April 21st, 2019

alan lapoliceBig First candidate Alan LaPolice talks to L&T Publisher Earl Watt last week. L&T photo/Robert PierceROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times


A candidate for Kansas Big First House District was in Liberal last week, and Alan LaPolice said both Seward County and Liberal are important to him as he takes on current Congressman Dr. Roger Marshall in the November general election.

“It’s near and dear,” he said. “This is the first place that gave me a debate back in 2014, and I did it down at the Depot. I debated Tim Huelskamp, the only debate he ever gave me. I fell in love with the area back then.”

LaPolice is a fifth generation Kansas farmer, who called dairy both his vocation and trade.

“We had to sell the cows when I left the Army because without enough hands on the farm, and it was also coupled with the crisis of the ‘80s, the bottoming out of the ag markets, my dad had to sell the cows,” he said. “He kept the farm, but we still have a cow and calf operation. I’m kind of the guy in charge of the alfalfa and the hay. I did leave in ‘90 to serve in the United States military.”

As a veteran, LaPolice served in the first Gulf War, serving in one of the first battalions to engage in Operation Desert Storm.

“After my military service, I’d always come back and work the farm in the summertime, but I found that what works for me is being an educator,” he said. “I spent about 17 years total as a teacher, as a principal and as a district superintendent. I blanketed in a little bit of time working for the community college up in Cloud County.”

LaPolice, who has run for the Big First seat before, said people are more likely to remember his name because of this, and he said when he says he is not a politician, he sincerely means it.

“You see politicians do one thing that I don’t do,” he said. “They sell out. They take the money, and I had ample opportunities to take the money. Each time, I stood by my ethics, and I turned down the money and possibly gave up my race. I’ve had principles the entire time. I’ve had integrity, and that’s not something that I’ll ever give up.”

LaPolice said he is opposed to the dividing of the American people into two sides.

“We cannot divide up the nation into two sides and ever expect to come out a whole,” he said. “It is impossible. It’s something that the greatest Republican of all time fought his entire life against – Abraham Lincoln. We are as divided now as we were back in 1860, and with technology, with social media, with the regular media, that division is actually growing worse every day.”

LaPolice views himself as a traditional old-school Republican.

“I gravitate towards less government is better, but government should still be responsible, and they should be prudent with the taxpayers’ money,” he said. “Marshall wasn’t about that. He was about divide. He was about dividing up people into two camps – tribalism – and in 2016, the guy who won, he won on the premise he was going to be bipartisan.”

LaPolice said the current version of the Farm Bill is in committee looking for resolution. He believes Dr. Marshall wrote a partisan bill that was never intended to pass, and the congressman has turned farming into a partisan weapon.

“I get that there’s some bloat in the Farm Bill,” LaPolice said. “There’s some bloat in every aspect of government, and I’d like to clean it up. You don’t clean it up by handing billions of dollars to corporations and saying, ‘We’ll let you figure out the rest.’”

With tariffs currently a hot button issue, La Police expressed the need of trade for farmers.

“They’re not looking for handouts,” he said. “They’re not looking for band-aid packages like $12 billion bailout money. They’re looking for trade. NAFTA was trade. NAFTA was good trade, and right now, Roger Marshall’s blowing up NAFTA. The Trans Pacific Partnership could’ve been good trade, and they’ve failed.”

LaPolice said he is not blaming President Trump for the trade situation, but rather Congress because he believes lawmakers are in charge of trade.

“Farmers right now are suffering,” he said. “Farm consolidation, farm concentration is the greatest threat to farming, greatest threat to Western Kansas, and while that’s happening, while Chapter 12 bankruptcies are at the highest they’ve ever been and Kansas is No. 1 for farm bankruptcies, (Marshall) is out there raising money in Wichita, raising money in Kansas City, bragging about the economy.”

Many political leaders have made an effort to cross the aisle in attempt to reach compromises on legislation, only to be burned when it comes to election time. This has made many afraid to work toward compromise, and this is something LaPolice believes needs to change.

“If you’re too cowardice to do the job that we give you because you’re afraid of the next election cycle, stay home, don’t run,” he said. “I’m not afraid of losing. If I get elected, I go there and I’m true to my word and if I get beat in the next race, I’m going to be the best one-term congressman Kansas has ever seen,” he said. “What I won’t be is a coward. I will never be that. I wasn’t afraid to challenge Tim when I thought he wasn’t doing things right. I prefer Tim to Roger right now. I wasn’t afraid to challenge Roger outside my party. I did that, and I’m not afraid to challenge him now.”

For the most part, LaPolice said he stands with the work Trump has done in nearly two years in office, and he believes lawmakers need to also get on board with the president.

“He wants to make America great, and he wants to give us affordable health care,” he said. “He wants to stabilize trade markets, and he wants to pass immigration reform. The greatest thing we could give him, the greatest thing we could give this presidency is a Congress that knows how to do its job.”

LaPolice said if Marshall wants to remain in office, he needs to change his direction.

“You’ve got your own specialized job Roger Marshall, and your job is to represent Kansas,” he said. “In the trade war, are you representing Kansas, or are you simply just saying, ‘Farmers are patriots?’ You’re not a farmer Roger. Why are you asking us to be patriots? You’re not a patriot.”

LaPolice said when others are looking to run for office, they could take a page from his campaign.

“I may not appeal to everybody, especially running the race the way I’m running it, but if you look beyond that, I’m running the race that somebody should,” he said. “They’re not pledging loyalty to anybody or any party. They’re pledging loyalty to the Constitution. They’re pledging loyalty to the voters, the people, and that’s always been me. My campaign never changed. You want to drain the swamp? Let’s start right here.”

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