As the Great Bend obstetrician sows seeds of support from around the state, visiting his 45th county Farm Bureau meeting, lifelong politician, Tim Huelskamp, was in Washington calling for deeper cuts to farm programs in the Farm BillRead more
A challenger in this year’s race for the 1st congressional district of Kansas wants the state to return to center stage on agricultural issues.
Looking to unseat Congressman Tim Huelskamp, Roger Marshall emphasizes his credentials as a farmer and his shared concerns with Kansans working in the agricultural economy.
“I understand agriculture, and I understand business,” Marshall, an obstetrician from Great Bend, said Wednesday during a tour of Finney County Feedyard that was part of an agricultural tour of the region.
“I’m a fifth-generation farmer, I worked at a sale barn for three years, I’m part of an agriculture bank that has eight branches in the Big First, I’m feeding cattle now, I have land that we’re releasing out for pasture,” he said.
Marshall said he believes his campaign has a great chance to win because Huelskamp “has pretty much lost much favor with anybody in the state.”
“Unfortunately, we don’t have a voice anymore in the House of Representatives from this district, so first and foremost, we need someone at the table to be able to communicate the needs of agriculture,” said Marshall, who has served as vice chairman for Farmer’s Bank and Trust.
Huelskamp lost his seat on the House Agriculture Committee in December 2012, leaving Kansas without a member on the committee for the first time in more than a century. Citing Huelskamp’s ouster from the committee, the Kansas Livestock Association endorsed Marshall.
Marshall met with Jeff George, a managing partner at Finney County Feedyard, Inc., on Wednesday.
“One of our No. 1 economies here is ag, so that’s probably a first and foremost priority to get good representation at a national level,” George said.
Marshall’s visit to the feed yard northeast of Garden City was the candidate’s second to last stop on a four-day, six-community “listening tour” of Kansas’ first district. “The Big First” is comprised of 63 counties, including Finney.
Alan LaPolice, a student retention specialist from Clyde, is also in the race.
From the beginning of the election cycle to to Dec. 31, 2015, Marshall’s campaign raised more than $375,000. When the campaign filed its year-end report, it had more than $340,000 in cash on hand.
In that period, political contributions from individuals in Garden City included $2,700 from Steve O’Brate, general manager of Palmer Manufacturing; $2,500 from Cecil O’Brate, president of American Warrior Energy; $2,500 from Frances O’Brate; $2,500 from Herbert James Swender, assistant to the president of American Warrior Energy; $1,000 from Royal Farms Dairy LLC, $1,000 from William Clifford, a Finney County commissioner and physician at Fry Eye Associates; $1,000 from Luther Fry, an Ophthalmologist at Fry Eye Associates, $1,000 from Lee Reeve, owner of Reeve Cattle Co., Inc.; $1,000 from Lance Woodbury, a consultant with Ag Progress; and $473.50 from the Clarion Inn and $154.12 from Samy’s Spirits and Steakhouse, both of which are owned by Amro Samy.
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Citing U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp’s removal from the House Agriculture Committee several years ago, the Kansas Livestock Association announced Tuesday it is endorsing Huelskamp’s challenger, Roger Marshall, in the August 2016 Republican primary.
“Kansas agriculture was without representation on the last Farm Bill after nearly a century of inclusion on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. It cannot risk another Farm Bill without having a voice,” said KLA president Matt Perrier in a news release.
Huelskamp, a tea party favorite and member of the House Freedom Caucus, was removed from the committee in December 2012 after disagreements with Republican leaders, namely former House Speaker John Boehner.
The KLA declined to endorse a 1st District candidate in the 2014 race between Huelskamp and student retention specialist Alan LaPolice, of Clyde.
“Our committee didn’t find anyone in the 1st District race that was deserving of our seal of approval,” Aaron Popelka, KLA’s vice president of legal and governmental affairs, told the Associated Press last year.
LaPolice is again challenging Huelskamp, as is Marshall, an obstetrician from Great Bend. In a statement, Marshall accused Huelskamp of ignoring the cattle industry.
“Kansas cattlemen, ranchers, small businesses, and Republicans alike have watched with head-in-hand the last six years as our current representative stayed busy chasing newspaper headlines instead of paying attention to the needs of the Kansas cattle and Ag industry,” Marshall said.
Huelskamp’s campaign defended the congressman’s record on agriculture issues Tuesday.
“Unlike the wealthy CEO Marshall, Congressman Huelskamp is a fifth-generation farmer and a conservative,” said campaign spokesman Mark Kelly. “While Marshall has been cashing in on ObamaCare and promoting amnesty, Tim has consistently defended his fellow Kansas farmers against the Obama agenda, whether it is his listing of the lesser prairie chicken or his radical Waters of the U.S. rule.”
LaPolice had a more conciliatory tone Tuesday, saying the three-way Republican race “gets more exciting by the minute.”
“I appreciate that the KLA also sees a need for change in representation,” he said. “Having spent my entire life working with cattle and farming, I too want to see better advocacy for our district, not just for agriculture, but for every industry and every individual.”
The endorsement of agricultural groups is significant in the largely rural 1st District of western and central Kansas. The district is among the most conservative in the nation, traditionally granting the winner of the Republican primary an easy road to victory in November’s general election.
“Having the support and confidence of Kansas cattlemen and ranchers is essential to winning this election,” Marshall said.
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The Kansas Contractors Association endorsed Roger Marshall, Great Bend Republican running for Congress.
The group is a professional association of contractors and those who provide supplies and services to the heavy, highway and utility construction industry. It endorsed Marshall “for his interest on issues important to protecting the investment in Kansas’ roads and bridges,” the association’s press release said.
Marshall is running for the 1st District seat held by three-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler/Hutchinson. Alan LaPolice, Clyde, also is running in the August 2016 Republican primary.
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