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GREAT BEND, Kan. - In his twelve short years of living in Kansas, Mike Pompeo misses the obvious in so many ways.

One of the primary jobs of the 4th Congressional District Congressman is to make sure Wichita continues it's historic role as the arsenal for our fighting men and women around the globe.

Uncle Sam and Wichita have a long and successful partnership in building the best airplanes for our fighting men and women. But Pompeo doesn't think that, as a Congressman, he should do anything to nurture this relationship between Kansas and the United States of America's military. He's against "Big Government," and wants to slash spending. But what if "Big Government" is your friend?

Whether the 4th District Congressman is Garner Shriver, or Dan Glickman or Todd Tiahrt, it is the duty of the Wichita Congressman to "bring jobs back to Kansas" in the form of defense contracts to build airplanes.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - As I watched Raj Goyle's TV ad "Mailroom," about America exporting jobs overseas, I knew it was happening. Goyle was piecing together the old coalition of Wichita area voters who elected Democrat Dan Glickman to the Fourth District Congressional seat in 1976.

It's about time. When Glickman was defeated in 1994 by State Senator Todd Tiahrt, the blue collar voters, especially the culturally conservative ones, abandoned Glickman in droves. "When he voted for NAFTA and helped export our jobs overseas, I knew I couldn't continue to vote for Glickman," said one grizzled aircraft sheet worker. Eighteen years later, Raj Goyle is reminding those working class voters why they voted for Glickman in 1976, and why many rejected him in 1994.

In his 2004 interview with Bill Moyers, Thomas Frank, author of "What's the Matter With Kansas?" marvels about Wichita, a natural hotbed for working class Democrats, going Republican in 1994. Democrats allowed it to happen, and Democrats such as Raj Goyle are going back to what works.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - Extremism scares people. Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater scared the bejesus out of Kansas voters in the 1964 election, and the state went Democratic for President with LBJ. That's the last time Kansas turned blue in a Presidential election.

46 years later, many Kansas Republicans are frightened again by their own party. It's simple arithmetic, really. Kansas ranks #2 among states in percentage of Republicans, but Kansas is not even in the top fourteen states in "self-identified conservatives." Stated differently, there are a lot of moderate Republicans in Kansas. And almost all the Republican candidates this summer are not only ignoring moderates, but agitating them.

All conservatives are Republicans, but not all Republicans are conservatives. And those moderate Republican candidates are going to make a comeback next Tuesday.

multiculture.gifGREAT BEND, Kan. - Most white people in America are apprehensive of angry black men. Jackie Robinson broke the color line in baseball. Sidney Poitier broke the color line in Hollywood. And Barack Obama broke the color line on the Presidency of the United States. And all three of them did it by keeping their cool.

Jackie Robinson was a terrific baseball player. But that's not why Dodger G.M. Branch Rickey chose him to be the first black in Major League Baseball. Robinson was a UCLA graduate, and an Army veteran. But Rickey would not sign him until Robinson agreed NOT to fight back at the inevitable racism. "Are you asking me to be a black man who doesn't fight back?" asked Robinson. "I'm asking you to be a big enough man NOT to fight back," said Rickey.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - State Senator Tim Huelskamp's new TV ad claims he's a political outsider. In the ad, he brags about being booted off the "Ways and Means" committee by fellow Republicans. At the time in 2003, Huelskamp told John Milburn of the AP that he was booted because "I'm not a team player."

Giving Huelskamp the benefit of the doubt, he may have been simply repeating what his Republican superiors told him as they showed him the door, not admitting that he is not a team player. But there seems to be almost universal consensus in the legislature that Huelskamp is hard to get along with.

wink-hartman.jpgGREAT BEND, Kan. - A new poll released by KWCH-Channel 12 in Wichita shows that Mike Pompeo's TV ads, coupled with his attacks on Wink Hartman regarding Hartman's vacation home in Florida, have paid off.

A similar poll taken by KWCH-Channel 12 taken in February showed Hartman leading with 36%, State Senator Dick Kelsey at 11%, and Pompeo and State Senator Jean Schodorf at 10% each. Both polls were done by SurveyUSA at the request of Channel 12.

Actually, in the new poll, Hartman gained a point from the February poll, from 36% to 37%. But Pompeo gained a whopping 29% percentage points, from 10% in February to
39% now.

While the Pompeo/Hartman race is a statistical dead heat, Pompeo has the momentum now.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - It all started with Earl Butz, Nixon's Secretary of Agriculture, who had to resign due to a racial slur. In the early 70's grain and commodity prices were high, and the family farm was still intact. But the city people at the supermarket complained about high food prices, and that's when the New Deal farm programs started to come apart, and with it, the Great Plains.

It happened slowly. But looking back at Western Kansas over the last 30 years, it has been a steady and slow decay of "life as we knew it." I doubt we can reverse things, but we can know who did this to us and hold them accountable. And we can start to turn the ship around back toward pro-family farm policies.

Everybody on the Great Plains knows something horrible has happened over the last 30 years, but they really don't know what happened or why. They just see their downtown buildings boarded up, the abundance of thrift stores, and young people who turn to methamphetamines rather than working at McDonalds.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - Unfortunately, the first rule of politics is: "If you're behind in the polls, go negative." Wink Hartman is the clear front runner for the Republican nomination in the Fourth Congressional District, and rival Mike Pompeo has thrown the first ugly punch, blasting Hartman for having a second home in Florida.
Mike Pompeo

This might be an effective attack if it came from a lifetime Kansan. But coming from Pompeo, this attack crumbles. Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, and one the issue of who is more "authentically Kansan," Pompeo lives in a glass cathedral.

Pompeo was born and raised in California, attended college in New York, went to law school in Massachusetts, practiced law in Washington, D.C., and moved to Kansas for the first time in 1998, a dozen years ago. Why would a candidate with such a thin Kansas resume' launch an attack on which he has no credibility?

GREAT BEND, Kan. - Both leading 3rd District Republican Congressional candidates claim they are conservatives, but the best way to settle this argument is to see how they each voted head-to-head during the two year period that they served together in the legislature.
Patricia Lightner

Patricia Lightner served in the Kansas House from 1998-2004. Kevin Yoder served from 2002-2010. That leaves us with only a two-year window where we can compare their voting records, but we are very fortunate to have a head-to-head vote on a key issue of taxing and spending during that time.

March 26, 2004 is the day in question. On that day, the House of Representatives passed the Kassebaum-Neighbor bill, an income and sales tax increase intended to go to K-12 schools. Rep. Yoder voted in favor of the income and sales tax increases. Rep. Lightner voted "no."

two-men-in-mercantile-300px-best-size.gifGREAT BEND, Kan. - Our local, state, and federal governments heavily regulate individual conduct by people. Let's say I took a gallon of gas and threw it on my neighbor's front lawn. I would find myself in the Barton County jail for "criminal damage to property."

When I drive to work each day, I can only travel 20 mph through school zones, and 30 miles per hour elsewhere in town. If I break the law, I get pulled over and get a traffic ticket. The criminal codes that regulate people prevent you from hurting others, or yourself.

For good reason, we make it illegal for people to speed, text while driving, steal, commit arson, and drive while drunk. We make it illegal for people to push another person down on the street, to pull a gun or knife on another person. We make it illegal to smoke marijuana, to smoke in public, and to use illegal drugs.

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