need to cut back on some of our spending to grow the budget back.”

Mike Feagins (D), Bourbon County Sheriff:

“I want to make a change to the Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office. I want there to be integrity brought back, dedication and honesty. I want to keep the budget low.”

“The policy needs attention and it should’ve been changed a long time ago instead of now.” [On recent ride-along policy questions.]

“I would implement a hiring process.” [On the issue of employee attrition.]

Bill Martin (R), Bourbon County Sheriff:

“I believe in working for you. As I’ve said before, performances not promises.”

“I can assure you that there is nobody that is in that patrol car that’s going to bring harm to anybody in this community as they ride around with the deputies.” [On recent ride-along policy questions.]

“It’s one of the lowest paying jobs in the county [referring to correctional officers]… We have to be more competitive in our pay.” [On the issue of employee attrition.]

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