Iola Register - Jenkins Offers Tough Talk
Frustration is building in Kansas and across the country as gasoline fetches $4 a gallon, and no end is yet in sight for the skyrocketing prices, State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins said.
That should change, she said Thursday.
"The solution is within our grasp," Jenkins said during a campaign stop in Iola.
Jenkins, first elected as state treasurer in 2002, is one of three candidates vying to represent Iola and much of eastern Kansas in the U.S. House of Representatives. She stopped for a quick tour of Iola, accompanied by former legislative colleague Stanley Dreher.
"Having worked with Lynn in Topeka, I can vouch for her," Dreher said.
Jenkins will face five-term Congressman Jim Ryun in the Aug. 5 primary for the Republican nomination. The winner will square off in November with Democrat Nancy Boyda, who supplanted Ryun in the 2006 midterm elections. Jenkins, 45, said fuel prices and the economy have taken center stage in the political world. She offered tough words for her two opponents.
"We're in this situation because of Republicans like Jim Ryun and Democrats like Nancy Boyda who have done nothing about rising fuel costs," Jenkins said.
The Holton native proposed a multi-pronged approach to paring energy costs, the most prominent of which is an increase in domestic production.
"We need to drill," she said, citing untapped oil reserves in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge and off the U.S. coasts. "We have to do something to reduce our dependency on foreign oil."
Jenkins underscored the necessity to ramp up the use of alternative fuels especially wind, solar and nuclear power to reduce the demand on coal and oil. Tax incentives should be offered to automakers to develop alternative fuel-powered cars.
Stressing conservation will help, she offered.
THE NATIONAL DEBT, and how it affects future budgets, also is a concern, she said.
"The thought that our legacy to our children will be a $10 trillion debt sickens me," Jenkins said. "What we need is a true fiscal conservative. We need leadership, not someone who will go along just to get along."
Jenkins argues that cutting spending, without increasing taxes, is the key. Boyda, she contends, is part of the Democratic "Do Nothing" Congress unable or unwilling to rein in out-of-control spending. So-called reforms were cosmetic at best, she said.
But Jenkins' most pointed comments were set on Ryun.
"If the Democrats offered a tax and spend' policy, Jim Ryun's was borrow and spend,'" she said. "That was just as irresponsible.
"If ever there's a time to send a CPA to Washington, it's now."
Runaway federal spending, she said, was the largest failure of the Republican Congress and Ryun and played a large role in the Democratic takeover two years ago.
"He was elected on the promise that he would change Washington," she said. "Instead, Washington changed him."
Jenkins favors making permanent the tax cuts for capital gains passed during President Bush's first term, a move she contends will increase tax revenues because investors will be more willing to spend money to create jobs.
"When your economy is struggling, the last thing you want to do is raise taxes," she said.
The key to balancing the budget is to control the nation's purse strings, particularly concerning pork barrel spending, she said.
Congressmen rely on tax dollars for various pet projects, Jenkins noted, "but those only bring back pennies on the dollar. I'd rather keep the buck than have to rely on pennies." Federal earmarks should be used only for projects of great national interest, she said.
Jenkins formerly served in the Kansas Senate and Kansas House before becoming Kansas' 37th state treasurer. She was re-elected to the post in 2006.