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LaPolice: Huelskamp 'makes Kansas look terrible'

By Mary Clarkin

The Hutchinson News

(MCT) Congressional candidate Alan LaPolice contends U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp's style cost him a seat on the House Agriculture Committee that Huelskamp will never get back.

"He makes Kansas look terrible. And it's not fair. This is my district and this is my state," said LaPolice Tuesday during an interview at The News. It was his second campaign swing through Hutchinson in four days.

LaPolice, 41, Clyde, is a candidate in the Republican primary in the 1st Congres-sional District. Huelskamp and Ellinwood Republican Kent Roth also are running in the Aug. 5 GOP primary but have not officially filed candidacy papers.

The LaPolice family owns a farm in north-central Kansas, and LaPolice, a military veteran, moved back from California after serving as a teacher, school principal and school superintendent there.

He said he returned every summer to the farm.

On the issues, LaPolice said:

* Health care: The Affordable Care Act is "unsustainable," but the health care compact approach the Kansas Legislature took is a "terrible idea," too.

* Take "good aspects" from the federal health law -- such as coverage for young adults and the ability to get insurance despite pre-existing conditions -- and move them into another program, he said. He would give states more authority, but he opposed the block-grant approach. "The risk to Medicare is too great," under the health-care compacts, he said.

--Federal minimum wage: "I believe we should have a living wage," he said. He is not in favor of raising the federal minimum wage. Rather, he favors "free market economics."

* Don't patronize those businesses paying employees inadequate wages, he said. A corporation can be shamed into doing the right thing, he said.

* Immigration: "The adult thing is to have the conversation," he said, and a first step is to create a "virtual wall" to increase border security. "I would never support amnesty," he said. But he would support programs to bring professionals and laborers to Kansas. He said he would ask employers in the 1st District: "What are your needs and how can we help?"

* U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio: Huelskamp "started a fight" with Boehner, and that's created a wedge. "It's a misstep to sabotage your party," LaPolice said.

* Federal agencies: "I happen to like national defense," he said, and he's glad the Department of Agriculture inspects food; the Federal Aviation Administration regulates air safety; and the Federal Election Commission oversees campaigns.

* He thinks the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service are "over-reaching" because they can in light of a "dysfunctional" Congress.

* Term limits: Three terms for a member of the House and two terms for a Senator are probably enough, he said.

* Education: LaPolice criticized the recently approved school legislation in Kansas.

* He objected to the removal of due process for teachers, and said the local option budget language will result in districts raising local property taxes.

Consider, LaPolice said, a "Chevy loyalist" who gets a new mechanic and the mechanic says the Chevy can't be fixed, and Fords don't work either, and, in fact, the entire auto industry is bad.

Maybe the problem, LaPolice said, is the mechanic.

Huelskamp is the "mechanic" in LaPolice's story.

"I would fire that mechanic, and we get to," LaPolice said.

(c)2014 The Hutchinson News