All Three Candidates Participate In Forum Ahead Of Special Congressional Election

Mar 28, 2017

Three candidates vying to become the next member of the U.S. House of Representatives in Kansas’ 4th Congressional District took part in a forum at KWCH-TV in Wichita Tuesday night.

The 30-minute forum was the first time all three candidates participated together. Republican Ron Estes, Libertarian Chris Rockhold and Democrat James Thompson answered questions on such topics as health care, terrorism, immigration and the federal budget.

Asked if he supports President Trump's proposed budget, Estes said there are some things that he strongly agrees with, such as a cut to foreign aid.

"One of the things that we've done over the years is given a lot of money to a lot of countries that we thought we could convince to be our allies, but we need to make sure we that we are a little bit more introspective in terms of who we support," he said.

Rockhold said he disagrees with cutting programs that benefit Kansas.

"We do want to reduce our spending, but let's do it in a sensible manner," he said. "The new budget proposal doesn’t really reduce spending. What it does is just transfers it from social programs to a larger military budget. I think that’s the wrong message."

Thompson said he thinks Trump's proposed budget could hurt Kansas.

"We’ve seen a 21 percent drop in the agriculture budget here which is just unacceptable for people here in Kansas," Thompson said. "Now, I find it interesting that Mr. Estes is very concerned about making sure that we have reduce in debt but we’ve had a balanced budget amendment here in our constitution for years and we haven’t had a balanced budget in Kansas in a long time."

Estes responded: "You know, Mr. Thompson says we haven't had a balanced budget in Kansas and apparently he’s wrong because we have to cut spending in order to make it to June 30th each year."

The special election is April 11.

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Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

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