Questions of leadership drew the most sparks in a meeting of the two Republican candidates for the state's second Congressional district seat.
State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins and former Congressman Jim Ryun had a one-hour debate on KSNT-TV Tuesday night. Both said they'd fight to make the Bush tax cuts permanent; supported off-shore oil drilling and exploring alternative energy sources; and opposed amnesty policies that reward illegal immigrants.
But they sparred over leadership. Ryun said he showed leadership during his ten years in Congress, but Jenkins disagreed. In one exchange referring to energy policy, Jenkins called it a "missed opportunity," saying the time when there was a Republican-controlled Congress and Republican President was the perfect time to address such large issue. Jenkins said it was time to send someone else to Washington.
But Ryun took issue, saying he was proud of how he worked to represent the values of the second district. He pointed out Jenkins record as a state lawmaker who voted for tax increases and didn't sign a no-tax hike pledge, although she has signed one as a Congressional candidate. Jenkins responded the reason she didn't sign a pledge at the state level was because they were at the mercy of Congress handing down unfunded mandates.
The winner of their August 5th primary faces Democrat Nancy Boyda, who unseated Ryun two years ago. Both Jenkins and Ryun took issue with Boyda's work during her first term. Ryun says she is out of step with Kansas voters. He and Jenkins also pointed out their disappointment with a briefing on progress in Iraq, where Boyda stepped out of the room during a presentation by a general. However, Jenkins also took the discussions as an opportunity to point out that Ryun lost to Boyda two years ago, and if she thought he could regain the seat for Republicans, she wouldn't be in the race. Ryun countered that he is willing to stand up for Kansans.
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