Archive for Monday, December 25, 2017

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins prepares to exit a much-changed political stage

In this file photo from Aug. 24, 2017, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins addresses the Jayhawk Rotary Club in Lawrence, saying she plans to leave Congress after her term.

In this file photo from Aug. 24, 2017, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins addresses the Jayhawk Rotary Club in Lawrence, saying she plans to leave Congress after her term.

December 25, 2017


Topeka — U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins is preparing to enter her final year as a member of Congress and as a Kansas politician.

After 10 years in Washington, which followed four years as state treasurer and four years in the Kansas Legislature, the Topeka Republican will be leaving a political stage that is much different from the one she stepped onto nearly two decades ago.

Jenkins, however, isn’t going to spend too much time looking back. With another year left in office, she said during a recent interview that there was still much she would like to accomplish.

“Oh yeah, there’s still plenty,” she said. “I’d like to see us figure out a way to get the national debt eliminated in the next 20 years and get to a balanced budget; save our Medicare and Social Security programs. They’re bankrupt and on a path to elimination if we don’t step in and save them. So yeah, there’s still a lot I’d like to see get done next year, and I’m going to be working hard to make sure it happens.”

During the time she has been in office, Jenkins has witnessed a lot of changes in the political landscape, both at the state and national level. She won her first race for a state House seat in 1998, the same year Gov. Bill Graves, a moderate Republican, was re-elected in a landslide. She was elected to the Senate two years later, the same year George W. Bush was elected president and one year before the 9/11 terror attacks.

She served only half a term in the Senate, though, before she ran for an open seat in the state treasurer’s office, touting her credentials as a certified public accountant. She was re-elected to that job in 2006 but stepped down midway through her second term after she was elected to Congress from the 2nd District in 2008, defeating one-term incumbent Democrat Nancy Boyda.

During her time in Congress, Jenkins rose through the ranks of Republican leadership, ultimately becoming vice chairwoman of the House Republican Caucus in 2013. And after winning her fifth term last year, many Kansas political observers thought she was poised to run for governor in 2018.

In January, though, as other Republicans were waiting for her to announce whether she would run for governor or another term in Congress, Jenkins, who is now 54, surprised the political world by announcing her decision to step down from politics entirely and return to life in the private sector.

Jenkins hasn’t spoken in detail about the reasons for that decision. But at a Rotary Club breakfast in Lawrence in August, she did talk about the frustrations of the job, one that for her began the same year Barack Obama was elected president and one that will end midway through Donald Trump’s first term in the White House.

“I have never been so frustrated in my life,” she told the Lawrence audience.

During an interview this month, however, Jenkins sounded more upbeat, talking about the satisfaction she gets, not from passing legislation or enacting public policy but from helping constituents back in Kansas.

“You know, one of the best parts of this job is one that goes, I think, unnoticed many days of the week because folks think we only focus on public policy, but the case work is probably the most rewarding work that this office does,” she said. “Because it doesn’t matter if you’re a conservative Republican or a liberal Democrat or anything in between, if you’ve got a problem maneuvering your way through the bureaucracy of the federal government and you contact our office, we are going to go to the wall to try to help you, whatever your issue is. Sometimes we hit the wall and we’re told no, but we’ve had so many successes, stories that would bring tears to your eyes, people that we’ve been able to help, and so that’s probably the most rewarding part of this job.”

On the legislative side, Jenkins said one of her biggest accomplishments was passage of a bill in 2016 that may have gone unnoticed by many, the Mental Health First Aid Act, which provided dedicated, multiyear funding to train veterans’ advocates, law enforcement agents, first responders and others to identify and aid people in need of emergency mental health treatment.

“The mental health first aid legislation was a great accomplishment for the folks in the 2nd District of Kansas, and our office and my staff worked so hard on that. Just a whole lot of bipartisan wins when President Obama was in office, legislation that we actually got signed into law,” Jenkins said.

One issue that has dominated much of the news out of Washington in recent months, and one that may continue to dominate the news during her final year in office, is the rapidly changing cultural attitude toward sexual harassment in the workplace, whether that be in politics, entertainment or the news industry.

Speaking only a few days after Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., both announced plans to resign from office amid sexual harassment allegations, Jenkins said she thinks the change is long overdue.

“What we’re probably most shocked to learn is that taxpayer money was used to settle some of these harassment claims,” Jenkins said, referring to the practice of Congress settling claims of harassment. “That’s not acceptable, and there are several bills being introduced that will stop this practice, and I’m taking a look at those. I’m sure I’ll be signing onto one of those. So I’m confident we’re going to do what we can here in D.C. to take this head-on.”

But Jenkins was reluctant to share many details of her own experiences as a relatively young woman in politics.

“I think it’s an age-old problem that we’ve all seen for a long time,” she said, adding only that, “I have a real problem with this kind of behavior. I’m not going to make any bones about it. If a crime is committed, I think people should be prosecuted and go to jail for it.”

