The following is The Eagle editorial board’s recommendation for the April 11 special election for the U.S. House, District 4. We offer this recommendation as information to consider as you make up your own mind about the candidates.
Three capable candidates are vying to replace Mike Pompeo as the District 4 congressional representative. Republican Ron Estes is the best choice based on his public-service record and private-sector experience and his alignment with the values and priorities of many district residents.
Estes has served as state treasurer since 2011, winning two statewide elections. Prior to that, he served six years as Sedgwick County treasurer. He also has worked as an engineer and as a consultant in aerospace, oil and gas, automotive and other industries.
Estes has a reputation for being an effective administrator and problem solver. He looks for ways to make government more efficient and to reduce barriers to economic growth.
If elected, his priorities include balancing the federal budget and eliminating unnecessary regulations. He favors a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution and supports some of the budget cuts that President Trump has proposed.
Estes wants to reduce corporate tax rates to foster growth and encourage businesses to bring their profits back to the United States. He also supports some reductions in personal income taxes. Estes wants tax reductions to be revenue neutral, but that is much easier said than done – as we’ve seen in Kansas.
Estes favors repealing the Affordable Care Act and shifting more resources to safety-net clinics and high-risk insurance pools.
Estes is low key and affable and has formed valuable relationships with business and political leaders. His social and political views also seem to best match a congressional district that Trump carried easily last November.
Democrat James Thompson, a civil rights attorney in Wichita, is also a strong candidate. His experience with poverty as a child and his service in the U.S. Army has made him an outspoken advocate for public education and veterans issues.
Another priority for Thompson is jobs that pay a livable wage. He supports investments in infrastructure, including better internet service in rural areas.
Thompson says he will not be a Gov. Sam Brownback clone and does not want to see those same policies brought to the national level. He wants to represent the working class and not the rich and powerful.
Also running is Libertarian Chris Rockhold, a flight instructor who moved to Kansas in 2014. Rockhold wants the United States to stop fighting “unsustainable wars” and opposes corporate welfare. He wants less government in people’s lives.