Problems that worry voters and the reason those problems have not been solved are partially due to national politicians who are unwilling to seek bipartisan solutions, a candidate for U.S. Senate said.
Former Congressman Jim Slattery is a Democratic candidate vying for current Republican senator Pat Robert’s seat. Slattery was on campus Thursday and articulated his campaign platform of national security, the economy, energy and health care.
“National security should be the first priority of the federal government,” Slattery said.
He said the government has lost concentration on fighting al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden with the war in Iraq.
“It’s costing $12 billion a month in Iraq, and I think it’s important for students at Kansas State and taxpayers all over Kansas to realize that we’re spending that much money,” he said. “That to me is unbelievable. Both houses of Congress utterly failed in their Constitutional duty to check and balance the executive branch of government [by approving the war]. It is important that we get out of Iraq as quickly as possible and we have to do so responsibly.”
Slattery said the war in Iraq is a large contributor to an unstable economy and that he did not agree with the current fiscal policy.
“In 2001, we were talking about paying off the national debt,” he said. “Instead we’ve added 3.5 trillion to the national debt that your generation will have to pay off.”
He said fiscal responsibility has not been a priority in Washington, D.C., which is one of his biggest concerns.
“This is an outrageous fiscal policy, it is a reckless fiscal policy, and it is a fiscal policy that I call intergenerational robbery,” he said. “One of the sharpest differences I have with Sen. Roberts is that he basically voted for this fiscal policy.”
Fiscal irresponsibility has caused the value of the dollar to weaken by 30 to 40 percent, Slattery said. He said he supports extending some of the Bush tax cuts but he wanted to make sure the benefits were fair to those who need the tax cut.
A weak dollar has contributed to higher oil and gas prices, Slattery said, and foreign energy is not the future for American policy. He said he was open-minded about solutions to the American demand for energy.
“Ethanol is part of the solution, wind is part of the solution, solar is a possibility, but they’re not the only solution,” he said.
Slattery said all possibilities should be considered, even nuclear energy.
“I’m willing to look at nuclear as part of the solution,” he said. “The French have used nuclear successfully and safely.”
He said Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station, near Burlington, Kan., is an example of safer nuclear power in the U.S. and Kansas.
Though two proposed power plants were successfully vetoed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Slattery said Kansans are already familiar with the possibility of coal as a source of energy.
“Over the long term, we’re going to have to learn how to burn coal cleanly,” he said. “In Kansas we’re going to have to have coal-powered electric facilities. As we move forward, coal is going to have to be part of our solution.”
Slattery said health care is an issue that must be solved sooner rather than later, and the first step is affordability. He said he supported the State Children’s Health Insurance Program while in the House of Representatives, and he said he thinks the program should be expanded to insure children whose parents still cannot afford proper care.
He said his campaign will not participate in negative campaigning and expects a respectful race.
“We’re going to conduct a positive, issue-oriented campaign,” he said.
Slattery said he is aware of the demand for a change in politics, and he agrees with that sentiment.
“We’re offering real choice in this campaign,” he said. “If people want change, I’m their man.”