Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo visited K-State on Monday to engage in discussion with students and meet with organizations. Pompeo sat down with The Collegian to address the shutdown and the impact students can have in local and national government.
Q: What brings you to Manhattan today?
A: I’m here visiting for several reasons today. I came to Manhattan to visit with some businesses, talk with some political science students and present to a few student groups. I’m also here to listen to people, faculty and students and observe what’s going on.
Q: What has the climate been since you’ve arrived, in terms of governmental ideas?
A: From what I’ve been able to see, there are lots of different governmental views. Overall though, there seems to be a sort of Midwestern sensibility about the students. It’s a good range of ideas with a good range of discussion.
Q: What have you been asked about the shutdown?
A: I’ve spoken with a lot of Fort Riley people about the shutdown and the aftermath. I’m happy to say that we were able to quickly get people back to work once the shutdown was over with.
Q: What are your current goals as representative?
A: As a nation, we’re spending trillions more than we’re taking in. I want to contribute to fixing that. We can’t keep spending money this way. It’s not a Democrat or Republican agenda, I just want to help fix that issue.
Q: Do you think there can be a bipartisan solution to this spending problem?
A: The problem was created by both parties, so the solution must come from both parties as well, I believe. When we work together, it’s shocking to see what we can do. Hopefully 10 years from now, we’ll have a structured system in place and will be on our way to paying some of this back.
Q: What can students do to help local government representatives?
A: Your government is all around you. You’ve got a military facility right down the road and a city council. Just pay attention to what’s going on in your local community. Take the time out to hear the issues. The next thing you can do is spread your message, take advantage of your media. Congressmen receive 400-500 letters in a week, but the really powerful ones are careful, well-written and focused. You’re literally never too young to be part of the process. Fight for the things that matter to you.
Q: Will you be attending any events while you’re here?
A: I’m excited to go to the Landon Lecture, it’s going to be a really interesting and unique experience.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the Landon Lecture?
A: Well, having these six representatives from the Department of Agriculture is going to be amazing. They’re all smart people coming together to speak about how Kansas does and will feed the world. I think I’m going to learn a lot.
Q: What has been the best part about being at K-State?
A: The best part about being here has certainly been being around bright young people. It reminds me of why I do what I do and why I ran for Congress. I want to represent as best I can for them.