By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
RUSSELL -- Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, ventured back to Kansas from Washington to host a town hall meeting Thursday at Meridy's Restaurant & Lounge.
The congressman spoke to 25 attendees about the economy, federal regulations, President Barack Obama's administration and other topics.
"Today, we have the worst economic recovery," Huelskamp said. "The economy is just flat, been sitting there for five years and not creating jobs. ... I think in December, out of all the jobs it created, two out of three were part-time jobs."
The Big First District representative criticized former President George W. Bush's and Obama's approach to combating the economic downturn.
"You can't borrow, I don't think, you can't spend, you can't tax, and you can't print your money your way out of a recession," he said.
Huelskamp said the federal government has overextended its power through regulations. Federal officials want to protect the lesser prairie chicken, but the state does not agree.
"The feds want to say it's endangered," Huelskamp said. "Today, we hunt it here in Kansas."
The president has used his authority to sidestep the legislative branch, according to Huelskamp. Mandates within Obama's signature law have been changed without the consent of Congress.
"On Obamacare, the president has ignored the law 24 different times. By one count ... he has single-handedly changed the law, unilaterally," Huelskamp said. "That's a responsibility of Congress. It's a responsibility of the president to faithfully execute the laws."
The youth in America feel the brunt of Obama's policies, he said.
"I would say for young folks, they've been hardest hit under Obamacare, under our poor job market," he said. "The unemployment rate's going up, particularly in the minority community."
Huelskamp said society also is being conditioned to rely on the government.
"We have now created a system where we're putting more and more people in the case where somebody else is paying the bill," he said. "Whether it's big government, whether it's Obamacare or Blue Cross and Blue Shield."
Jenny Conn, Russell, attended the forum and said the representative is a vocal advocate for his district.
"I think he's got a lot of drive in him, a good fierce determination," Conn said. "Even though, you know, certain points people don't agree with, it's nice to have somebody who's gung-ho to represent us."