Kansas State Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Jake LaTurner met with a handful of Garden City locals Wednesday morning as part of his Senate campaign’s week-long tour across 30 western Kansas counties.

LaTurner, who met five local residents at the Finney County Public Library on Wednesday, is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Pat Roberts, who will not run for re-election in 2020.

During the tour, LaTurner told The Telegram that western Kansans had expressed concerns about immigration, federal term limits, taxes and the country’s debt and wanted a representative who would be more transparent and stand for conservative values.

A native of Galena in southeast Kansas, LaTurner said, if elected, he would support the western half of the state by listening to the people who live there. The seat, he said, is an important one for Kansas.

“Folks are hungry for a new generation of conservative leadership,” LaTurner said.

LaTurner reviewed key talking points, including his support for term limits for federal representatives and a wall on America’s southern border.

"I don’t care if you’re a liberal or a conservative, no one can tell you with a straight face that our immigration system is working. It’s not … We have, and should have, a robust guest worker program. But when it comes to illegals crossing the border, it just isn’t working,” LaTurner said.

During a question-and-answer session, attendees told LaTurner that local residents who immigrated from other countries drive dangerously and should be required to take more driving classes, and that immigrants in the U.S. should adopt American culture, not the other way around.

LaTurner said immigrants should not have to “check (their) culture at the door” but should take part in “patriotic assimilation” to better understand the U.S.

He said the federal budget should be balanced, but not with tax increases, and the federal welfare system reformed with work requirements and drug tests. If elected, he said he would support Kansas farmers and ranchers on the Senate Agriculture Committee and live with his family in Kansas.

He said he would only support judges who are anti-abortion and support the Second Amendment and religious freedom.

In a response to a local’s question asking whether he could work with U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, he said that, while the outspoken congresswoman “thinks that the government can fix all of our problems for us and doesn’t think that individuals have rights, naturally,” he believes the federal government should be “humble.”

“I think that what I believe in, and it’s what our founders believed in, is that our rights come from God, not from the government ... ” LaTurner said. “You have those people talking like (Ocasio-Cortez) and Bernie Sanders, and saying things that it seems like more and more people are agreeing with on the coast. It seems like a growing number of people are trying to forget what makes our country special and unique. And that really bothers me.”

LaTurner said he supported Trump, particularly in regards to deregulation, tax cuts and confirming conservative justices.

“We need to continue to send people to Washington, D.C., that aren’t afraid to stand up with President Trump and defend conservative principles,” LaTurner said.


Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.