GOP frontrunners battle in 3rd Congressional
Considered the frontrunners among the nine candidates for the Republican nomination for 3rd District Congress, Patricia Lightner and Kevin Yoder each listed the economy, new health care legislation and cutting back federal government as the biggest issues in this election.
City of residence: Olathe
Family: Husband, David, daughters Isabella and Caterina
Political offices held: 29th District state representative (Overland Park), 1998-2004
Other experience: Enforcement attorney with the Federal Aviation Administration; litigation attorney with Resolution Trust Corporation; five years as vice president in state government relations with global bank HSBC.
City of residence: Overland Park
Family: Wife, Brooke
Political offices held: 20th District state representative (Overland Park and Leawood) since 2002
Other experience: chairman, House Appropriations Committee; chairman, House General Government Budget Committee; Judiciary Committee member; and member of the Overland Park Rotary Club; Johnson County Bar Association Board of Directors, and Kansas City University of Kansas Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Lightner rates the economy and fiscal responsibility in government as the top issues of this campaign.
“We need to grow the economy by cutting taxes, and we need the government to quit spending money, because when the government spends money they take it from the private sector,” she said.
She cited the stimulus spending and funds for the new health care legislation as examples of wasteful spending. She also said Congress shouldn’t be able to operate without a budget and should be required to use zero-based budgeting.
“We need to put a balanced budget amendment in place; I think that would help with fiscal responsibility,” she said.
Health care concerns
Lightner is in favor of serious reforms for the recently-passed health care legislation, having signed pledges to defund and repeal it. She said it was not enough to go in and repeal certain portions of the legislation, as some other candidates have suggested.
She said for health care, she would support including free-market, open-competition principles that would allow people to purchase insurance across state lines and give them a tax deduction for buying health insurance. She said she would like to come up with a system that would allow small businesses to provide insurance with the same low rates larger businesses receive, and include portability, allowing people to take their health insurance with them when they lose their jobs.
Lightner also listed national security as one of the top issues at this time. She suggests finishing the border fence in Arizona, using electronic surveillance and increasing the National Guard’s presence along the border.
Spending for the military and for border security were the two exceptions Lightner said she would make — otherwise, she said reductions should be made to 2005 spending levels in all areas.
A final important area for Lightner is shrinking the federal government and respecting states’ rights.
“They’re getting into so many areas that are not what the Founding Fathers intended,” she said. “Those powers that aren’t specifically defined in the Constitution should be left to the states and their people to decide, and that includes health care, and that includes the government not owning car companies.”
Lightner said she thinks that if elected, there will be a good base of fellow congressional members to help her reach her goals, and she hopes elections in other states will only help.
“We should not only have a Republican majority, but we should have enough Republicans in that majority to get things undone,” she said.
Yoder agreed the most critical issue currently is the economy. Unemployment, declining value of investments and general anxiety are all due to uncertainty about the future.
“In Washington I plan to put people back to work by cutting spending, cutting taxes and getting government out of the way of the small businesses that will push our economy to new heights,” he said.
Yoder said he would push for legislation that would create private-sector jobs and would encourage investment with targeted economic development initiatives, such as supporting the National Cancer Institute designation for the Kansas University Hospital.
Yoder also agreed the recently passed health care legislation should be defunded, saying Congress needs to go back to the drawing board.
“More government bureaucracy and control is not the solution, and we cannot continue to run up the deficit and spend money we don’t have,” he said.
Yoder said he would promote market-based health care reform that will empower consumers, reduce costs and improve quality.
Part of the solution to help shrink the federal government is addressing its larger programs, Yoder said. He said the majority of federal entitlement spending was tied up in Social Security and Medicare, and in the coming decades, the predicted growth in these services would be difficult to sustain.
“We can work to control the expansion of these programs by using market-based solutions to lower costs, and encouraging individual ownership of health care and retirement spending,” he said.
Yoder said he would oppose liberal economic policies currently found in Congress that seek to continue to expand and create new entitlement programs without the ability to pay for them.
“The best solution is twofold: We must control the costs of entitlement spending while promoting strong economic growth in the private sector,” he said.