Looking ahead to her final year in office, Jenkins, an outspoken opponent of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, said she would still like to see reforms made to that program, although she conceded that it was unlikely Congress would pass a full repeal.

“I think the effort at full repeal failed earlier this year, so my sense is we’ll pivot to continuing to work to make the health care system better, maybe through incremental changes,” she said.


Scott Newell 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Goal: “Figure out a way to get the national debt eliminated in the next 20 years and get to a balanced budget.” Step 1. Vote for “tax reform” adding $1.5 trillion to the national deficit. It’s beyond frightening this is how a GOP rep who is an accountant thinks. Trump and this Congress are the swamp that needs drained.

Steve King 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Well, this is the person who left CPA in her name for the elections to impress the sheep but hadn't been one for years. Sad.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 4 months, 4 weeks ago

I hate to see her go. She has been doing a good job.

Richard Quinlan 4 months, 3 weeks ago

"They’re bankrupt and on a path to elimination if we don’t step in and save them."

Please dont try to "help" medicare and Social Security , they work exactly as planned and are certainly fine if you leave them the hell alone Lynn .

Richard Quinlan 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Her greatest accomplishments...The Affordable Footwear Act of 2011 , reducing tariffs on imported shoes , Payless says Thank You Lynn heres a pile of money while domestic manufacturers compete against third world shoes. Footnote , Payless races to bottom and goes bankrupt . Great job Lynn !

Harlan Hobbs 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Richard, in case you hadn't noticed, Social Security and Medicare are essentially bankrupt. If the taxpayers didn't have to keep propping them up, they couldn't survive, just like ObamaCare.

As for the current tax relief program, revenues to the treasury will soar as trillions of overseas money is repatriated back to the country, and the economy grows at better than 4%. Unemployment will continue to decrease; wages will go up, and capital gains in the stock market will fuel a continued booming economy.

The challenge, as always, is to curb the growth of spending. However, you Democrats and liberals are incapable of focusing on the real problem.

Kyle Neuer 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Perhaps if the GOP repaid the $2.5 Trillion they "borrowed" from SocSec, ...

Steve King 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Sorry Harlan, but SS was safe, in a separate account until Regan took it all to cover the shortfall in his "Trickle Down" scam (See Kansas, see the new GOP tax plan). In 1984 he took $2.4 Trillon, it was never replaced but with an IOU. If it had been left alone bearing interest there would be no challenge. This is a scam hoping people who don't know their history won't pick up on it.

Richard Neuschafer 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Harlan, you just parrot back what the right-wing extremist media tells you. You are no better than Jenkins. A robot could be programmed to think as much as you do. You can't think for yourself. And you prove it over and over and over again.

Richard Heckler 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Judicial Watch is a right wing organization dedicated to spreading misinformation which demonstrates this right wing ALEC controlled GOP is in panic.

They know Trump is in a high danger zone. It is not IF Trump is going down the concern is how many will Trump take with him.

Yes this phoney GOP is in panic mode.

TRUMP is watching his empire crumble as a result of the many investigations under way which he brought on himself by jumping into the spotlight and his big mouth.

Though he is representative of this radical libertarian/fundamentalist team that subverted the republican party into a anti American agenda.

The Long, Twisted, and Bizarre History of the Trump-Russia Scandal

Here's the timeline you need to keep track of the controversy.

Kyle Neuer 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you.

Calvin Anders 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Lynn Jenkins can brag about one "accomplishment" in her tenure. She pretty faithfully towed the party line. No matter how stupid or ill justified her party's actions to reward the wealthy and sustain our nation's defacto oligarchy, Lynn voted with her party. We might as well have sent a robot, or even just a little note that the ranking Republican in the House could cast an extra vote on our behalf. She filled a seat. That's about all that can be said.

Phillip Chappuie 4 months, 3 weeks ago

She filled a seat. Yup. If she did one single positive thing for the people of eastern Kansas, I don't know what it would be. Stand next to John Boehner is photo ops? She did that well. And come to thing of it I don't think she ever replied one time to any of my comments or suggestions I sent to her office. I must be one some sketchy list.

Richard Heckler 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Lynn Jenkins is a Wingnut very right wing as her votes demonstrate.

This statement: “I’d like to see us figure out a way to get the national debt eliminated in the next 20 years and get to a balanced budget; save our Medicare and Social Security programs". This woman is lying. Why has she voted for so many tax breaks that which increase the debt big time? Borrowing from Wall Street banks to cover the cost of lost revenue will never shrink the debt. Lynn Jenkins loves Supply Side Wreckanomics.

I say Lynn Jenkins is looking to run for governor OR looking for another tax dollar supported position. Neither the USA nor Kansas can afford Lynn Jenkins.

Richard Heckler 4 months, 3 weeks ago

The greater majority of republicans are wing nuts masquerading as republicans who have no intention of working with the USA 99% who are actually the financial backbone of America

Meet Lynn ALEC Jenkins: ALEC CONTROLLED GOP Issues:

= Privatization : the act of funneling tax dollars into private industry bank accounts. Pyramid Scheme if you will.

