KSNT News Political Analyst Dr. Bob Beatty sits down with Republican 2nd Congressional District candidate Dennis Pyle for an interview regarding his campaign.
Beatty: I’m here with Dennis Pyle who is running in the republican primary for the second district congressional seat, dennis thanks for visiting us here. Let’s get right to it. You ran for this seat in 2010 in the primary, you got 43 percent of the vote actually, so do you think congresswoman lynn Jenkins did a good job because you ran against her and is there something you wanted to improve when you ran then?
Pyle: Well if you recollect Bob, I ran in 2010 based on the fact that we had a congressperson representing our district that was a little bit voting in a different way that what the people of this district follow, she wasn’t voting on life issues correctly, she was not, had a record of being wrong on second amendment issues, and we ran hard on those issues and pounded those issues and for eight years following that she voted correctly and we believe holding people that are elected accountable is something that needs to happen, it took a lot of work and a lot of time and effort for us to do that but we made connections with the second district that are relevant to this race and today all that leather that was laid down in 2010 is paying off and we and we think that that puts us in a great position in this election for where we’re at.
Beatty: Now there’s a video on your youtube site and I’ll quote you, you said when you get elected as a conservative, the establishment immediately tries to get you to compromise your principles, unquote. Now, from basically 2010 to 2016, one could argue or maybe you disagree that Kansas state government was conservative across the board but you’re saying maybe it was not as conservative as people say it was.
Pyle: Well if you look at the growth of government even at the state level, I don’t consider conservative growth by any means, I mean Kansas has raised taxes in 2013, 2015, and 2017 respectively, I’ve opposed all those tax increases which are due to the fact that there is no control over spending, people want to grow government that are in the legislature and they tend to have a bad habit of spending and I’d like to see some restrictions put on to where we tie it to something that says our state government is limited in how much it can grow, we haven’t seen that happen, and this last year for instance if I can go to state government as an example, the bi-annual budget went from 6.1 to 7.2 billion dollars which I don’t know a business in Kansas that can grow at that rate or any individual or family that can grow at that rate. And I think it’s out of place when government grows faster than those entities can, so.
Beatty: Now when we look at the federal budget as you well know, we’re talking some big money in terms of the debt and on your web videos you talk about that and so the first question I have is given that the debt just keeps rising and rising, I think it’s 21 trillion dollars now, is it, does the debt even matter and second, given the record of democrat and republican congress people of the last number of years in the second district, can voters trust any candidate that they’d be able to do something about the debt if they got elected?
Pyle: I think yes the debt does matter and I do think they can trust Dennis Pyle and if you look at my record over the time that I’ve put in the legislature, my rhetoric matches my record, I ran when I first ran telling people that I would be a fiscal conservative, I am the only candidate in this race that has opposed and fought every tax increase and I can say that honestly and openly and anyone can check my record. I also ran as a social conservative and I have a 100 percent voting record with Kansans for life and I also said I would be a strong advocate for second amendment rights and I have an A rating after 16 years in the legislature on that so I think when it comes to the fact does your rhetoric line up with what you campaigned on, my record does match my rhetoric and we’ve been speaking to that effect to people in the district and we like to point out too, you know, I don’t work for leadership in state government and I’m not intending to work for leadership in Washington, I will work with them and there’s a difference between working with them and working for them and I think I exemplify that difference in the fact that I stick to what I have told the people in the constituency in my district and I will do the same in Washington.
Beatty: So you’re saying and I don’t want to put words in your mouth, that you’re willing to defy party leadership if you have to.
Pyle: Absolutely, yes, I will not, I will stand on principle and the things that I’ve told the voters in this election that I will do are the things that I will do and stand for.
Beatty: Now the federal budget, the discretionary spending is only 34 percent, there’s a lot of entitlements in there and of that, defense is 55 percent of the 34 percent, are there some areas of the federal budget of that relatively smaller piece of the pie that you could see that could be cut, you talk about cutting the budget.
