Kevin Jones, Wellsville Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat, said his campaign is centered around bringing civility back to Congress.
“I see a lack of true servant leaders in Washington,” Jones said. “It is not about getting to the next level or increasing your career. It truly is about serving the people.”
Jones, who spent the past six years as a state representative, said his legislative experience coupled with his demeanor gives the voters a choice in the cluttered Republican primary, which has seven candidates.
“It comes down to principles, not in governing, but principles in life,” Jones said. “We have a statement on our chest: ‘Proven. Ready to Lead.’ We need somebody who is willing to work across the aisle, To treat those people with civility.”
Jones was asked by Republican leaders to run for Lynn Jenkins’ seat after she decided to step aside.
“People started asking me, saying ‘We need a servant leader, proven in that aspect,’” Jones said.
“I have six years in the statehouse. At the [same] time, I was on the [Wellsville] school board and [Franklin County] planning commission,” he said. “We don’t want political insiders. We need people to know we are proven in all aspects.”
Jones also served in the U.S. Army, starting in 2004, becoming a Green Beret and was deployed to hot spots around the world, including Iraq.
“Military service is selfless service,” Jones said. “They put their life on the line. For me, it was not about the money. It was about how I best fit to be used by the military. I was trying to serve the people in the best capacity. I answered the call.”
Before his military service, he was as a pastor.
“The greatest thing you can do is be a servant to all,” Jones said. “I was deployed with family at home. I have a unique respect for our combat veterans. We are proven and experienced in a lot of different areas. Being out in the oil field, you see the relationship between farmer and landowner vs. oil and gas.”
Jones, a father of eight children, does not see a better future for his children at the moment.
“What it comes down to in the 2nd District is the family unit,” he said. “Jobs and wages. All those things that hit right where the family is at is what matters because what we see is an exodus of people moving away from Kansas.”
Jones said jobs are a top priority for many Kansans. He said debt in general is taking away opportunities from young families.
“They have to find jobs that will sustain their debt,” Jones said. “They will leave [Kansas] to meet those needs. People are done with our national debt...deficit spending. They feel like the foot should have been put down a long time ago.”
He said seniors and those approaching retirement have concerns about Social Security and Medicare.
“They had promises made [to them] with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” Jones said. “They want to keep it. They have paid in for years and years. We are dealing with lawlessness today.”
He said today’s political leaders don’t stand up to be counted.
“You have to get down to what is the truth,” Jones said. “People are afraid to call something ‘unlawful or illegal’. We say ‘undocumented’. People are done with that. This is why [President] Trump has such an appeal. He will call it for what it is and do what he says we will do. People trust his ability to negotiate.”
Jones said this campaign is about who voters think will best represent them in Congress to improve the economy, bring healthcare costs down, help fund mental health, stop illegal immigration and become a champion for Kansas farmers when it comes to trade and tariffs.
Jones said legislators should understand how to handle money.
“Our Congress deals with where does the money go or how are you going to handle the money?” he said. “We need somebody that is going to be have good fiscal oversight, be frugal and be faithful with that money. We need somebody that is going to be trusted with that money.”
He said there needs to be an entrepreneur spirit throughout the nation to bring economic growth.
“It takes leaders to buy buildings and give opportunities to folks in that area to cultivate the entrepreneur spirit,” Jones said. “Many of our good jobs require drug testing. We need our students to be prepared for the actual job, but they also should not have debt and be clean.”
Jones is in favor of repealing Obamacare and putting a focus on a free market system to curb healthcare costs.
“Obamacare is one of the four biggest driving economic things in our country,” he said. “It has become a huge strain on our society. You have the left moving us toward more socialized medicine. Socialized medicine is a scary thing.”
Jones said playing hardball may not be a bad idea for the U.S. on tariffs and trade.
“When it comes to our trade, we have been taken advantage of for years and years,” he said. “We might come out on top of grain, but on manufacturing, we are getting hurt. We need manufacturing jobs in the Second District. When you talk about how to create an economic environment and get good jobs here, we need our manufacturing jobs, but also we are a big farming [state]. We need to make sure our farmers are taken care of. What our President is trying to do is negotiate it to where are not being taken advantage of as a nation. It pits Kansas against the more manufacturing states. It is time for us to put our foot down. Countries are recognizing we are playing hardball.”
Jones said illegal immigration is a security issue.
“Our government is for the defense of our nation,” he said. “We are looking at it emotionally. When you have been faced with those kind of issues then you realize duty sometimes trumps the emotion. Build the wall. It is a deterrent.”
Jones said his platform is about being a leader for Kansas.
“I truly believe what is so attractive about us in the 2nd District is the family farm or business,” he said. “It is our small hometowns. I am running on bringing jobs into the S2nd District, curbing our national debt, and lawful administration of our government. There is civility in that. We need folks that have proven themselves to be a true servant leader.”