Estes and Thompson provide informational forum

The Butler Farm Bureau hosted its third and final candidate forum at The Point Events Center in Augusta on Tuesday night.  The crowd of more than 200 voters came to see a rematch of Republican Ron Estes and his challenger Democrat Jame Thompson in a bid to represent the Kansas Fourth District in the United States House.
Tuesday’s forum was the most attended one in Augusta during the current election cycle.
Tiya Tonn, county coordinator for the local Farm Bureau, welcomed the attendees, and the questions of the evening were presented by Dick Good, BCFBA board president.
The candidates were allowed four minutes before answering several prepared questions and closing statements were made before the conclusion.
The candidates fielded questions concerning taxes, education, farm regulations, and healthcare.
Thompson, a civil-rights attorney and U.S. Army Infantry veteran, stressed the importance of protecting our nation’s veterans, expanding competition in the healthcare market, along with  his vision concerning manufacturing and Kansas rural communities.
Estes, a former engineer, shared accomplishments made over the past year and a half while serving in Congress, and called for common sense solutions.  He said in Congress, he's been part of efforts to address mental health and providing funding to improve security at public schools.
Estes told the crowd that before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, that the American healthcare system was fine with 85 % of the population covered.  That remark drew a burst of laughter from some in the crowd.
“We live in the richest country and there is no reason why every single person shouldn’t have healthcare,” Thompson said.  He added that it is time to end the for-profit corporate greed that drives our healthcare system, with special scrutiny paid to the extremely high drug prices.
The candidates agreed that the country’s immigration system is broken and security is a high priority.  Both expressed strong support of the Second Amendment.
In closing, Estes told the crowd that the two choices “couldn’t be more clear.”  He stated that his opponent wants to raise taxes and bigger government.
Thompson stressed again that “Congress is broken.  You can elect the same do-nothing Congress that you have with Estes, or  you can choose somebody who personally understands the struggles of working and middle class Kansans, and that candidate is clearly James Thompson."
Early voting began on Monday, Oct. 22 and the general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6.