Citizens take concerns to senator during visit
Citizens relayed a range of concerns when Sen. Roger Marshall appeared Saturday at Tabor College’s auditorium.
“I think the best doctors are listeners,” Marshall, who is a physician, said before starting an open discussion. “I think the best senators are listeners, too.”
The meeting was attended by roughly 40 people, including Hillsboro mayor Lou Thurston and retired chief of police Dan Kinning. Most were ordinary citizens.
A small business owner expressed frustrations over her two-year long struggle to offer SNAP benefits at her service. She also was concerned about minimum wage possibly being raised.
“Even I don’t make $15 an hour,” she said.
Marshall gave her his assistants’ phone numbers to help her business with SNAP.
“Of course I want wages to go up,” he said, “but I don’t think every job needs $22 an hour.”
Another person was worried about whether the U.S. could stay out of a potential war between Russia and Ukraine.
Marshall said he’d prefer to keep troops from being deployed outside the country. He thought more forces should be put on the Mexican border to prevent trafficking and advocated for restoring money for a border wall.
A farmer was frustrated over increases in fertilizer prices. Marshall described how recent laws against natural gas drilling were increasing the price of nitrogen-based fertilizer. International business and shipping crises were pushing prices higher, he said.
A teacher was worried about the “COVID generation” — kids entering grade school with less literacy skills than other classes. She also said she was seeing more staff openings at schools than ever before.
Marshall said he wanted to keep schools and businesses from shutting down because of COVID — saying “it’s time to move on from COVID.”
Marshall contends that 92% of Americans have some kind of immunity to COVID. He compared COVID to a bad case of the common cold in most cases and argued that more should be spent on mental health resources after the isolation and stress of quarantine.