LaPolice: Producers need say in farm bill
If the U.S. Congress wants to pass a meaningful farm bill it needs to stimulate local economies.
That was one of the messages Alan LaPolice, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives 1st District seat, delivered during a meet and greet at Easy G Sports Grill on Tuesday night.
LaPolice said that currently all agriculture policy is written by investors and not by producers.
“This newest farm bill is written by investors. Its biggest beneficiaries are Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland and Monsanto. That needs to change,” LaPolice said, “If you want the farm bill to be meaningful you stimulate local economies. You stimulate family farms. Corporate farms, they will do fine. You provide a safety net for family farms.”
LaPolice said that providing a safety net is not his top priority in passing a farm bill.
“Farmers don’t want handouts, they want trade,” LaPolice said, “You negotiate trade policies that favor producers, give them a say, let them produce what they want and farming becomes profitable again.”
LaPolice is challenging incumbent Republican Roger Marshall for the 1st District seat in the U.S. House.
Raised on a dairy farm in Washington County, LaPolice currently has a home in Clyde.
Serving in the United State Army, LaPolice was an infantryman in the first Gulf War.
LaPolice, following his military service, earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California-Berkeley. He worked various jobs before settling on a career in education.
After teaching for six years, LaPolice served as a principal. He earned two masters degrees and became a district superintendent.
LaPolice ran as a Republican against U.S. Representative Tim Huelskamp in the 2014 primary election. He received 35,108 votes to 42,847 for Huelskamp.
Marshall defeated Huelskamp in the Republican primary in 2016.
LaPolice ran as an Independent against Marshall in the 2016 general election.
Marshall won the race with 66 percent of the vote. LaPolice received 26 percent.
LaPolice was asked about running for office as a Democrat after previously running as a Republican and then an Independent.
“I never moved. I stood still,” LaPolice said, “I was believable as a Republican in 2014. I was believable as an Independent in 2016. And now in 2018, same platform. Politics is moving, I am standing still. I still believe in the same things I believed in in 2014 and in 2012, but since I started running politics has moved dramatically and I am bracing myself.”
LaPolice touched on several subjects during the event, including partisanship, campaign finance, health care, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
“There is no middle ground any more,” LaPolice said when addressing the partisanship in Washington D.C., “We can not be destroyed by Russia, but they will try. We can not be destroyed by ISIS, but they will try. We can’t be destroyed by influenza, or Ebola or the bird flu, but it might try. What we have to do is protect ourselves from each other. We have to protect ourselves from ourselves. We have to stop being so unkind to each other.”
LaPolice was told by an audience member that he would be a real hero if he could do away with lobbyists.
“The Constitution says that people have a right to redress their grievances with the government, so I can not take lobbying away, but I can make it transparent. I can make it limited, I can make it open so people know who is lobbying who and how much they are giving,” LaPolice said.
LaPolice pointed to the McCain-Feingold Act which made required lawmakers to document a cup of coffee purchased for them by a lobbyists.
“Fifteen years later you can buy them a coffee plantation and fly them down there on your private jet and give their family a weekend in paradise, and you don’t have to do a thing about it because we lapse campaign finance laws and we have legalized corruption. So I want to make corruption illegal and I want to make lobbying transparent,” LaPolice said.
LaPolice said he wants to, if elected, promote the passage of a 28th amendment to the Constitution overturning the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The 28th amendment is to say that money is money and it is not protected speech, and it can not be given equal access because people don’t have equal access to it. I want to overturn that and make Congress transparent and make corruption illegal,” LaPolice said.
When asked how he could accomplish the passage of a 28th amendment, LaPolice said that he has talked to many congressmen and they are all scared of their donors.
“If I win this seat, I will change the paradigm. I am going to make them scared of their voters. I will use fear. If they are scared of their voters voting them out for not doing their job, if they are scared of voters looking at the money and saying ‘we don’t like you anymore because you took money from big pharma.” If I can make them scared of, not their donors but their constituents, everything changes,” LaPolice said.
LaPolice said that Marshall wants to privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
“He says it is an entitlement and needs to be cut,” LaPolice said, “They get back in December and they are supposed to take $1.5 million out of Medicare, who is going to see that loss, not him. So what have you got to gain. I will advocate for you, the people in this room, the people across this district, the people across this state and the people across this nation,” LaPolice said.
LaPolice was asked what impact cutting Medicare and Medicaid would have on area hospitals.
“At the end of the year Fort Scott Mercy Hospital will shut its doors and 290 employees will be sent packing. That community will be devastated. You lose your hospital, you lose everything,” LaPolice said, “So if they cut Medicare, if they cut Medicaid, the people who go to those critical care centers, they won’t have insurance any more, except if they go in for the ER (emergency room). And if they go into the ER they are not paying that bill, those bills go into default and so those hospitals go into the red. Sixty of the critical care centers in Kansas are right here in the 1st District. So if they cut Medicaid any more, if they cut Medicare anymore you will see them systematically shut down.”
Asked about a single payer plan for health care, LaPolice said you can’t sell single payer, or Medicare for all, but that he has a plan.
“Years ago they talked about a public option. It is not mandatory. So instead of basing it on Medicare I would like to base it on Tricare,” LaPolice said.
LaPolice said that Tricare is different than other health care insurance options in that it can negotiate pharmaceutical prices, medical device costs and negotiate with hospitals on the price for medical procedures.
“Because they can do that, the outcomes for Tricare are some of the best in the nation and costs of Tricare are some of the lowest in the nation,” LaPolice said.
Currently, Tricare is only available to military retirees and their spouses and Department of Defense civil servants.
“My option is this, anyone who wants to qualify, qualifies. Now they opt in. Now for my Republican friends, I am not doing single payer, it is not the same thing, I am giving people the option,” LaPolice said, “Now because they can negotiate costs the price comes down. They negotiate EpiPen, instead of charging $600 for an EpiPen they charge $4, which is still double the cost of production. Insulin, it could be a $1.50 for a vile of insulin instead of $400 a month because the cost of production is like 69 cents per vile. So by negotiating the price we can bring the price down, but we are still allowing the free market its business.”
LaPolice said that if elected he will not be afraid of donors and he will not be afraid of other members of Congress.
“I may be one term. I may get there and the system chews me up and spits me out and I go for this two year ride, but by God I am going to be the best one term congressman this district has ever seen because I am not going to be afraid,” LaPolice said, “I don't want to lose in two years, but I am willing to, and that is not something you can hear from anybody else.”