Aaron Jack, Pompeo’s campaign manager, introduced Pompeo, pointing out that Pompeo has successfully run companies in two of our largest local industries: aviation and oil and gas. Pompeo also served as trustee of the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy (now the Kansas Policy Institute), helping to formulate public policy in Kansas.
As he has before, Pompeo presented the bottom line as to why he’s running for Congress: “Our federal elected officials have fundamentally lost their way, have become disconnected from our United States Constitution, and frankly don’t understand the challenges we face in the fourth district of Kansas.” He said he has the experiences, work ethic, integrity, and willingness to fight hard for Kansas.
He said that we’re approaching a point in our history where there’s not much turning back. We may soon have people going to the polls in sufficient numbers who are dependent on the federal government for their well-being. Not enough people are willing to work hard and produce, and once we reach this point, getting our civilization back would be a real challenge.
Pompeo spoke of a few “simple things” that illustrate his principles.
We cannot spend more money than we have, he said. It becomes unsustainable. He said this is the primary fight going on in Washington.
On earmarks, Pompeo said that they are a small piece of the total federal budget, but they are “incredibly important” in a symbolic way. Pompeo pledged never to support legislation that contains earmarks. Using earmarks corrupts the system, he said. When getting re-elected becomes the goal of elected officials, the “battle is over.”
“My faith is incredibly important to me,” Pompeo said as another simple fact.
Referring to his experience as commander of a unit that patrolled the East German/Czechoslovakian border, he said he appreciates national security issues. They’ve been “taken off the front page” because of economic issues, but there are still people that want to do us harm. If we send our armed forces into harm’s way, the commitment must be total, he said. “Half steps don’t work.”
His experience at Thayer Aerospace — the reason he came to Wichita — made him appreciate “what an enormous job-killer our federal government is.” We have a good workforce in America, but we have a terrible tax policy, and we may be getting a bad health care policy. “Capital will go where it gets the best return.” Our federal government needs to get out of the way of business, he said.
If a politician running for election says he’s going to Washington to create jobs, Pompeo said we should realize that’s not possible. The jobs government creates are bureaucratic jobs that aren’t in the competitive environment that grows America. Instead, Pompeo said that government should protect property and contract rights, and then go away and leave us alone.
The potential of cap-and-trade legislation will cost many jobs in the Kansas fourth district and across the country. North American oil and gas production will “drop to zero” if this bill will pass. It will also hurt agriculture, causing food prices to rise, he said.
On health care, Pompeo asked why this issue is at the top of the agenda. We have a health care system that is imperfect and needs work, but we have more important issues such as unemployment to tackle first. He said that it is not likely that a federal takeover of health care will reduce costs.
Pompeo’s prepared remarks were relatively brief, leaving time for many questions from the Pachyderm Club members and guests.
In response to a question, Pompeo said that we need to stand behind our commitment to Israel. In Afghanistan, he said that Generals Petraeus and McChrystal have it about right: “let’s get the troops in there.”
On education, Pompeo said that the federal government’s role should be minimal, to applause from the audience. Teacher tenure and lack of competition are not good for education, he said. There are many good teachers in the public schools, but the system is problematic and dysfunctional.
On the Federal Reserve system, Pompeo said that it is a “co-conspirator in the current economic challenge,” providing the interest rates and the backdrop for the housing crisis.
A question asked what Pompeo could do to create real steps for creating jobs, such as providing tax write-offs for consumer purchases. Pompeo said that some of these things sound like “cash for clunkers,” where government tries to pick and subsidize winners. He said he should not do that. Instead, he preferrs a broad tax base with low tax rates, letting competition decide who are the winners.
On term limits, Pompeo said he would like to see a constitutional amendment for term limits, but he would not make a personal pledge to limit his own service.
On right-to-life issues, Pompeo said he believes that human life begins at conception. He would fight federal funding of abortion.
On immigration, Pompeo said that we need to control our borders, and we need to know who is entering and leaving our country. We can’t have an intelligent discussion on immigration until we control our borders, he said.
On alternative tax systems like the Fair Tax, Pompeo said he supports it, although not being wedded to any one particular system. The real problem, he said, is spending, which must be brought under control.
On the rule of law and the free enterprise system, Pompeo said that these are core issues. People aren’t investing and taking risk, because presently there is no certainty about the rule of law and property rights. With the price of oil at $80, people should be investing in oil, but with the government causing so much uncertainty in regulation and law, investors are hesitant.
The Pachyderm audience, largely composed of conservative Republicans, was appreciative of Pompeo and his message. Several times his remarks drew enthusiastic applause. Other candidates for the same position Pompeo is campaigning for have been positively received by this audience, too. This is indicative of the fact that there are a number of good, quality people seeking this Congressional office.
On term limits, while he appreciates their benefit, Pompeo’s position of not limiting his own service without a national law is reasonable.
Pompeo’s pledge to not vote for earmarks may be difficult to fulfill in the current Washington climate. Even Ron Paul votes for earmarks.
Additional coverage of this speech is at State of the State Kansas.