Current polls indicate that 63 percent of Americans disapprove of Congress. In the opinion of many Americans, Congress accomplishes very little. Too many legislators are career politicians, influenced by power and money far more than by the people they were elected to represent. Many Americans want term limits and campaign reform to restore confidence in our legislators. We don’t have that legislation at this point.
There is some hope. Congress is likely to change appreciably as a result of the upcoming election. With the retirement of Lynn Jenkins, we know there will be a new congressman from the 2nd District of Kansas.
The Democratic candidate, Paul Davis, carried this district in his bid for governor in 2016. A lifetime Kansan and family man, Davis embraces Kansas values.
Davis served in the Kansas House of Representatives for 12 years and was elected minority leader. Davis is known as a bipartisan coalition builder, a valuable ability sorely needed in Congress.
Davis is the son of two teachers and strongly supports public schools. He believes that health care should be affordable and costs must be controlled. Davis talks about the $4,500 cost of his father’s medications before he recently succumbed to Parkinson’s disease and the fight to get his insurance company to cover the cost of a critical surgery for his daughter when she was born. He understands Kansans’ problems and will work to find answers.
Paul Davis will serve Kansas and Kansas values in Washington with leadership, integrity, honesty and sincerity.
The Republican candidate, Steve Watkins, faces questions even from his own party. There are valid issues surrounding Watkins even running in Kansas. He hadn’t lived in Kansas since he graduated from high school until he rented a house in Kansas shortly before filing for office. He owns two properties in Alaska where he lived prior to filing.
Then there are the other questions.
Watkins has admitted “inaccuracies” about his claim to founding a Middle Eastern company and building it from three employees to 470 employees. That claim has been proven false.
He set a goal of climbing Mount Everest and completing the Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska in 2015. He completed the Iditarod, finishing 58th out of 78 racers. The climb to the top of Mount Everest ended in an avalanche that killed many climbers. Though Watkins claims to have been a hero in that situation, others don’t seem to remember it that way.
Watkins entered the Iditarod in 2018 to promote his campaign. He withdrew in the middle of the race, abandoning his dogs. Other racers took care of the dogs but were burdened by caring for them in addition to their own dogs. Jeff King, a four-time winner of the Iditarod, considered Watkins’ participation as a stunt for political purposes.
Completing the Iditarod or climbing Mount Everest is not required to be a member of Congress. Stretching the truth and failing to take responsibility for animals speaks volumes about character.
Watkins states that he wants to bring his military leadership to Congress. Leadership is a fine quality but Congress does not function like the military.
I am not even sure why Watkins left the Army to become a contractor in the Mideast.
Watkins remains a mystery to many, including me. I am not sure he knows Kansas well enough at this point to know how to represent it. Additionally, his tendency to mold the truth to aggrandize himself is disgusting. We already have way too much of that in Washington.
Jane Gies is a Leavenworth Times columnist.