Issues

Education

Children are the future. As a former teacher, I’ve had a role in shaping that future. I’ve worked alongside some of the most creative and passionate people I have ever met. I’ve met them in public schools, charter schools, and higher education. We are gifted in this nation with the greatest educators in the world, who sacrifice so much in the pursuit of their calling and receive so little in return.

Unfortunately, many of these vibrant individuals have been wrongly labeled many things: out of touch, unskilled, leeches on the public. In short: the media and people who grew up without listening to their teachers have named one of this nation’s greatest resources the enemy. This is unacceptable.

The Federal government does nothing to help, tying the hands of the classroom teacher through regulation at the primary and secondary levels and crippling debt at the highest levels. No one in the levels of debt practically required to pursue a calling in higher education in this country can ever be considered free; they are a slave to their debt. And at the earlier levels of education, students learn early and often that passing the test is all that matters because their local school is reliant on funding reliant on tests to keep the doors open.

As your Congressman, I will endeavor to return control of the neighborhood school to the neighborhood. I will also endeavor to find a solution to the student debt crisis and the explosion of administration at the expense of the faculty.

Economy

Despite going through a rough patch, it is important to remember that our economy is the most powerful in the world, built through years of innovation and hard work by men and women with ideas who would not be denied. Our economic policies need to be built around those ideas, providing a framework so that anyone with a brilliant idea can bring it to fruition in their local communities.

As your Congressman, I will push for more freedom and ease of access to our economic engines for the common man and woman. I will also push for policies that encourage competition in every facet of the private sector, since competition drives improvement.

Taxes

When our nation was first founded under the Articles of Confederation, the government soon found it had a problem: without the ability to levy some kind of taxes, it could not serve the people it was mandated to serve. Taxes are a necessary evil in society, because under the Constitution, our government has many jobs to do, and those jobs cannot be done for free.

Today, we find ourselves in a different situation with taxes: there are too many to the point that livelihoods are choked out because of an inability to pay the tax man. This problem is compounded by our government’s inability to control spending in any reasonable manner. Not only are Americans excessively taxed, but once they have been taxed that money is spent foolishly.

As your Congressman, I will seek to reduce the tax burden on everyday Americans, and their employers. I will also advocate for measures that ensure our tax dollars are spent wisely and not squandered.

War on Drugs

In the 1920s, a powerful lobbying group convinced not only the Federal government, but the people of a majority of the states, that alcohol was an evil and destructive influence. Inaction and disbelief paved the way for an era known as Prohibition, where virtually all alcohol was made illegal under Federal law. This policy is known today as an abject failure, since it did little to curb alcohol consumption but did a lot to turn a great American industry into an avenue for criminal profit.

Since the 1960s, we have seen this same drama play out on our streets, focused on a broad spectrum of substances instead of one. Like the initial attempt at prohibition, the War on Drugs has been an abject failure that has seen a continued erosion of our civil rights, open warfare in our streets, and a spike in imprisonment putting America as the world’s largest jailer. Yet, despite all the damage the War on Drugs has inflicted on our laws, cities, and families, little traction has been made in curbing the use of drugs in America.

As your Congressman, I will actively work to create laws that attempt to cure the worst damages of the War on Drugs. I will also advocate for common-sense legislation will move us towards an end to the War on Drugs.

Healthcare

With the passage of Obamacare, it is certainly clear that half measures for health care are not what we need. Costs continue rising, and our health care system seems unable to cope with emerging threats like obesity, mental illness, and drug-resistant bacteria. While I have no medical background, I do know that simply repealing Obamacare will solve nothing. I also know that inaction will do nothing but allow the situation to slowly grow worse for all Kansans.

As your Congressman, if I am faced with a real, reasoned solution in legislation, I will consider it carefully not only for its ability to solve the problems of the health care system, but for whether it falls within the powers granted to the government in the Constitution and whether it preserves or curtails individual liberty.

