PITTSBURG, Kan. — Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS 1st District), who won the GOP nomination earlier this month in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), stopped in Pittsburg on Thursday to meet with the Pittsburg State University College Republicans at Chatters.
Marshall also discussed some of the latest developments in his campaign in an interview with the Morning Sun.
"I think the main purpose right now, our main goal is to go around the state and unify the party," Marshall said. "All these great folks have been working hard in the primary and obviously we weren’t everybody’s first choice, but we did really well, and now we want to make sure that all those folks know that they’re welcome, that there’s room in the tent for them. I want to make sure that I’m listening to those folks and make sure that they have a voice as well."
As he has traveled the state, the biggest concern he is hearing from people "is they want their American dream back," Marshall said. "They want to know when they can go back to work. When can their kids go back to school? What does the new normal look like? When can they have their job back?"
Marshall also discussed his Democratic general election opponent in the U.S. Senate race, Kansas Sen. Barbara Bollier.
"I think we need to make sure that folks realize that she is part of a liberal party that wants to take away control of your healthcare, that she is part of a party that wants to control the energy policy and control the economy, more government control, whereas we believe in more self-control and self-determination," he said.
Earlier in the day Thursday, news broke that Steve Bannon, formerly a top adviser to President Donald Trump, had been arrested along with three others on charges related to alleged fraud involving a group called "We Build The Wall," which also has close ties to Kris Kobach, the former Kansas Secretary of State and Marshall’s former primary opponent.
Marshall said Thursday he didn’t yet know what to think about Bannon’s arrest.
"I think there’s some more facts to come out," he said.
Marshall is both in favor of building the wall promoted by President Trump along the U.S.-Mexico border, however, as well as "fixing a broken immigration system," he said.
"We need to build the wall and secure the border not only for immigration purposes but also because of drug trafficking and human trafficking," he said.
On the issue of negotiations for a new coronavirus stimulus package, Marshall said his top two concerns include liability protections for decision-makers such as school superintendents as well as employers.
"The other concern that I have that I hear from business owners is that they can’t get people to come back to work," he said. "The unemployment rate’s dropped to 7 percent, but the government’s been paying people $25 dollars an hour to not come back to work, so we need to wind that down somehow, some way."
If those two issues can be addressed, he said, it should be possible to negotiate another stimulus package with Democrats in Congress.
Progress is being made in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and developing a COVID-19 vaccine, Marshall said, adding that when a vaccine becomes available, whether to take it should be a voluntary decision.
Marshall said Kamala Harris, former vice president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s official pick for his running mate following the Democratic National Convention this week, reminds him of Bollier.
"They’re both claiming to be moderates but they both have very liberal voting records. I think the other part of this is America needs to take a close look at what the platform for the Democrats is," he said. "They want the federal government to be in charge of your healthcare, they want the federal government to be in charge of the economy, they want late-term abortions, they want to take away your guns."
Marshall also commented on the recent controversy regarding the U.S. Postal Service, saying there were problems that needed to be fixed but he does not favor making major changes prior to the election.
"They have the money to get them through March 2021," he said. "I don’t want it to be politicized. I want good mail service. I want a free, fair election. I don’t want any fraud with the election either, and I think there’s a way to do both."