Pyle: Yeah and let’s talk about definition of terms a little bit because people used to word cutting when technically they’re really saying let’s just reduce the growth, I think there is room for real cuts, we have programs, entitlements that need to be addressed and I think some of the things that they’re looking at for work reform and work requirements for some of those programs are good things that need to be addressed and those work requirements could fall in the realm of community benefit to where they’re doing community service and helping out. There’s a lot of things that could be looked at to reform and to make it better, but I do think there are places where government can get leaner and become a lot more efficient. Is it reality to say we can cut government? It’s going to take more people like Dennis Pyle getting elected to Washington to make that happen because I’ve seen that at the state level too. Like I said earlier, the spending habits are real, there are those that just simply cannot say no and we have to be able to say no. We have a limited budget, we have a limited amount of revenue, we have families out here working and business working to provide government the revenue that we have and we should always, always look at it and say are we living within our means, the last thing we should do is be going to raise taxes and the federal government not only can raise taxes, they can print money and so we have a real problem in Washington with spending and I do think we can address that and I think that wasteful spending and efficiency are things that we should absolutely look at to reform the federal government.
Beatty: Second district has quite a few farmers lot of soy bean farmers, some of them are a little worried a trade or tariff war that even could benefit the entire country though could hurt the second district. What do you tell those farmers if they express that apprehension?
Pyle: Well you know I am a farmer. I do have soy beans, I have corn and we have some cattle. I look at the tariffs kind of in the sense of the president is really concerned about our trade deficit and I think he’s trying to do what is necessary to bring back some of the balance in trade and as a farmer and as I talk to other farmers, most farmers are like, let’s see where we’re going with this, I’m willing to do my part, let’s make sure everybody’s doing their part and I think they kind of, they tell me they want to see the end game a little more, but this president is a dealmaker and so let’s see what he does, let’s give him a shot and I’m willing, I’ve watched beans come down, tumble two dollars in the last thirty days or so and that’s difficult because it’s your bread and butter, it’s your livelihood but I think we’re all in this together as Americans and I think that if we want to make our country great again, then we have to deal with the trade deficit, we have to deal with the deficit spending in the budget and we have to get the debt under control, because I have five grandchildren Bob and when I first ran it was my daughter that I was concerned about, we have six daughters and today, I just came, I just saw one of my daughters right before I came to the station, and I want her to have the same freedoms and liberties as I do, and I think that it’s time that we start dealing with, especially the foreign policy and the trade deficit. We’ve got to deal with it, I’m glad to see, and I think most farmers in this district are glad to see the president is willing to step up and for a change take some actions to deal with these issues.
Bob: We have time for one more question, and I think this is an interesting one. The second district, I think is fascinating. Donald Trump won the second district very easily but then Paul Davis, a democrat won by six points over Sam Brownback, a republican. So what’s your take on the second district and how do you fit in as a candidate arguing you are the candidate for this district?
Pyle: How do I fit in in the second district?
Beatty: Given this district voted for Paul Davis, a democrat but also voted for Donald Trump, a republican in two separate election.
Pyle: And just to kind of look at the race for a second, if we back up, yes, Davis won by six points but three points went to a third party candidate named, anyway the candidate in that race, and I believe that candidate was fairly conservative so if you throw that three points in between Brownback and Davis, Davis marginally won by three percent. That was more a referendum on the governor, I think, I do think this district’s more conservative that what that election shows and I think I fit in well. I represent seven counties in Northeast Kansas, we have an urban, rural mix and I think it’s very similar to what the second district is with its urban rural mix, you listen to everyone again you campaign stating your principles, and your ideologies and then you stick with that and that’s what I plan on doing. I’m going to make sure my record will match my rhetoric and sometimes it’s interesting when I look at the district as to how much rural area there really is, it’s from the Oklahoma border to the Nebraska border, as you know, and I’ve traveled it a lot and it’s reflective of my values. I think that we will do a good job representing the second district.
Beatty: Alright well a reminder that the primary is August 7th and thank you so much for visiting with us.
Pyle: Thank you for having me, Bob.