Crime

Federal criminal law is a complex web of interrelated factors. As lawmakers, Congress needs to be especially vigilant to ensure the full weight of the law falls evenly across all Americans. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case, and Congress both needs to take steps to rectify prior injustices and ensure they will not happen again, both by supporting clemency programs for men punished unfairly, and by providing resources to challenge convictions stemming from bad investigatory practices.

But fixing problems after the fact is not enough. More oversight is needed to enable Federal law enforcement agencies to do their jobs within the bounds of the law. Today, far too much leeway is permitted at all stages of Federal law enforcement. A citizen of this nation facing prison should not be convicted strictly on the word of a biased investigator or the claims of a charlatan peddling junk science. Not only is more oversight needed, but more resources for Federal public defenders are vitally necessary to prevent abuses at the investigatory level from ruining the lives of innocent Americans.

As your Congressman, I will fight for the rights of all Americans, regardless of mistakes they may have made in the past. I will push for prison reform, focusing on rehabilitation over punishment, and for the full restoration of rights for people who have paid their debts so society for their acts. I will also advocate for increased access to the justice system, to rectify unjustly harsh sentences and to litigate for the release of the wrongly imprisoned.

Agriculture

While it might be cliché, Kansas is a state of farmers. Many towns across our state and our district rely on farms and farming related industries for their existence. The needs of Kansas farms should be at the forefront of any politician this state elects, especially at the Federal level, where so much farming regulation is created.

But farming is so much more than a livelihood. Strong Kansas farms enable this nation to withstand any international storm; they are the core of this nation. Strong farms are a strategic resource that should be protected from crippling variances that could destroy our nation’s ability to feed itself in the event of an international food supply catastrophe. Strong farm policy is national defense.

As a farm owner myself, these issues impact me personally. I will be a voice in Washington for every Kansan who makes their living raising crops or supporting the men and women who do. I will ensure that Kansans who choose to support the core of this great nation will always have strong support in Washington.

Homeland Security

For too long, our national defense has been characterized by extreme offense, often without any kind of Congressional authorization. The Constitution is extremely clear in this regard. We need an immediate cessation of the policy of undeclared, unauthorized, and eternal warfare that has defined my entire adult life.

However, we as a nation have made promises. We have made commitments to NATO, the United Nations, and many other individual nations around the world. As a nation, we need to honor these commitments. Otherwise we send the world the message that the United States is a nation of shirkers and liars, not to be trusted.

President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt famously declared that the policy of the United States was to, “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.”  No one should ever compromise the integrity of our military, intelligence, and security agencies.  We must provide the resources that these crucial assets require.  However, we must also be realistic.  Too often politicians have approved defense spending that was not wanted or asked for by any group.  Projects which have been asked for have been allowed to balloon to completely unhealthy proportions.  This wastes vital resources that could and should be used to improve the quality of our airport security or perhaps even implement safeguards to avoid a repeat of the abuses we have seen from the NSA.

As your Congressman, I will do my best to act as a check against the abuses that are perpetrated against our nation’s defense.  I will also do my best to ensure the United States stands by our allies and to extricate the United States from treaty commitments we do not intend to honor.  Most importantly, I will do my best to ensure that the government is focused on keeping our country safe, and not being the traffic cops of the world.

Veterans

The state of our nation’s care for veterans is unacceptable. When these men and women agreed to serve their country, they were promised certain benefits for their service. These services are a national punch line, if they are delivered at all. Our veterans need what they were promised, and they need it at a level above that of a punch line. This nation also needs to provide new and evolving services to rectify unanticipated issues arising from their service. We must keep our promises to veterans.

As your Congressman, I will advocate for technology updates across all kinds of veteran’s services to combat the punchline-like inefficiency, delivery of the services our troops were promised when they agreed to serve, and better services for veterans experiencing new or historically underserved problems, such as mental health issues.

2nd Amendment

The Constitution and the Supreme Court have been clear: Americans have a right to keep and bear arms for their own defense. Any restriction of this right is unacceptable. Such restrictions are doubly unacceptable since arms and ammunition are a billion-dollar sector of the economy.

