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Huelskamp's uncompromising positions well-known in Kansas


Recently, U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, has received a lot of national media attention for his uncompromising positions on the budget and gun control.

But those familiar with Kansas politics have long known about Huelskamp's refusal to budge.

Let's review Huelskamp's December.

Just one month after running unopposed to a second term in Congress, Huelskamp was in the middle of a political firestorm when House Speaker John Boehner kicked him off two crucial committees. Huelskamp lost his position on the House Agriculture Committee, a key assignment for someone representing the ag-dominated Big First district, and the House Budget Committee.

Huelskamp called the move "petty, vindictive politics."

Washington observers said Boehner was exerting discipline against Huelskamp and several other tea party Republicans who had voted against U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's GOP budget blueprint that passed the House in March and against the 2011 deal between Republican leaders and President Barack Obama for extending the debt ceiling.

As Boehner and Obama negotiate a deficit-reduction plan, Huelskamp has said he will not vote for any deal that includes a tax increase. Huelskamp cheered last week at the failure of Boehner's "Plan B," which would have prevented tax increases for all Americans but million-dollar earners.

Then last week, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough got angry with Huelskamp during an interview when they talked about the mass slayings at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Huelskamp said some were using the shootings to politicize calls for gun control. Scarborough resented that implication.

Nothing new here.

During his 14 years in the Kansas Legislature, Huelskamp was known for getting cross-ways with leaders, even those in his own party.

In 2003, GOP leaders kicked him off the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Then-Senate President Dave Kerr said at the time, "Sen. Huelskamp has been unwilling to apply constructive criticism and positive solutions to the myriad of budget problems of the state. We have no time to deal with anyone who is unwilling to be part of the solution."

But while he was angering Senate Republican leaders, Huelskamp found favor on the national stage.

In 2005, anti-tax leader Grover Norquist named Huelskamp "Hero of the Taxpayer" for fighting against taxes and trying to reduce the authority of the Kansas Supreme Court after the court declared the school finance system unconstitutional and ordered lawmakers to increase school funding.

Norquist even came to Topeka for a news conference to honor Huelskamp. At that press conference, Norquist illustrated the no-tax, no-way philosophy, saying, "Republicans who vote for tax increases are rat heads in a Coke bottle. They damage the brand. They don't just hurt themselves."

Huelskamp was often critical of Gov. Bill Graves, a Republican, and then in 2008 went after Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' son John for creating a prison-themed board game called Don't Drop the Soap.

Last year, some Republican leaders in Kansas voiced concern for putting the city of Manhattan in the 1st Congressional District during redistricting negotiations because they said Huelskamp would have trouble protecting congressional appropriations for the National Bio and Agro-Defense facility. Huelskamp has said he supports funding for NBAF, but his philosophical desire for smaller government has some worried.

In addition to NBAF, the 1st District depends on Medicare reimbursements for rural hospitals and farm subsidies. And while the potential for more wind farms is great in the 1st District, Huelskamp opposes extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind farms.

In June, several people at a town hall meeting in Hutchinson told Huelskamp that he should support the wind tax credit, but Huelskamp replied, "there is no money tree in Washington, D.C."


Mercy 4 years, 11 months ago

So Scott, what's your point? Am I to infer from your comments that you believe our politicians should sit their values (living within our means,,) aside to make a deal or be afraid to speak the obvious truth(energy from wind farms is the most expensive source of energy we have and the most unreliable when we need it, so why promote it)?

srothschild 4 years, 11 months ago

To Mercy, who asked what's my point. It was to report that Rep. Huelskamp's recent actions that have gained attention in D.C. are similar to how he operated while in the Kansas Legislature.

frankfussman 4 years, 11 months ago

Scott is just reporting the facts. I have a hard time remembering how to pronounce his name...Foolskamp?? Read this from Great Bend, July 2010: "Huelskamp Not an Outsider, Just Disruptive http://www.kansasfreepress.com/2010/07/huelskamp-not-an-outsider-just-a-pain-in-the-neck.html

riverdrifter 4 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunately, you are correct. The people in that district can do much better.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 11 months ago

Mr Rothschild,

How dare you report facts, with their well known liberal bias.

Brock Masters 4 years, 11 months ago

So how does a politician represent all their constituency when the constituency is divided? Seems to me they represent those that voted him into office since they represent the majority of the voters.

Brock Masters 4 years, 11 months ago

Well mac, I do have an idea what it means to be an American, but if 75% of the constituency wants no more taxes and 25% want more taxes how is the politician suppose to represent all his constituents? If he ran on a platform of no taxes and was elected should he then raise taxes because a few want them?

Isn't Obama saying that the people who elected him want taxes raised and that is why he supports raising taxes? I don't want taxes raised so Obama is not representing me, but so what. He won and he will represent those that voted for him, not those of us who opposed him.

