3 GOP Senate candidates take part in debate at Century II

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 10:54 PM CDT
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took the stage in Wichita Wednesday night for a debate.

Roberts, one of the most veteran lawmakers in Washington, is not running for a fifth term in the U.S. Senate. The race to fill his seat come January is one of this election cycle's biggest contests, gaining national attention.

Wednesday's debate at Century II was the third of four organized and sponsored by the Kansas Republican Party. Taking the stage Wednesday were Rep. Dr. Roger Marshall, seeking a transition from the U.S. House to the Senate, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and businessman and former Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Dave Lindstrom.

The topic of Wednesday's debate was healthcare. Much of the early focus was the three candidates' response to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of the economy, and the path going forward.

"Bringing the testing equipment that we need here in Kansas to keep jobs open. So, I'm excited where Kansas is right now. We do have a little hiccup going on in southeast Kansas. I'm keeping my eye on that," Marshall said.

"The coronavirus, itself, the medical issues, is an evolving threat," said Kobach. "Of course, we would all like to see a vaccine, but of course, that vaccine should not be mandatory."

Lindstrom said, "Believe the best government is local. I would agree with the states having control over what they think is best for their own state."

Springboarding off the issue of COVID-19, Kobach took aim at Marshall on the subject of immigration.

"As 40 million Americans are out of work, is ensure Americans are first in line for those jobs as they try to find them, and this is an area I've worked on for many years, H1B H2B visas have been used to displace American workers," said Kobach.

"I was shocked on May 26," Kobach continued. "When Congressman Marshall signed a letter with 37 other moderate Republicans asking President Trump to keep bringing in more H2Bs. They come in at 83,000 a year."

Earlier in the week, President Trump suspended parts of the foreign worker program.

Marshall said, "These were temporary visas that would have helped grow Kansas jobs. The fake news part of this is I have supported the President's big immigration policy. This is a small part of it. I have continued and will always support the President's policy on immigration. What the real issue is making sure we sent a candidate to the general election that can beat Barbara Bollier because she will have open borders, sanctuary cities, she will open the doors to all immigrants."

Kobach also went after Marshall on his record in Congress, specifically when he was back in Kansas during the pandemic visiting and assisting Kansas hospitals.

"Two votes that Roger Marshall didn't show up for," said Kobach. "Part 3 of President Trump's and Nancy Pelosi's $3 trillion bill. He didn't show up to vote no because he was here in Kansas doing a photo op. Look if you wanted to be a doctor, be a doctor. Go for it, but the people of the first district hired you to show up and vote."

Marshall responded by saying, "I would always choose helping patients over going to D.C. and watching vote that was all show a big parade."

Kobach and Lindstrom also alluded to

reckless driving charge and allegations that family connections were used to reduce the charge.

"I've had enough of wannabe career politicians who conduct shady backroom deals after being charged with prosecuted for reckless driving and battery. I've had enough of party politics and the Kansas version of the swamp that unprofessionally and unjustifiably attempted to take away the right of Kansas voters to chose their next senator," Lindstrom said.

"Part of getting elected means you have to know negative are on a candidate. I've been in three statewide races, won two out of three, and everybody knows what the negatives are going to be. They've been out there for a long time," said Kobach. "We saw something come up about a shady backroom deal that made some crime go away."

Marshall responded to those attacks by saying, "This is fake, old news. 12-year-old news based upon fake allegations and a frivolous lawsuit. It was based upon nonsense, and that's why the lawsuit was dropped."

He continued by addressing Kobach, specifically, "This is obviously a failed desperate candidate trying to reach out and find some piece that he can dig at me on."

The three candidates also laid out their positions on Obamacare, mental health, supporting rural hospitals, prescription drug prices and masks.

Marshall said, "A little Kansas common sense goes a long way. Of course, I'm not going to be in favor of any federal mandate that states that you have to wear a mask. I think that it is up to the individual, at the same time, I think that a place of business should have the right to say that we need to wear a mask when we come in."

"I've been a Type One diabetic since age 11, 1977," said Kobach. "As a Type One diabetic, you need, you depend on insulin to stay alive. A bottle of insulin cost $3 in 1977. Do you know what the cost is today? Almost $300. There's been no great advances. Insulin has been around since 1921."

He added, "Why is that? It's because there's no generic competition. There are only two companies in the world that make insulin. Why are the no generics? Did you know that federal law right now has a loophole? Every other medicine, 90 percent of prescriptions are filled with generics right now. Every other medicine has generic competition, but biologic medicine, medicines that are made from a living organism like insulin, are not allowed to have generic competition."

"Mental health leads to many suicides," said Lindstrom. "Our Ag and our cattle producers in this state right now, they're suffering. They're suffering. They're suffering because we have four major packing plants in this country, and two of them are foreign-owned. Cattle producers are losing their shirts, and as it relates to mental health when you're not able to support your family, it causes issues."

Taking the debate in another direction, Lindstrom said he wants to take aim at term limits.

The Kansas Republican Party said business owner Bob Hamilton was also invited to join the debate but declined. About 220 people bought tickets to attend Wednesday night's debate at Century II. Those tickets sold for $10 each. The fourth and final GOP Senate debate in this race is set for next month in Atchison.

The primary election to narrow the field happens Aug. 4, followed by the Nov. 3 general election.

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