As your Congressman, I will advocate for diminished Federal restrictions on firearm use and ownership, including the use and ownership of ammunition and accessories. Such restrictions that need reexamination at the Federal level include common-sense concealed carry provisions for non-sensitive Federal property like post offices, and the repeal of the overly-restrictive 1986 machine gun ban.

Limited Government

The Constitution’s construction is quite clear that the Federal government’s powers are limited in scope. Years of jurisprudence, questionable statutes that push the envelope of Federal power, and out-of-control administrators at every level of the executive branch have pushed the envelope of Federal power far beyond the small, nimble Federal government that supports the states the founders envisioned.

As your Congressman, I will vote against legislative expanses of Federal power and take every step against creeping overreach from the Executive branch.

Fundraising

Between the explosion of PACs and Citizens United, politics have become saturated in large-scale cash. The Presidential races in the last few election cycles have seen candidates spending record amounts of money trying to buy their way into the White House.

As your Congressman, I will take every step I can in the House to drain the money out of politics, to restore sanity to politics. I am wholly committed to this philosophy: my campaign will not accept any donations of any kind. Other groups need your money more than me.

Privacy and Technology

Technology has evolved far past anything the Founders could have dreamed of in the 18th Century. This march of time and progress has been used to excuse all manner of patently unacceptable and downright horrific invasions into the privacy of the average American citizen. Many unelected administrators - and in a more horrifying development, many elected officials - would tell you that simply because a technology was unimaginable in the 1790s, that the protections built into the Bill of Rights by our Founding Fathers do not apply.

This is patently wrong. These protections are just as vital today to our legal system as they were at the time of our nation’s creation. Without a check on their power, Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies will continue to use our phones and computers as secret spies in our living rooms, flouting generations of law that insists such conduct is illegal.

As your Congressman, I will work to create and pass legislation that would bring the government's use of high-tech spying back under the purview of the Constitution, and I will work to ensure that the protections of the Bill of Rights are explicitly applied, by statute, to the cutting edge of information technology in a way no Federal agency will be able to contravene.

Environment

The environment and its health is a limited resource that must be carefully shepherded to ensure its survival for the next generation to enjoy. Kansas is famous for our wide-open spaces, clean air, and rangeland that serves as grazing space for the finest cattle in the world. Preservation and environmentally sustainable practices should be encouraged whenever possible.

However, Washington has far too often used the environment as an excuse to strangle industries that don’t toe the ideological line, or as a convenient way to commit blatant and inexcusable fraud against the American taxpayer for the benefit of their friends. Washington needs to be held accountable for their twofold failure both to protect the environment, and to protect the nation’s finances from thieves using the environment as an excuse to rob taxpayers.

As your Congressman, I will serve as a voice for common-sense environmental regulation to ensure that industries are not harmed and Kansas’s natural treasures will endure for future generations.

Energy

Much has been said about energy independence in my lifetime, and great strides have been made towards this noble goal. Kansas has invested heavily and wisely in a broad energy policy that contributes to both local and national energy independence: wind, nuclear, gas, oil, and coal, creating jobs for hundreds of Kansans in the process. This is a policy the rest of the nation should strive to emulate.

As your Congressman, I will advocate in Washington for a sane energy policy that neither ignores the innovations of alternative energy sources and upgrades to existing sources, nor goes all-in on unproven sources that are extremely profitable to the close friends of Beltway insiders at the expense of proven technologies and long-established companies. I will also advocate for greater local control of energy policy, including the dissolution of the Department of Energy.

Intellectual Property

Many great Americans have lived the American Dream because of one brilliant idea. Without strong intellectual property protections, these dreamers and innovators would have watched helplessly as the world carried their ideas to great heights without a dime of compensation.

That is the ideal of intellectual property protection: it allows the creator to retain control of an idea to their benefit. Our current system has twisted this concept, creating an environment where patents and copyright are eternally possessed property, preventing their embrace in the fabric of our shared culture.

As your Congressman, I will advocate for intellectual property laws that respect the rights of the creator, but that also embrace the necessity of the public domain and the rights of the public to decide what their culture includes.