Congressional candidate James Thompson visited Pratt last weekend and shared his insights about what kind of leadership is needed in Washington D.C.
James Thompson believes in fighting for women's equality, supporting veterans with programs that work, putting an end to trickle-down economics, making corporations pay their fair share of taxes, properly funding education, protecting gun rights and taking the time to talk with and listen to voters in his constituency. The Kansas candidate for Congress met with constituents in Southcentral Kansas on Friday and Saturday, and spent some time visiting with Mark Bennett of St. John at a community picnic for special education cooperative members in Pratt.
“We used to be a country where one party and one vote meant something, now it’s one dollar, one vote,” Thompson said. “We need to get back to making common-sense solutions regardless of what party one belongs to. I’m registered as a democrat but I’ve pissed off people on both sides of the aisle. I believe in doing the right thing no matter what.”
Thompson expanded on his views on several issues including equality for women.
“Today, women still earn anywhere from 22 to 46 percent less than their male counterparts in 99.6 percent of all occupations, causing forty-two million women to fall into poverty and take their children with them. Women pay $1 billion more in health insurance premiums,” he said. “I believe women should make their own healthcare decisions and should be treated with equal respect, dignity and opportunity under the law.”
Thompson said that in Congress he would fight to ensure the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment as it would boost momentum to guarantee women equal rights and protection under the constitution.
Concerning veterans’ rights, Thompson said, as an infantry serviceman and member of the Presidential Honor Guard, issues of veteran healthcare and homelessness, as well as PTSD and other mental illness were very close to his heart.
“The military gave me the tools to bring myself out of homelessness and poverty,” he said. “I believe if we are going to send our men and women in uniform to war, we must fund treatment of their physical and mental wounds when they come home.”
Thompson also said he believed congressmen should operate more efficiently with seat term limits, patterning length of time after military officers who either earn the status to move up, or get out.
“Our governmental system was meant to be a service to our county,” he said. “It’s screwed up right now because our elected officials spend a greater portion of their time on the phone raising money to secure their seats than they do working to solve the problems voters elected them to office to take care of. If you are up there, then you work, otherwise go home.”
Thompson said the current protocol of unlimited terms for Senators and House Representatives had created an unsustainable system that revolved around money, not honor and integrity.
“Our economic system is nothing more than government officials pissing on your heads and not have the courtesy to send a memo that it’s not rain,” he said. “It’s time for trickle-down economics to go, and time for big corporations to pay their fair share instead of sticking the working middle class with all the taxes.”
Thompson said an educated populace would benefit everyone in America and restore confidence in pursuing the American dream. As it is now, college education is too expensive and graduates come out laden with so much debt they are not able to get out from under it. Many more don’t even have the option to pursue a better path because of the high cost of a four-year degree.
“State and local government spending on jails and prisons has risen at more than three times the spending on education in the last two and a half decades,” he said. “Rather than investing in our kids, we prepare far too many of them for failure and incarceration. This school to prison pipeline must be cut and destroyed.”
Thompson emphasized the need to train young people to fill skilled positions and pay wages that allow a person to live and not just struggle to make ends meet.
“Wages need to be higher,” he said. “The cost of living never goes down, wages need to keep pace.”
As far as gun control, Thompson said he did not believe time and money needed to be spent on more unenforceable laws.
“We need to teach people to respect guns and learn how to safely use them,” he said. “I don’t believe in bans. I don’t believe to taking anyone’s guns away. I grew up with guns and if I didn’t handle mine properly I got walloped across the back of the head. In the military you are required to learn all about a gun, how to take it apart, what it can do, how to carry it and take care of it, long before you are ever allowed to carry one. That is how it should be for everyone. Safety courses should be required.”
Gun violence in school could be stopped if parents or guardians were more responsible for the actions of their children.
“If your kid gets a gun and hurts someone, then you go to jail,” Thompson said. “Parents need to step up and be responsible for their children. It’s as simple as that.”
Simple, common-sense solutions seem to be Thompson’s mantra as he enters the final months of campaigning for a position in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at his website www.votejamesthompson.com or by phone at his campaign office (316) 202-4240. His campaign headquarters are 555 N. Woodlawn, Building 1, Suite 130, Wichita, KS 67208.
Bennett expressed support for Thompson and his campaign on May 4.
“We’re all Americans,” he said. “We are here for one goal, to make our country better for our families and our children. I am behind you all the way.”