Rep. Mike Pompeo told a friendly crowd Tuesday that he wants another term in Washington to continue work on cutting government spending and taxes.
The public appearance at Col. James Jabara Airport was the congressman’s Wichita stop on a three-day tour of the district to launch his re-election campaign.
“I went to Washington, D.C., with a mission to shrink the size and the scope of our federal government,” he said in a news conference following his speech. “We’ve made some progress in slowing down that rate of growth and in some cases reducing pieces of discretionary spending. But we’re still going to have a budget next year with a trillion dollars too much spending. We’ve got to bring it back and I want to be part of working to do that.”
In his speech, Pompeo, a Republican, complimented his party’s presidential challengers for taking risky stands on politically thorny issues, such as Mitt Romney coming out against mortgage assistance to stave off foreclosure for homeowners whose property values dropped in the housing bust.
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“This is a political challenge, this is a leadership challenge, this a challenge of us going and talking to the American people honestly and in a straightforward way saying that the time is here, we’ve got to fix it, we’re all going to be a part of the solution,” he said. “And I am confident that we can get there.”
Pompeo also called for systemic changes in taxes and entitlement programs.
“We have to attack entitlements in a way that makes sense,” he said. “We’ve got to reform them. We’ve got to fix Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. . . . . It’s a wonderful program. We need to make sure and protect it for current seniors like my father, who’s in his 80s, but we’ve got to make sure we fix it so it’s around for the next generation as well. And that is really the task we will face (in) the next Congress.”
The audience at Tuesday’s event was made up almost entirely of Pompeo supporters, volunteers, staff and at least three state legislators.
Pompeo did not take audience questions as he did Monday in Goddard, where Mayor Marcey Gregory, a Democrat, challenged his stance in favor of repealing the national health-care law passed by Congress last year.
No other candidates have surfaced thus far to challenge the freshman representative and Pompeo’s supporters are confident he’ll win re-election.
“I think he appeals to a constituency that is grass-roots people,” said John Todd, a local free-market activist.
State Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Bel Aire, characterized Pompeo as a “plain-talking straight shooter.
“I know that sounds trite, but I approve of the fact that he’s candid and that he’s honest with people.”