In a Wichita hangar stop Thursday night, Vice President Mike Pence urged Kansans to elect Kris Kobach as governor so he can bring Trump administration policies on taxes and immigration to the state level.
“I was for Kris Kobach before it was cool,” Pence said, praising the Kansas secretary of state for his role in helping Donald Trump get elected president.
“He was right there in the middle of that campaign,” and has since been a valued adviser to the administration on immigration policy, Pence said.
Pence hailed Kobach as “literally one of the most effective secretaries of state in America,” praising his work in proposing and defending Kansas laws that require proof of citizenship to register to vote and government photo ID to cast a ballot.
“The truth of the matter is he’s going to bring the kind of leadership President Trump has brought to our nation’s capital,” Pence said.
About 300 people attended the dinner event in a hangar at Air Capital Flight Line, part of the former Boeing aircraft factory complex in southeast Wichita.
The locally restored World War II B-29 bomber, affectionately known as “Doc,” was parked behind the podium for the backdrop of the event.
Both Kobach and Pence praised the plane as a symbol of American power and Kansas strength.
Pence has a family tie to McConnell Air Force Base, which is adjacent to the Flight Line complex. His wife Karen was born on base when her father was serving there and, he said, asked him to bring back lots of pictures.
“She hasn’t been back yet,” he said. “I beat her here.”
During his turn on the stage, Kobach promised cuts in income and sales taxes and a 2 percent limit on annual property valuation growth.
He also promised to end in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants at Kansas universities and colleges.
And he vowed to fight for a change in rules of the state Legislature to require recorded votes in committee meetings and set term limits for legislators.
“Look, there’s some great legislators up there, but no legislator is irreplaceable,” Kobach said.
In the leadup to the speeches, The Rev. Paul Bemmel, associate pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, delivered an invocation in which he declared Trump and Pence to be divinely ordained to their positions in government. He asked that God “confuse, scatter and bring to ruin the ambitions of any who seek to further the sacrifice of children (by abortion) to the worthless idols of Moloch.” Moloch was a Canaanite pagan god mentioned in the Old Testament, whose followers were known for sacrificing their firstborn children.
Both Kobach and Pence called for outlawing abortion and criticized Democratic candidate Laura Kelly for being in favor of abortion choice.
Kobach is locked in what is expected to be a close race with Kelly, a state senator from Topeka, and Greg Orman, an independent candidate and Johnson County businessman.
One of the big reasons for the vice presidential visit was to raise money to help Kobach through the final weeks of the campaign leading up to the Nov. 6 election.
It cost $150 for a dinner ticket to attend Pence’s public remarks.
For $10,000, heavy hitters got to stick around for a private “policy roundtable” with the vice president.
The $10,000 donations went to the Republican Governors Association to help elect GOP gubernatorial candidates nationwide.
Kobach’s campaign gets to keep proceeds from the dinner and a “click line” where supporters could have their picture taken with Kobach and Pence, according to Kobach spokeswoman Danedri Herbert.