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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7d40002Coverage of the issues, races and people shaping Kansas elections in 2016, including statewide coverage in partnership with KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, and High Plains Public Radio.

Fourth Congressional District Candidates Debate Tax Policy, Health Care

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Nadya Faulx
/
KMUW
The four candidates for Kansas' 4th Congressional District on the Wichita State Metroplex debate stage Monday night.

The candidates for Kansas’ 4th Congressional District took part in a debate last night.

Democrat Dan Giroux, independent Miranda Allen and Libertarian Gordon Bakken are going up against Republican incumbent Mike Pompeo in the Nov. 8 general election.

During the debate, the four candidates shared their views on issues including immigration, taxes, military spending and health care.

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Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW
Democratic candidate Dan Giroux, right, speaks as Republican incumbent Mike Pompeo listens during Monday's debate.

Pompeo said health care has become too expensive for many Kansans. His solution drew cheers and boos from the audience of about 100 people at the Wichita State Metroplex--many of whom were wearing blue "Team Pompeo" t-shirts.

“There are many things that we could do to fix that," he said of health care's rising cost. "It would start with undoing the disaster of the Affordable Care Act.”

Giroux--who had his own "Giroux Crew" in the audience--argued that Obamacare has made health care more accessible, but said it’s not perfect.

“I would not repeal it. I would fix it," he said. "It’s got a lot of problems with it, there’s no doubt about it.”

Bakken said there are "a lot of things wrong" with Obamacare and lawmakers didn't think the law through before they enacted it. But Allen, who more than once referenced her experience as a breast cancer survivor, expressed strong support for the ACA, and said lawmakers need to expand Medicaid in Kansas.

The four candidates also shared their views on national security. Just days before the debate took place, a series of bombs went off over the weekend in cities on the East Coast.

Giroux and Bakken both said the U.S. needs to stop its wars in the Middle East; Giroux said lawmakers need to find a new way to fight supposed terrorists.

"You know what? They pop up everywhere," he said. "The old-school, West Point, antiquated ways just don't work anymore. They don't."

Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee and a graduate of West Point, said it's been Pres. Obama's policies that have failed.

"We have to fundamentally rethink the way we fight the war against radical Islamic terrorism," Pompeo said. "It begins with fighting it where it is, taking out safe havens."

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Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW
Independent candidate Miranda Allen talks to audience members after Monday's debate.

Allen said she hasn't felt any safer since Pompeo took his House seat five years ago.

The debate also turned to the presidential election; just one of the major-party candidates endorsed his party's candidate for president.

Pompeo is supporting Republican nominee Donald Trump, saying, "it does make a difference who the president of the United States is."

However, Democrat Giroux said that if he's elected, he will work with whoever the president is--but he declined to endorse either Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

"There's 50 days left," Giroux said. "I want to see what comes out in the next 50 days."

Allen pointed out both Trump and Clinton's low approval ratings and said she's considering a third-party candidate, but didn't specify who. Bakken endorsed fellow Libertarian Gary Johnson for president.

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Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.