Saturday, December 20, 2014

Roberts says he’s earned return trip to Washington

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 8/15/2014

If Kansans’ have a problem with Pat Roberts’ lengthy tenure in Washington, D.C., why do voters keep sending him back?

“I know that became a campaign issue,” U.S. Sen. Roberts’ said Friday during a stop in Ottawa. “I would only point out that every time I put my name on the ballots, the voters said ‘Yes, Pat, go back and do a good job.’ I think that would be at least some evidence that I’m doing a good job, or they would have never elected me.”

If Kansans’ have a problem with Pat Roberts’ lengthy tenure in Washington, D.C., why do voters keep sending him back?

“I know that became a campaign issue,” U.S. Sen. Roberts’ said Friday during a stop in Ottawa. “I would only point out that every time I put my name on the ballots, the voters said ‘Yes, Pat, go back and do a good job.’ I think that would be at least some evidence that I’m doing a good job, or they would have never elected me.”

Roberts, who defeated Tea Party challenger Milton Wolf last week in the GOP primary election, is seeking re-election for his fourth six-year term as a U.S. senator. He’ll face Democrat Chad Taylor, Shawnee County District Attorney, and independent candidate Greg Orman, an Olathe entrepreneur, in the November general election. Speaking with constituents Friday in the Ottawa Commissions Chambers at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa, he said he believes he still has the ability to help Kansans by making Washington D.C. understand Kansas values, not the other way around.

Before taking questions, Roberts updated constituents on issues facing legislators, including immigration and the U.S. involvement in Iraq.

Immigration

President Obama allowed immigrants younger than 16 to stay in the country legally, Roberts said, which was misconstrued by drug cartels in three Central America countries as a green light to send youths to the U.S.

“This was just a way for the drug cartel to entice and extort money from those people in those countries for $5,000 a piece to put their children on a train. There was no escort or anything,” Roberts said. “Allegedly they were dispersed throughout the country where people would take them in. If you continue to do that, you encourage many more people to come in all over the world.”

More than 1 million people immigrated legally into the U.S. last year, Roberts said, and it is unfair to allow immigrants to continue to enter the country illegally.

“I think probably there will be amnesty for those 66,000,” Roberts said. “I do think humanitarian repatriation is the best answer, and if you’re going to help the state of those countries, fine you can have a program to do that. But do it in that country, not here. Otherwise you’re going to have a situation where many, many more will be coming over.”

Obama’s option of an executive order highlights the political polarization in Congress, Roberts said. The president wants to use executive action to address the immigration issue because he doesn’t like working with the House of Representatives, which in turn doesn’t like working with the president, he said. As for the Senate, the chamber is completely controlled by Harry Reid, who has only allowed for a vote on nine bills in the past year, he said.

Back in Iraq

The U.S. currently faces a number of national security concerns, Roberts said, notably helping fight back against “The Islamic State,” or ISIS, in Iraq, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and Ukraine feuding with Russia, he said.

“I know the president did not want boots on the ground, but we have about 650 [already in the country],” he said.

A dilemma at the center of the conflict involves ISIS using American weaponry, while the Kurds — the group the U.S. is relying on to push back ISIS — are using Russian weaponry, Roberts said. ISIS secured the American weaponry because the U.S. left it behind for Iraqi defense forces, which fell into the Islamic army’s hands.

“I’m not advocating boots on the ground, or getting back into another 12-year effort where victory is hard to define. ... But this is a serious situation and I think it is eroding and I’m concerned about it,” Roberts said.

comments powered by Disqus