Meet the Primary Candidates: MoranJuly 28, 2016
Editor’s Note: The Emporia Gazette sent a questionnaire to all candidates involved in a primary race runoff for both the national and state races in this area. These are the responses of Republican and current Senator Jerry Moran and Democrat Patrick Wiesner. Candidates DJ Smith (R) and Monique Singh (D) did not respond. The winners of the primary races will face each other and Libertarian Robert Garrard in the general election.
Responses from the candidates for House Seats 76 and 60 were published Tuesday and Wednesday. Responses from the candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives will be published Friday. There is no primary for Kansas House Seat 51 or Senate District 17.
Advance voting at county courthouses is open until noon Aug. 1. The polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 2.
Q When thinking about the future of the state, what concerns you the most?
A Kansans are concerned that our nation is going off-course: out-of-control spending threatens our national security and our children’s future; high taxes and burdensome regulations make it hard to start and operate a small business; and we have an administration that seems more concerned with monitoring bathroom policies than confronting ISIS. Kansans are looking for principled, conservative leadership that will actually solve these problems. That’s who I am, what I’ve done and what I will continue to do.
Q What would you do to improve the health care access in our state?
A As a member of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, I understand that communities are strengthened when Kansans have access to broad health care networks within our communities. Access to quality health care often determines whether Kansans can remain in the communities they call home and whether our children will return to raise families of their own. In order to make certain Kansans have access to affordable, quality health care, we must pursue policies that reduce healthcare costs.
The Affordable Care Act has burdened millions of Americans with a litany of broken promises, higher taxes, increasing health insurance costs, reduced healthcare choices, and burdensome mandates and regulations that stifle economic growth. For Kansans, additional taxes from Obamacare will be more than $949 million over the next 10 years. We can and must do better. In order to achieve true health care reform in this country, the kind of reform that will relieve Kansas families and business owners from facing increasing health insurance premiums every year, we have to reduce healthcare costs. Americans want sensible reforms that increase competition and choice, and thereby expand access and lower cost.
Too often, federal health regulations do not reflect the reality of health care delivery in Kansas. I have authored and sponsored numerous pieces of legislation to make sure that Kansas health care providers can continue to provide quality care to their patients. For example, I’ve introduced the Protecting Access to Rural Therapy Services (PARTS) Act to make sure that rural and other patients have access to a full range of outpatient therapeutic services in hospitals in their own communities by easing unreasonable federal regulatory requirements. Additionally, I am a sponsor of legislation to extend the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program, which helps certain rural hospitals in sparsely populated states expand care to patients in their communities. I am also a sponsor of the Critical Access Hospital Relief Act, which would relieve Critical Access Hospitals from an arbitrary and inflexible Medicare admissions rule that is imposed upon these hospitals without regard to clinical appropriateness.
As a co-founder of the Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus, I understand that pharmacists play a vital role in health care delivery. Recognizing that pharmacists are often the most accessible health care providers in many Kansas communities, I am a sponsor of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, which would allow pharmacists to be reimbursed by Medicare for providing pharmacy services to patients in medically underserved areas.
Another way to improve access to quality health care in our state is to support the advancement of cures and treatments for disease through medical research. Medical research is essential to saving and improving lives, growing our economy, and maintaining America’s role as a global leader in medical innovation. Given the vast amount of progress made over the last century — as well as the great potential current research holds — it is important that we continue our commitment to advancing cures and treatments for disease.
Q What are the top three issues on which you would focus during your term?
A In my view, the greatest threat we have to being able to pursue the American Dream is the debt and deficit. I have opposed every increase in the debt ceiling, every stimulus package and every bailout offered by either party while fighting to reduce spending and enact a balanced budget amendment. Spending trillions of dollars that we do not have undermines economic growth today while putting a massive financial burden on our children and grandchildren.
The security and safety of the American homeland is a paramount responsibility for those elected to serve in Washington. It’s clear that in the 15 years since 9/11, the threats this nation faces from Islamic extremism remain very real. We must remain vigilant against those who wish to take advantage of the free and open society in which we live while protecting the liberties we enjoy and cherish.
There is no group of Americans I hold in higher regard than our nation’s heroes. During my time in Congress – as a member of both the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees – I have made improving the quality of life for the nearly 250,000 veterans living in Kansas a top priority. Our nation’s veterans should be treated like patriots, deserving of care from a grateful nation – not made to feel like a burden. I will not rest until Kansas veterans have a Department of Veterans Affairs worthy of their service and sacrifice.
Q Is there anything else you would like the citizens in Kansas to know about you?
A Since first being elected to Congress, I have been a leading advocate for protecting and preserving the special way of life we live in Kansas. Despite the distance of more than 1,000 miles between Washington, D.C., and Kansas, I return home each weekend to meet with Kansans, listen to your concerns, and get my marching orders. I am about to wrap-up my third round of listening tour stops in each of Kansas’ 105 counties. I am grateful that you have entrusted me with the honor of representing you and will never stop fighting for you.
Editor’s Note: Sen. Moran was given the same seven questions as all primary candidates. The decision to focus on four of them was his.