Mac, you're quick with the the negative comments, perhaps you can tell me how a politician can represnt all their constituents when the constituents have opposing views?

Brock Masters 4 years, 11 months ago

Gandalf, I don't agree what they are doing is right, but they are doing what the people who voted them into office want them to do. And, no the House shouldn't go along with them since the people who voted them into office want them to oppose the president and senate.

Same question for you as for Mac, how can a politican represent all constituents when their constituents are divided on the issues? Do you fault Obama for not representing all Americans when he proposes to raise taxes and many Americans don't want him to raise them? I don't, he is doing what those who voted for him want and he won.

Kathy Theis-Getto 4 years, 11 months ago

"And, no the House shouldn't go along with them since the people who voted them into office want them to oppose the president and senate."

Thanks for being so honest about your belief in divide and conquer tactics by the TP. Sadly chasing shadows......

Brock Masters 4 years, 11 months ago

Kathy I am always honest. I am not a republican nor a TP, but I don't like the policies of the president and the direction he wants to take the country There is no divide and conquer conspiracy, just plain Ol opposition.

I wanted my elected representatives to oppose some of the Bush policies too. Did you agree with all Bush did? If not then did you want Congress to oppose him? If so, then why was it right then but wrong now?

As Americans we will not always agree but we should agree that we have the right to promote what we believe in and oppose what we don't without being labeled unpatriotic, evil or a tea bagger.

Kathy Theis-Getto 4 years, 11 months ago

...or without being labeled a socialist or communist? I would have to agree with you on that point.
Do you dislike all of the policies of our president, or just some? There is a big difference in that opinion and the actions of the House, which is to derail every policy.

Brock Masters 4 years, 11 months ago

I agree, no labels for expressing a different opinion. I dislike most of the Presidents policies - patriot act, national defense act, killing of Americans not convicted of a crime, taxing only the rich as a solution to our problems (we need a multi- prong approach). And yes, I was just as critical of Bush.

I do not like the House plan B or the presidents proposal to deal with the fiscal cliff.

I don't like Mr No to everything Huelskamp - we need leaders willing to lead and to negotiate in the interest of Americans.

Joe Blackford II 4 years, 11 months ago

try reading for comprehension: "running unopposed to a second term in Congress." I had no alternative to vote for anyone Other Than Huelskamp = so I left that ballot box Blank. Had the majority of 1st District voters done the same, we would still have been stuck with Huelskamp.

The only Huelskamp positive for me? He helps to sink the NBAF for KSU; as he surely won't want to spend the $ for the NBAF to possibly withstand an F-5.

Brock Masters 4 years, 11 months ago

When a candidate runs unopposed it generally means they have such strong support among their constituents that other candidates see it as a lost cause to unseat them.

So Catsap, I will ask you the same question I've asked the others, how can a politician represent all constituents when the constituents are divided? You obviously disagree with what I wrote so tell me how what I wrote is wrong - how can the politician represent everyone when the constituents are 180 to one another? If he represents those that didn't vote for him and their position is opposite of those that voted for him, isn't he again not representing all constituents? Which side would you represent when the positions of the constituents are opposite and opposed to each other?

thebigspoon 4 years, 11 months ago

WOW! Sorry about all that. The above comment was to mertz, but never appeared where I looked. Computer genius I'm not. But the thought stays.

riverdrifter 4 years, 11 months ago

The Speaker quite correctly identified Huelskamp as a locker room cancer and stripped him of his committee memberships. It's a start, I guess. If the Repubs have any sense they'll ditch all the Norquist nutties.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 11 months ago

Huelskamp is a bomb thrower. Like many tea partiers, he thrives on conflict and division. It doesn't matter who is in power, Huelskamp will conflict with them. Just ask John Boehner.

Kathy Theis-Getto 4 years, 11 months ago

Sorry, you don't have an entitlement for knowledge as an adult. I believe in helping those who take initiative. The Dept. of Labor may be a good place for you to start.

Kathy Theis-Getto 4 years, 11 months ago

All one has to do is read the news to know unemployment facts. Staying informed is the first step to understanding. The EUC is on hold and may very well not be extended. Gandalf has his facts straight as usual.

FrankTheFarmer 4 years, 11 months ago

In GOP circles, they say State Senator Garrett Love is going to run against Huelskamp. Is Sen. love any better?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Tim is not a republican which makes him a fraud.

Tim like Sam Brownback is a Rt Wing Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party for Economic Terrorism. Not necessarily the brightest cookies on the block.

