OTTAWA — On a campaign stop in Franklin County, Paul Davis, candidate for Congress in Kansas’ second district, endorsed new bipartisan efforts that will help protect Kansas farmers, ranchers and manufacturers from detrimental new tariffs and damaging trade policies.
“I’ve traveled all 25 counties of the district, hosted round table discussions with producers in Atchison, toured agri-businesses like East Kansas Agri-Energy in Garnett, and convened an agricultural advisory group that includes producers, suppliers, and policy experts from Brown County to Cherokee,” said Davis. “The message I received loud and clear is that rural Kansas will be the first casualty of a trade war. I am eager to go to Washington and work in a bipartisan manner to make sure Kansans’ voices are heard.”
Today Davis endorsed a new proposal – sponsored by a Republican senator from an agricultural state – that would require Congressional approval of national security-designated tariffs. Davis is the only KS-02 candidate who has publicly endorsed proposals that prioritize the needs of Kansas farmers and ranchers over party loyalty. It is a reflection of his independent leadership, just as it was in 2014 when he publicly opposed President Obama’s attempt to unreasonably expand EPA regulation over Kansas waters.
“Presidential overreach has never been limited to one side of the aisle,” said Davis, “and neither has my record of speaking up when those actions hurt Kansas. I urge the President to continue negotiations to reduce trade deficits, but I am not willing to stand by silently as the administration gambles away the backbone of the Kansas economy. This proposal helps move oversight of trade agreements back to the branch of government closest to the people.”
Escalating trade tensions with China, Mexico, and Canada threaten vital trade partnerships that Kansas farmers and ranchers have worked decades to build. In 2016, Kansas ranked 10th in soybean production among U.S. states, with Brown, Nemaha, and Marshall counties ranked as the state’s top three soybean producers — all of which are located within KS-02. China is Kansas’ biggest soybean purchaser, with Canada and Mexico ranking as the largest buyers of Kansas exports overall.
Davis also raised concern about human toll of reckless trade policies. Experts estimate that a prolonged trade war could lower crop revenues by $40 to $80 per acre at a time when farm income levels have hit their lowest point since 1985. Earlier this year, the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers elevated a study revealing that farmers are among the occupational group more likely to commit suicide than any other.
“Agriculture is a fundamental part of our way of life in Kansas, in large communities and small,” Davis said. “One ag lender in Iola told me she lays awake at night fearing for her customers on the verge of financial ruin, who now face even more uncertainty. They need someone who will fight for them in Washington and reach across the aisle to get things done. I’ll work with anyone in Congress, no matter what their political party.”
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