U.S. House Race: Comments From the Forum

From left: Steve Watkins, Steve Fitzgerald, Doug Mays at the podium, Caryn Tyson and Kevin Jones. Five of eight candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives seat spoke at the Candidates Forum on July 31 at Fort Scott High School.

There are eight candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives vacancy to be filled because incumbent Lynn Jenkins is stepping down. Five came to Fort Scott for the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce sponsored Candidate Forum at Fort Scott High School.

These are excerpts from remarks given during the 2018 Candidates Forum which was July 31.

Dennis Pyle did not attend but sent a representative to tell the audience he is a  fiscal conservative,  pro-life, pro 2nd Amendment Rights and one who fought against tax hikes and will continue Trump’s agenda.

Kevin Jones is running because of the lack of servant leaders. He served in the military 5.5 years as a Green Beret and will fight for jobs and curb the national debt.

Vernon Fields is an Army veteran, federal law enforcement retiree, a criminologist, and registered nurse. His values are the sanctity of life, limiting government and constitutional rights.

Steve Watkins is a political outsider, engineer, and builder,  who values religious freedom and family values. “If you believe we can do better, I will fight you.”

Doug Mays is a Southeast Kansas native and was Speaker of the  House in Kansas for four years.

Caryn Tyson is a grassroots conservative who owns and operates a ranch in Linn County and has worked at NASA. “We waste money on the government and it needs to stop.”

Steve Fitgerald is a retired military officer, spent years in the Kansas Senate, is pro-life, pro 2nd Amendment and a businessman for 11 years.

Question 1: The Affordable Health Care Act, what is the replacement?

Kevin Jones: The first thing people can do is begin to exercise. The issue is the cost of the act. Create a healthcare open market pool.

Vernon Fields:  Said he has affordable health care as a retired military officer. “I would look at opening that kind of pool up”.

Steve Watkins: A foundation of transparency and competition, with less regulation. His wife is a doctor, which is a heavily regulated market. There is a need to empower healthcare providers to treat it as a service, not a right.

Doug Mays:  When the government takes over something done by private business, “they always mess it up.”  The need is to allow competition on a nationwide basis.

Caryn Tyson: It’s hurting  businesses, “get government out of the room.” The government should not be involved between us and a doctor.  Regulation but options.

Steve Fitgerald: ” We need to end it, not play with it, get rid of it. We don’t need the federal government in insurance.” Health savings accounts should be allowed.

Questions 2: Are you for or against completion of the border wall, how would you fund it?

Vernon Fields: In the military, he saw the border. ” I know we have problems with it.” ” A 14-mile-stretch costs $14 million.”  He would look at other budgets to build the wall.

Steve Watkins: ” I was a combat engineer and build walls, they are not a lethal tool”.

Doug Mays:  The Mexican border wall is more than immigration, it’s about drugs. When the National Guard was at the border, the drugs coming across were less. The border needs to be secured.

Caryn Tyson:  Supports building the wall, and would allow individuals to submit donations to help fund it. Also an issue is cutting government waste, with which she had success at the state level. She is willing to work on legislation to fight for U.S. security.

Fitzgerald: The border wall is needed as part of the overall security.  “There is no reason why this country does not have walls for borders.”

Kevin Jones: Supports building a border wall, because it is a deterrent. “Congress just passed a $1,000 a month for renting cars for each Congressman”. “There are a lot of ways to pay for that wall.”

Question 3: Would you support the president’s use of tariffs as a means to force fairer world trade?

Stever Watkins: On tariffs, he would have to look at each proposal. “Our economy benefits from free trade. The government role is to stay out of the way.”

Doug Mays; Yes, use tariffs to trade more fairly.  “This president will be known as the great negotiator. We don’t need a trade war. Farmers and ranchers especially. No tariffs anywhere, it would be a free market.”

Caryn Tyson: Fair and free trade is needed. Trump demonstrated he backs up agriculture, but farmers want to sell products for a fair price that covers their cost.

Steve Fitzgerald: Yes, trade more fairly.  Trump is a tough negotiator. The EU is making noises like they are coming to the table.

Kevin Jones:  Pres. Trump has started to do the negotiating. “We don’t want to be taken advantage of.”

Vernon Fields: As long as tariffs continue and are able to support our farmers.

Closing remarks:

Doug Mays: Pro-life, 2nd Amendment supporter.  He knows Southeast Kansas .” I voted for highway bill tax, I hope people will forgive me of that.” Southeast Kansas has been the stepchild of this state. I’d like to see that changed.”

Caryn Tyson: She can stand up to Paul Davis, is a pro-life, 2nd amendment supporter. Her platform is limited government, traditional values, and economic development. Look at her record as representative.

Steve Fitzgerald: “I’d like to help the district with the infrastructure part-especially broadband.  We need someone who has proven credentials.”

Kevin Jones:  “911 changed us. We were going to a pastors retreat.” He then went on to serve in the military, then as a state representative. Jobs, debt and the lawful administration of justice are his focus.

Vernon Fields: Sanctity of life is important, and he elected not to work in hospitals that performed abortions.  His focus is on issues and needs. Choose wisely because that person will represent the state for the future.

Steve Watkins: Although not many endorsements, he stands the best chance of beating Paul Davis. Leadership was proven in his eight years of military service.

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