James A. Thompson

Town: Wichita

Party: Democrat

Age: 47

Current job: Civil Rights Attorney

Prior elected offices: None 

1. Why are you running for a seat in the U.S. House? Elected officials on both sides of the aisle have forgotten who they represent. They are more concerned with their corporate PAC and Wall Street donors. I grew up in poverty and was homeless at one point. I understand what it is like to struggle to make ends meet. I don’t take corporate PAC money. I will fight for working class people and issues. I will fight for healthcare, infrastructure, living wages, social security, Medicare and our Veterans. The working people of this district deserve a representative who shows up and understands their problems, and who represents them in Congress.

2. Do you believe the 2nd Amendment should be modified? If so, how? If not, should there be new gun restrictions to deal with what appears to be an epidemic of mass shootings? No. The 2nd Amendment should not be modified. The ruling in the Heller decision appropriately outlines the individual right to bear arms. As an avid gun owner, I do not believe in bans, but I do believe strongly in gun safety, like I was taught by my grandfather, father and the U.S. Army. We need laws in place enforcing gun safety including universal background checks for all gun sales, private and commercial; 21 to purchase any gun; requiring gun locks with every gun sale; repealing the “Dickey” Amendment to allow the CDC to study gun violence and make recommendations.

3. How would you respond if President Trump fired special counsel Robert Mueller? Generally, what do you think of the Russia-election inquiry? Assuming no reasonable basis is given for the termination of Mueller, I would consider President Trump firing Mueller to be “obstruction of justice.” Given the high number of indictments already, and the information that has been released to the public, I think that there is more than sufficient evidence that the investigation was necessary. We cannot allow the loss of faith in our election system and we cannot allow another country to interfere with our elections.

4. Has NAFTA done more to help or hurt the U.S. economy? How would you modify such trade agreements to protect the Kansas economy? NAFTA both hurt and helped our economy. Our farmers benefited from selling their products to both Canada and Mexico, but our manufacturing sector suffered as large corporations shipped jobs to Mexico where there are lower wages and less regulation. After 25 years, we must re-evaluate and renegotiate NAFTA provisions to ensure greater worker protections and wages in all of the countries to discourage companies from outsourcing good working class jobs. Congress must reclaim its authority to impose tariffs rather than the President, to whom Congress abdicated its responsibility over the past 60 years.

5. Can you outline how Congress should reform the Affordable Care Act? The current healthcare system in the United States is unsustainable. Doctors and patients should make healthcare decisions, not insurance adjusters looking to protect the bottom line. We must transition to a system that allows everyone access to Medicare and allows Congress to negotiate drug prices. This also allows economic mobility when individuals are not tied to a job for healthcare, which is especially important to entrepreneurs, ag producers, independent contractors and young people. Providing affordable health coverage options will help to support rural hospitals and prevent further rural depopulation.

6. What is your view of the federal tax reform bill signed in late 2017 by President Trump? The Tax bill signed by President Trump did far too little for working class people and the small benefits they did receive are not permanent. Big corporations and the billionaire boys club, who don’t need tax relief, made out like bandits with 83% of the tax benefits, which are permanent. We need to give greater tax cuts to working class people and reverse the disastrous tax cuts to the large corporations which are now ballooning our deficit and national debt. We must ensure big corporations and the privileged princes of Wall Street pay their fair share of taxes. In Kansas, we’ve seen this kind of Brownback-style tax relief does not create jobs, it only creates an inefficient government.

7. How should transgender troops be integrated into the military? Or, should they be blocked from serving? I served in the Presidential Honor Guard for the U.S. Army in Arlington National Cemetery. I buried hundreds of our countries veterans and active duty personnel. When I look at those grave stones, I can’t tell who was gay, straight, transgender, black, white, Christian or Muslim. All I know is that they all served with honor and they all deserve our respect. Anyone capable of completing the mission should be allowed to serve if they are willing to do so regardless of who they love, how they look, or what they believe.

8. What do you think about including a citizenship question on the U.S. Census? The issue of citizenship on the census is irrelevant to the number of people in our country. The Constitution does not require a citizenship question. This change is a break with tradition designed to be a wedge issue that will result in less accurate data collection.

9. Should Congress move to end all federal funding to Planned Parenthood? No. Planned Parenthood provides a great number of health services to women and men in Kansas. Cutting federal funding to Planned Parenthood will result in more abortions, not fewer, because women and men will not have adequate access to education, prophylactics, and healthcare, which will result in more unplanned pregnancies. Like most people, I don’t like abortion, but I dislike even more government involvement in a women’s healthcare decisions. Medical decisions, including abortion, should be made by the individual, with counsel from doctors and family, not by our government. Women are entitled to bodily autonomy. Period.

10. How would you reform federal drug policy - from legalization of marijuana to the access to addictive pharmaceutical medicines? The war on drugs failed. We must do better. Over the past 40 years, the number of people in prison has increased from 300,000 people to 2.3 million. We currently pay more to incarcerate people than we do to educate them. Prohibition does not work. That has been proven by the attempted prohibition on alcohol. We should legalize and tax marijuana and use the additional funds to help treat addiction. Increased funding for addiction and mental health services will provide the relief our country needs to recover from the drug epidemic.