Let's look at some examples of reckless management of our economy which has been managed by this party of Rt Wing Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party for Economic Terrorism for the past 33 years

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT - TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist = Grab Your Wallets! http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist aka home loan scandal sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many $$ trillions (Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion), Plus millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Bush/Cheney implied many financial institutions were at risk instead of only 3? One of the biggest lies perpetrated to American citizens. Where did this money go? Why were some banks forced to take bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

--- RECKLESS GOP Tax cuts = THE GOP ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy which do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs. Tax cuts are a tax increase to others in order to make up the loss in revenue = duped again. Bush Tax Cuts aka

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy is at the expense of the middle class = duped one more time. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

--- In the end big debt and super duper bailouts HAVE BEEN the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power. .

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Rt Wing Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party for Economic Terrorism for the past 33 years also brought this to America.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

riverdrifter 4 years, 11 months ago

"Tim is not a republican which makes him a fraud.

Tim like Sam Brownback is a Rt Wing Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party for Economic Terrorism. Not necessarily the brightest cookies on the block."

Merrill, you should have just stopped right there. Point taken!

msezdsit 4 years, 11 months ago

Huelskamp, R-Fowler, could be the mascot for the Me me me and only me hate splinter of the republican party. He is just another embarrassment for Kansas.

wastewatcher 4 years, 11 months ago

Huelskamp is true to his campaign promises, his values, and the citizens who elected him by such a wide margin. Those who criticize him must not know him, because he believes what he talks about and does not check his values and promises at the lobbyist counter when he goes to the capital. You may not like his positions, but you are not surprised by them. As far as Dave Kerr, we know that he did not have the guts to take on Huelskamp at the polls and Huelskamp won a highly contested primary among 5 or 6 candidates in 2010.

deec 4 years, 11 months ago

I suspect he's true to his campaign contributors more than his constituents, like the Kochs, American Freedom PAC and the banking and ag industries.


oldexbeat 4 years, 11 months ago

Dr. Timmy ("I"m the brightest person in Fowler") Huelskamp is a non-thinking fraud. He has no positions. That's the fraud part. Voting NO to everything isn't a position. It is leaving the field and taking your ball home.

He is a professional politician, spending all of his adult life in paid political positions. He will have a fine bonus when retiring. That's the taxes he would cut if he was a true conservative. He hasn't. Garrett Love also wants to be a professional politician, and like Sam Brownback, will stay one until he drops.

Bob Burton 4 years, 11 months ago

Whine, whine & more whine. You got to love Lawrence & Douglas County as the only Blue in the Red state of Kansas. If you need a good laugh come here. Y'all stay warm & drive safely.

bad_dog 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, we do laugh a bit here in Douglas Co. To re-state the old saying, however, unfortunately the laughing is at most of the rest of the state; not with it. In my frequent travels I've come to understand much of the rest of the country laughs at/about Kansas just as heartily as those in Douglas Co.

bad_dog 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, Ellis County used to have a fairly strong Democratic group.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

This article and the comments bring up some hard questions.

When does a politician vote for what s/he believes is the right right thing even when a majority of their constituents are on the other side of the issue?

When do they vote for what is good for the country rather than what is good for their constituents?

Do they not have some obligation to educate their constituents? This is not something we see much of anymore---more likely it's obstructing any understanding of issues and the repetition of untruths.

Of course, the problem is that if they do what they believe is right rather than what their constituents want, they are probably not going to stay in office long.

Would you vote for a political representative if they voted against what you wished, but had a reasonable explanation for what they did?

oldexbeat 4 years, 11 months ago

first -- Dr timmy and his ilk will not even admit that there are problems to be solved -- whether the rising oceans or the sinking health of children in the USA. They will not address the problems at all except to deny or vote NO to any answer. I don't remember Dr. Timmy Huelskamp stating that he was an anarchist or an anti-establishnentarian. You know -- no government. No, I remember him wanting the government to stop the gay people from getting legal and to stop all women from any abortion. Big Government Republicans -- what hypocrites.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

I wasn't defending Huelskamp, just asking questions which this article and comments bring up.

Brock Masters 4 years, 11 months ago

verity, you bring up good points. A politician is often caught between doing what is right and avoiding doing what will be used against them during elections. I frame it this way because most constituents don't know how their representative voted until someone tells them.

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

So---do we have a moral dilemma with no good answer?

thebigspoon 4 years, 11 months ago

Well, DUH! Of course we don't know how they vote until after they vote.

The issue is: whose values and instructions do they follow when they do vote?

Tim's votes have little, if anything, to do with the values of the ENTIRE constituency, represent no attempt at compromise, and follow completely along the Koch-AFP-mandated line.

Tim does nothing he is not told to do, exhibits absolutely no original thinking, and is a shill for the guys with money.

Answer our concerns for you?

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 11 months ago

Probably. But not for the reasons you may be thinking.

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