Moran: Ag life misunderstood

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Register/Bob Johnson
Congressman Jerry Moran makes a point during Friday night’s Allen County Farm Bureau meeting.

First District Congressman Jerry Moran told about 100 Allen County Farm Bureau members Friday evening there was a disconnect between Kansas and Washington, D.C.
“My job in Washington is to explain how things work in Kansas, how economic development means keeping a grocery store in town, keeping a hospital open and having enough doctors to treat the sick,” Moran said.
“We need to find ways for communities across Kansas to do well in the future,” he said. “Farmers and ranchers are an integral part of Kansas’ future. We need success in agriculture to have success in Kansas.”
Moran illustrated the disconnect between Washington politics and Kansas reality by noting that 54 percent of the 2000 farm bill had to do with food stamps and nutrition programs, not direct aid to farmers. Eight years later that had increased to 74 percent, he said, which posed the question of whether many in Washington understood what farming was all about.
To give a better understanding, Moran said he invited Rosa DeLauro, a U.S. Democratic representative for New Haven, Conn., since 1991, to visit Kansas. DeLauro is a members of the Agriculture Subcommittee. The Connecticut legislator came away impressed by how complicated and technical a modern farm is.
But Moran told Farm Bureau members enlightening one member of Congress at a time wasn’t enough, and noted pending legislation, some of which had escaped general notice in the heartland, could put terrific burdens on Kansas farmers.
One bill would redefine navigable waters in terms so broad that even dry stream beds and farm ponds might be affected. Another proposes to put on-farm safety under the thumb of the Food and Drug Administration. He also noted animal rights groups were making gains with legislation that could hamstring farmers.
Most critical, Moran said, is the so-called cap and trade bill that would ratchet up energy costs if industries were charged for emitting pollutants. The bill, passed by the House, would put more stringent controls on CO2 emissions. That could lead to higher costs for fuel, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides, he said.
Moran, who represents Holcomb, spoke out on the side of coal-fired power plants. He said Kansas’ response to the request to build two coal plants in western Kansas should have been, “Yes, but do it right.” Moran said he supports alternative energy generation, but is keen on keeping coal in the mix, particularly as evolving technology would make burning fossil fuels squeaky clean.

MORAN ALSO said he was eager to provide more affordable health care and comprehensive insurance for all Americans, but was opposed to President Obama’s proposal.
“I’m for common sense health care reform and opposed to a government-run program,” he said, but offered no specifics.
He voted against all of Obama’s stimulus plans and the bailouts, as well as those while George Bush was president.
“I think we’re behaving immorally by burdening our children and grandchildren with debt,” he said. “We’ve spent way too much money and borrowed too much money. That occurred when Republicans were in control but it is greater now with the Democrats.
“There is too much political fighting in Washington,” Moran concluded. “Our motivation ought to be what’s good for the United States.”
Moran has announced he will seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback’s seat. Brownback is seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Kansas.
Moran’s First Congressional District is mainly the western half of Kansas but also includes Greenwood and Lyon counties in eastern Kansas.