By Associated Press - Thursday, October 4, 2018

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas Republican running for Congress said he supports President Donald Trump’s call for a border wall with Mexico because he wants to “keep our culture.”

Steve Watkins, a political novice, said Wednesday during a candidate forum with Democrat Paul Davis in Independence that people who back the wall aren’t “mean spirited or the racist bigots some leftists would have you believe,” The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

“I’m proud of our country,” said Watkins, who is vying for the seat left open in eastern Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District by the retirement of GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins. “I want to keep our culture.”

Davis, an attorney and former Kansas House minority, did not directly address the issue of a border wall in his remarks. But he said Republicans and Democrats in Washington squandered opportunities in the past to adopt comprehensive immigration reform by engaging in useless bickering.

He said there was bipartisan interest in dealing with the young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, often called Dreamers, whose fate is in limbo after Trump tried to end an Obama-era program protecting them from deportation and Congress deadlocked on a solution. He says there also is support from both sides for offering work visas to immigrants for agriculture and other industries.

“We’re a nation of immigrants,” Davis said. “People who are contributing to our economy, that are playing by the rules, that are paying taxes, that are learning English should be given a pathway to becoming an American citizen.”

The candidates, who were given questions in advance by the coalition of organizations that sponsored the event, shared similar views on the harm of agriculture tariffs, the need for infrastructure improvements and the need to take better care of veterans.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal,

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