Dr. Bill Clifford is running for the Republican nomination in the election for Kansas’ 1st congressional district seat. He joined KMAN live on the phone to discuss his campaign and current topics.
What’s the message for you heading into the primaries?
Clifford: Well, I’m very excited. It’s been a great two months, put in over 10,000 miles on the road in the Big First District after being locked down earlier in the year thanks to our governor. Very excited to get out and talk to real people. So, just a sprint to the finish, about four stops today. I’ll actually spend the next two nights to in Manhattan, and we’ll get and get around the more Eastern part of the district and finish up in Southwest Kansas for primary day on Tuesday.
What have your conversations been like with constitutents? I’m sure there’s some frustrations out there with business as usual.
Clifford: Sure is. We’ve been fortunate in much the Big First being essential businesses, despite the pandemic and economic slow down people have got to eat. Our producers are hard at it. Rain’s been plentiful, so there’s certainly room for optimism. I do think there’s still a great concern amongst producers that we need to improve our markets. Certainly, running for the first district I plan to be fighting for our producers on the House Agricultural Committee in Congress. Other than that, we have a very conservative district. I fit the district well, being the adopted father of six children, five of whom were adopted. As a military veteran I fought for our constitution and our second amendment. So that’s certainly appreciated, especially in your area with Fort Riley and so many folks associated with the army base there in Geary County and at Riley County, even Pottawatomie County. So those really are our credentials. You know, I’ve lived a conservative life and I’ll bring that to Congress.
You have experience as a county commissioner and this is quite a big jump. Explain to the voters why someone like you fits the bill.
Clifford: Well, I do think that I won’t lose sight where I come from. Garden City’s been my home continuously here for 25 years. And I’ll never forget the impact of federal decisions on local taxpayers. We’re dealing with CARES money right now as county commissioners. I dealt for 20 years with medical issues, even water and ag issues, in advocating with our federal delegation on dozens and dozens of trips to Washington DC. So, I understand the system, I understand the needs of our producers and our citizens. And I’m a very good listener. As a physician I’ve listened to our citizens, my patients, for 25 years. I’ve operated on 20,000 people and that’s, that’s a lot of eyes and those citizens came from throughout the first district. So, I’ll represent the people well, I’ll maintain my conservative values. I’m all in with President Trump and building the wall and ending sanctuary cities. I will be very strong on all those issues with our president.
President Trump had a tweet in the news yesterday about potentially moving the election. I don’t know if that was something kind of tongue-in-cheek of not, but I know the national media sure picked up on it. What is your response when the president delivers something like that?
Clifford: We have a very secure election system in Kansas. There is a concern of fraud with all of the mail-in ballots throughout the nation, but we candidates we’re ready to have a vote of the people. I trust that Scott [Schwab] will keep our elections secure. I know our county clerk very well. In fact, our Republican party of which I’m the chairman, appointed her three years ago. So I have the utmost confidence in the county clerk and the integrity of the Kansas selection system. I’m ready for a vote.
There’s been a debate over whether enough is being done to get the economy back up and running amid the pandemic. Would you be in support of another stimulus?
Clifford: I’ve been watching the discussion in Congress, certainly with the unemployment numbers, there’s going to be some stimulus payment. I’m certainly in favor of getting Americans back to work and I thought to have some relief fund income tax, which I think would reward working Americans. But, the one thing we have to keep in mind is that this money being printed by the federal government has to be paid back at some time and I’m very concerned about the deficit. Our counties are just getting our first CARES money and we’re just dealing with that. We haven’t even found out the impact that the earliest CARES Act and the government, particularly Democrats, want to put out many more trillions. A far more modest proposal, I liked what I see on the Senate side to get stimulus checks into people’s pockets. But, the main thing we have to do is get this country back to work and restore the wonderful economy we had starting this year. It was barely seven, eight months ago that this economy was roaring and we all want to get back to work.
I am a very reliably conservative, I will vote conservative. I will work as hard as I can on the Ag. committee, but as a physician I’m a bit of a bonus candidate — I am a bonus candidate because I’ll have a voice in the Doc Caucus. And if anything’s been exposed here by the COVID epidemic it’s the holes in our healthcare system, flaws generated by Obamacare, the extreme costs for prescription drugs. And then, frankly, the offshoring of what is really a national security issue — our prescription drugs and ingredients. So I’ll work hard in Washington to make healthcare affordable. I’ll defend our rural hospitals. I’ve been to at least a dozen and a half of them during the campaign, and then intend to make them all as the congressman of the big first district.
Clifford is running in the Republican primary against former Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann. Primary day is on Tuesday, August 4th, advance voting is underway.