U.S. House Representative seeks Senate seat
Obstetrician-turned-politician Rep. Roger Marshall of Great Bend has been endorsed by retiring Kansas Senator Pat Roberts over 10 Republican senatorial hopefuls in Marshall’s first bid to serve Kansans in the U.S. Senate.
“It’s truly humbling,” Marshall said in a telephone interview with The Pratt Tribune. “Roberts almost never endorses anybody in the primary.”
Marshall has also been endorsed by retired Kansas statesman Robert Dole who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969 and in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1996.
Since entering the political arena in his first bid for office four years ago, fifty-nine-year-old Marshall has served as U.S. Representative for Kansas’s First Congressional District.
Marshall said his decision to run for a U.S. Senate seat, rather than seek reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives, is based on the powers granted to the two legislative bodies by the U.S. Constitution.
“Senators have a wider range of influence, including confirming Supreme Court judges and federal judges, and I think my background lends itself to doing that,” Marshall said.
Marshall said another motivating factor in his bid to succeed Roberts is political and is based on his goal for the Republican party to maintain its majority power.
“Barbara Bollier is favored to win the Democratic nomination for the senate seat,” Marshall said. “And I’m the Republican candidate who can beat Bollier in the general election and keep the Republican majority in the Senate.”
Marshall said the current political environment in the nation’s capital also gives him motivation to serve in the U.S. Senate to allow him to keep standing by President Donald Trump.
“I’m also the only person running who can sort heifers and steers,” Marshall said. “And why that’s important is that 40 per cent of Kansas economy is run by agriculture and we need to make sure we have a voice there.”
Marshall said he is gratified that he has been endorsed by Kansas Farm Bureau and is considered the "ag" candidate for Kansas.
Another asset Marshall said he brings to the Senate table is his seven years of military service with the Army Reserve from 1984 to 1991, reaching the rank of captain.
“I think that understanding and grasping the role of the military is vitally important,” Marshall said. “I’ve been there, so I can do that.”
“Fully funding the military was one of my priorities and we’re keeping our promise to our veterans,” Marshall said. “Just last week I saw that the veteran approval rating for the current Veterans’ Administration was up from 50 to 90 percent, including more care in hometowns.”
Marshall also considers his experience as a physician helping run a hospital an asset he would bring to the Senate in making decisions regarding health-related issues, including the coronavirus pandemic.
Reflecting on the economic and emotional impact of COVID-19 on Kansas constituents, Marshall expressed empathy.
“I know what people go through,” Marshall said. “I’ve got an affection for what hard-working Kansans go through.”
As he turned his focus to the Kansas agricultural community, Marshall said he met with President Trump and with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture George Ervin “Sonny” Perdue on several occasions regarding hardships the Kansas agricultural community is facing.
“I’ve tried to get aid for farmers and ranchers during these tough times,” Marshall said.
“But my optimism comes from the United States Mexico Canada Trade Agreement, which became effective July 1,” Marshall said. “It’s just now starting to come online because COVID closed it down. China’s buying quite a bit of agricultural products and we expect the beef market to Japan and South Korea to grow by 10 percent.”
Marshall said he is also optimistic about the Kansas bio-fuel industry which produces ethanol from crops, including sorghum/milo, soybeans and sunflower oil.
“More and more ethanol is being used,” Marshall said. “People recognize that, hey, it’s about a dime a gallon cheaper and gets better gas mileage and leaves less of a carbon footprint --and what’s really coming into fruition is bio-diesel.”
Marshall said the 2018 Farm Bill which he helped formulate is already making an impact on Kansans.
“The Farm Bill is so much more than just crop insurance,” Marshall said. “The Farm Bill is also bringing broadband internet access to rural areas, financing water infrastructure and support for rural hospitals.”
“Also, I’m running for U.S. Senate to make sure my kids and grandkids and your kids and grandkids get the same shot at the American Dream that I got –a chance to pursue their dream,” Marshall said. “I’m very proud of this country and its heritage and I want to keep it safe for future generations of Kansans.”
As an obstetrician, Marshall said he welcomed more than 5,000 babies into the world. “So YES!, I’m Pro-Life!”
Primary election day is Tuesday, August 4.