= What's going on behind the secret doors of ALEC?

= Voting Rights Threatened

= Public School Privatization = Many thousands of teachers losing their jobs

= Social Security Insurance Privatization

= Medicare Insurance Privatization

= Public Water Services

= Wall Street Scams

= Big Bank Scams

= More USA jobs still going abroad.

= Student loan rip off = WHERE IS THE FBI? 

= Your right to vote - keep checking your registration = WHERE IS THE FBI?

President Trump made reference a female vaginal area and using hands to demonstrate yet he is still in office? 24 women are claiming sexual harassment.

Apparently at least a dozen women have put up allegations of Trump sex harassment which is not hard to believe due to his own seemingly public disrespect for women and women's rights.

In fact the conservatives very public war on women is sexual harassment beyond belief.

Richard Heckler 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I say Lynn Jenkins is looking to run for another tax dollar supported position. Neither the USA nor Kansas can afford Lynn Jenkins.

Richard Heckler 4 months, 3 weeks ago

The essentials to Obama Care are still in tact. It's that simple. The ALEC GOP was lying to the nation one more time. The mandate was eliminated though leaving financial assistance still on the table is my understanding. Just apply.

People piss and moan about increases when in fact the insurance industry has been screwing consumers for 60 years at least.

There have always been increases which is why the insurance industry should resign. Any industry that floods campaigns with health care dollars and hands out health care dollar funded golden parachutes like a drunken sailor should be out of business. Corporations that hand out golden parachutes and contribute to campaigns should be ineligible for corporate subsides across the board.

However my proposal allows them to stay in business HOWEVER with a bit of competition on the table:

LET THE VOTERS DECIDE = voting on the entire package thus providing consumers 3 options for the rest of their lives. Which one works best for YOU?

=== ObamaCare which retains the health insurance industry for those who fear the word Medicare or phrase Single Payer after all it is their dollar. This needs stiff federal regulations that cannot be superceded by the states. Offer a fair tax dollar rebate at the end of every year. Sooner or later this group will enroll in single payer.

=== Single Payer Medicare for ALL = excellent coverage for those who wish to enroll. The absolute best choice on planet earth.

=== Self financed health care for those able to do so aka opt out. Offer a fair tax dollar rebate at the end of every year.

=== ALL Disabled vets should receive Medicare with a 100% benefit so they and their families can receive medical care immediately upon discharge. Make it retroactive.

=== Business should not be forced to provide health insurance.

Jillian Andrews 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Good riddance to bad rubbish! Can’t wait to see what slobbering GOP a$$hat takes her place. #KansasLandofMorons

Steve Hicks 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't doubt Rep. Jenkins went into politics with a sincere desire to do good for her constituents. Obviously she felt that her "conservative" ideas were what would be good for people.

But in office, she just as obviously became the kind of unquestioning Congressperson ideologue her party demands its followers be. And by that choice she surrendered her ability...and probably her desire... to serve her constituents.

I had occasion to respectfully write Rep. Jenkins several times, on various bills, to ask she THINK about what was good for Americans. She always returned a civil reply, repeating whatever delusional rationale her faction was peddling for doing evil to Americans: and always voted the way her faction dictated.

Her term of "public-service" has done a great deal of harm to the public, as she's become more and more an unthinking factionalist, first and always. Her statement above, claiming to be for a "balanced budget" a week after she voted for her faction's $1.5 trillion budget-deficit increase, is a good indicator of the profound self-delusion she's had to practice to keep in lock-step with her faction's ideology.

Rep. Jenkins had numerous chances, important opportunities, to do good for our country and people. She's quite failed to do so. Better for us all would have been a vacant seat in Congress, which at least would not have cast any of the harmful votes Rep. Jenkins did.

More in sorrow than anger: the most valuable public service Rep. Jenkins has done the people of her district is leaving office.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I wonder if she will move back to Kansas, unlike most of the retired representatives that Kansas voters have sent to Washington? Brownback is still governor, and he can't wait to get out. One of our senators doesn't even own a house here; his kids grew up in Maryland. Why don't we stop electing non Kansans? Why don't we elect people who want to live here?

Richard Heckler 4 months, 3 weeks ago

The Koch brothers are at it again.

The Wall Street Journal just reported that they’re spending a whopping $20 million promoting the GOP’s tax scam, with more TV ads and even door-to-door campaigning in the works -- all to boost the plan’s weak popularity before the 2018 elections.

We all know the tax scam is a bad deal for the American people. But we can’t let the Koch brothers well-funded spin machine cloud the truth -- and we’re running ads right now to fight back.

The GOP’s billionaire donors -- including the Koch brothers -- are about to get massive tax breaks under the GOP plan. And now, they’re channeling their windfall into propping up the Republicans who voted for this scam.

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