Endorsements: Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House

Endorsements: Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House

The Wichita Eagle

U.S. Senate

Based on his positive agenda and commitment to reject partisan politics, independent Greg Orman is the best choice for U.S. Senate.

Like most Kansans, Orman is sick of the gamesmanship and gridlock in Washington, D.C. Too many senators are more concerned about getting re-elected and scoring political points than moving our country forward. He correctly faults both parties and their leaders for the dysfunction – pledging, if elected, not to vote for either Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., or Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for majority leader.

“We need to get Washington back in the business of solving problems,” said Orman, a successful investor and businessman.

Contrary to the claims in the millions of dollars’ worth of negative ads run against him, Orman is candid and a centrist. National conservative political columnist George Will marveled that Orman “discusses policy problems with a fluency rare among Senate candidates and unusual among senators,” adding that “the Senate’s intellectual voltage would be increased by Orman’s election.”

Orman’s priorities include lowering the nation’s debt ratio, improving health care affordability and reducing regulations on small businesses. Kansas priorities include avoiding some of the military cuts mandated by the budget sequester, reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs, and reauthorizing federal transportation funding.

He supports the Senate immigration reform bill that was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Kansas farm organizations and many Kansas mayors. Last week he announced a plan to ease student debt and limit college tuition increases.

“I do not intend to be a silent soldier for either the Democrats or Republicans,” Orman said last week. “I am going to stand for a better way, a new course in the Senate, and work with senators of any party who are willing to stand for commonsense real solutions to our problems.”

That’s what is needed in Washington.

Republican Pat Roberts has had a long and distinguished career in Congress, serving in the U.S. House from 1981 until 1997 and in the Senate ever since. He chaired the House Agriculture Committee and has been a go-to member of the delegation when Kansas needed something done. That’s why The Eagle editorial board has endorsed him over the years.

But Kansans aren’t sure who Roberts is anymore. In an unsuccessful attempt to fend off a tea party challenge, Roberts veered to the far right this year, even voting against the farm bill and funding for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan. He has pandered to the ugly extreme on immigration and betrayed former Sen. Bob Dole in voting against a disability rights treaty.

Though Roberts has been known for his good-natured wit, he now seems mean-spirited. When asked at a recent debate to say something nice about Orman, Roberts didn’t. Many of his campaign ads – both in the primary and general election – have been downright awful.

Even worse, Roberts can’t seem to communicate why he should be re-elected, other than to repeat – as he did ad nauseam during debates – that he will oppose Harry Reid and President Obama. Shouldn’t Kansans expect more than that?

Recent reports that Roberts missed nearly two-thirds of the Senate Agriculture Committee hearings during the past 15 years also raise doubts about how committed he is to the job.

The best argument for sending Roberts back – and it’s compelling – is that there is a strong possibility he could become chairman of the agriculture committee. That would be very valuable to Kansas, particularly after Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, got kicked off the House Agriculture Committee.

But being a senator is not an entitlement, and voters shouldn’t reward the ugliness and shallowness of Roberts’ re-election campaign.

Kansans should thank Roberts for his long service but choose Orman.

The third candidate is Libertarian Randall Batson.

http://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article3354627.html

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