Congressional candidates respond to domestic terror plot
Sunday, Eyewitness News reached out to all 13 of the men and women running for Kansas Congressional seats concerning the recent arrest of three men in connection to a plot to bomb a mosque and an apartment complex where refugees live in Garden City. Among the incumbents, we only heard back from Mike Pompeo's office. Pompeo says he was unavailable and could talk to us Monday.
We did hear from several challengers for various seats representing Kansas. All of them praised police for the job done in stopping what investigators say was a planned attack on a mosque and refugee community in Garden City.
Most agreed Congress needs to provide more consistent funding for law enforcement agencies, especially for training in dealing with situations like this. They say, however, the only surefire way they see to prevent an attack, like what was planned in Garden City, is to change how society thinks.
Miranda Allen, an Independent candidate running against Pompeo in the Fourth Congressional District, says representatives need to be leaders "to ensure that we are not teaching our children hate and violence, but instead love and compassion."
"As a country, recently it's become more apparent and more vocal that we're very divided," says Democrat Britani Potter, running against incumbent Lynn Jenkins and Libertarian candidate James Houston Bales in Kansas's Second Congressional District.
"We need to make sure that we're adequately funding our law enforcement officers so that they can continue to catch things like this," Potter says.
Bales says many communities "have turned into echo chambers for bad ideas and people are never confronted with an opposing viewpoint."
"If your idea doesn't stand up on the merits and doesn't convert people without harming others, it's a bad idea to begin with," he says.
Bales says Congress can begin to do its part by setting realistic definitions for what domestic terrorism is.
"We need to stop the hemorrhaging. We need to stop the violence, and it starts at the very top," says Alan LaPolice, an Independent candidate for the First Congressional District.
He says the use of fear has become the center point of both presidential campaigns.
"And so we live in a society where fear is the currency," LaPolice says.
In a written statement, First Congressional Republican candidate Roger Marshall says he is proud of the work FBI and other agencies have done in stopping the attack in Garden City.
"It is shocking to hear of something like this happening in our own backyard, and it's important to remember to always be vigilant of threats on innocent Americans," Marshall writes. "My respect for our law enforcement and our military continues to grow through instances like this. We must always work to find respect and common ground with our neighbors, even in times of uncertainty."
Gordon Bakken, Libertarian candidate for the Fourth Congressional District, also issued a written statement.
Bakken discusses the challenges of fighting crime in general, as according to the U.S. Constitution, that is the job of the states. Toward the goal of preventing violence, he says there is no simple solution.