First flop — Constituents need an option to Tea Party obstructionism

5/14/2014

First flop

First flop

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp has made it official.

The Tea Party Republican is running for re-election in the 1st District that stretches across western and central Kansas, and no doubt with a plan to return with more stubbornness and reluctance to be a productive member of Congress.

At least Huelskamp will be challenged, after eluding as much in 2012. Wichita Democrat Bryan Whitney and Alan LaPolice, a Clyde Republican, have filed to run for the U.S. House seat.

Look for others to step up and file before the June 2 deadline.

The race needs candidates who have a sincere interest in serving the people of the Big First. The congressional seat is far too important to be occupied by someone with an extremist ideology who's better known for futile, obstructionist maneuvers than contributing to constructive policymaking — whether on immigration, health care or other key issues.

Dating back to his time in Topeka — where his tired, counterproductive approach saw him booted from the Kansas Senate Ways and Means Committee — Huelskamp has rejected any meaningful compromise in waging war on what the Tea Party considers wasteful spending.

Since arriving in Washington, D.C., he also got kicked off the House Agriculture and House Budget committees, leaving Kansas without a voice on the ag committee for the first time in many years.

Huelskamp wasn't removed from any committee because of his political viewpoints, though. He was dismissed due to an unwillingness to be productive in the legislative process.

Huelskamp also turned his back on constituents when he said he wouldn't answer their questions on the Affordable Care Act. While the congressman has every right to disagree with Obamacare, he has no business dismissing the people he serves in such a way.

Strangely, Huelskamp has cited fixing health care as a legislative priority — even as his political faction has failed to offer reasonable alternatives to remedy the nation's health-care woes.

Moving forward, it's all created an opening for candidates not in step with the radical Tea Party.

The question is which challenger — Republican or Democrat — would be best suited to serve the district and actually contribute to the process.

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