U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran recently met with Kiowa County residents, part of his town hall meetings in Kansas counties, and had a civil exchange with fellow Republicans and Democrats.
Moran spoke June 1 in the Basement-Conference Room of Kiowa County Memorial Hospital.
A person in the audience asked how economic development can be brought to the county. Moran said he often hears in communities that they have jobs, but not enough housing. He said he serves on the Banking, Housing and Urban Development Committee and chairs the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee where he can address these problems.
“I’m not capable of coming to Greensburg and saying ‘This is my plan,’” he said. “I am capable of having people come to me and say this is what we’re lacking so bring that on.”
Moran talked about the need for Supreme Court justices to interpret laws as they are written by Congress “which is still the closest representation of the people,” he said.
“If you’re going to try to influence something in this country do you think you’re going to influence the President? Do you think you’re going to influence the Supreme Court? No. Do you think you have a shot of influencing members of Congress? I think the answer to that is yes and I know that it’s yes in my circumstances.”
Hospital administrator Mary Sweet told Moran rural America deserves the same healthcare others have.
Moran said, “We all pay FICA taxes, Social Security and Medicare. They took our money from where we lived. They shouldn’t penalize us for where we live when we reach Medicare age.”
Sue Greenleaf mentioned to Moran that 40 years ago in the Republican party people were told the importance of being involved.
“Now a lot of people are willing to go to the legislators but we run into a brick wall with (Governor) Brownback and his puppets. It used to be the party on the federal level had clout with government on the state level which had clout with the local level.”
Moran said, “There is no real party. It’s disappeared. It used to be the Republican and Democratic parties agreed 80 percent of the time and came together under a pretty big tent.”
With special interests “you get pulled 50 ways instead of one,” Moran said.
Moran was asked why Guantanamo Bay, (GTMO) a U.S. military prison in Cuba cannot be closed and its prisoners get detained in this country.
Leavenworth, Kansas has been talked about as a place to house the detainees but people there do not want detainees here, Moran said.
“You might say that’s a fear factor,” he said, but added that Leavenworth could become a target for other terrorists. Foreign military officers, as well as those from the United States are trained there and officers will not want to come to where the detainees are held.
Detainees talk among themselves and it is easier to gather intelligence in GTMO than it would be in a place like Leavenworth where detainees would be spread out, Moran said.
A man in the audience said the Affordable Care Act has worked for him, allowing him to get needed medical treatment.
“I’m glad it’s worked for you,” Moran said, adding that he many times he hears complaints from other people.
“My point of view is there’s got to be a better way without creating damage to other people, to the economy and healthcare providers,” Moran said. “In my view it doesn’t work. I haven’t been a supporter, don’t intend to become a supporter of the ACA but that doesn’t mean I don’t think we shouldn’t find ways to make healthcare work better for more people including people with pre-existing conditions.”
After roughly an hour Moran had to leave to attend another town meeting but he thanked the mixed audience of Republicans and Democrats for their civil exchange.
“This is the way it’s supposed to work,” he said.