Steve Fitzgerald said his background in politics, business and the military, makes him the best candidate to represent the 2nd Congressional District.

Fitzgerald, a Leavenworth Republican, is running for the seat being vacated by Lynn Jenkins.

“I bring a breath of experience and knowledge that would be attractive to the voters,” Fitzgerald said. “My ability to represent them better in Congress is the reason why I am running. It is important that people have good representation.”

Fitzgerald has a wealth of political experience. He served as a precinct captain, Kansas Republican Party treasurer, VFW commander and vice president of the school board. He also co-founded the Republican Men’s Leadership Series. In 2012, he was elected to the state Senate. Plus, he was involved in the military, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army and worked in the Pentagon for three years.

Fitzgerald said Kansas is dear to his heart.

“I am very heavily invested in the future [of Kansas],” Fitzgerald said. “I have worked on future concepts for the Army at [U.S. Army] Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. My business [background] gave me good insight to a number of different businesses across the country. We were doing executive recruiting for Fortune 500 companies. With those insights, I have a pretty good idea what’s needed to be done.”

Fitzgerald said government needs advocates to improve healthcare, mental health, trade issues, security and cyber security.

“The President brought an agenda the people overwhelmingly approve of,” Fitzgerald said. “That agenda is improvement of American security and restoration of American prosperity. He needs a good partner in Congress that represents the people and wants to see that agenda accomplished. If we don’t have good American security, we are in real trouble. If we don’t restore our economy, we won’t be able to afford the security we are talking about.”

He said economic vitality is a key element to our society.

“If the economy is sluggish — not moving forward — it really hurts the people in the middle class and below,” Fitzgerald said. “The economy needs the government to get out of the way as much as possible. We have seen that with the reduction of federal regulations. There is still a lot of gas in the tank where the economy can expand.”

Fitzgerald wants Congress to take control of tariffs.

“Congress gave the Executive [Branch] authority on tariffs and they should not have,” Fitzgerald said. “That is perfectly appropriate for the legislature to be deeply involved in discussing and determining tariffs and voting on them.”

He said the Kansas farmer is one of the best innovators in the world.

“Nobody does better in producing a high quality product,” Fitzgerald said. “They do a very good job of handling all the risks that are involved. They have to have access to capital. There has been crop insurance in the farm bill and it has to be maintained.”

Healthcare costs need to be curbed and government needs to move to the background, Fitzgerald said.

“The problem with healthcare now is the involvement of the government,” he said. “When we have the patient seeing the doctor, paying the doctor for the healthcare, we have more competition. When you bring in a third party, no matter what the doctor and I say to each other, it is what they say that counts. That is when things get out of balance. Doctors start practicing defensive medicine.”

Fitzgerald said mental health issues have been around for decades as states pulled funding to balance budgets.

“It was shortsighted and had very bad consequences,” he said. “What we need is an answer in mental health that addresses it across the spectrum. The overall problem is the lack of funding, which I think is shortsighted and immoral.”

He said mental health effects many of us with the unraveling of the family.

“That has mental health implications across our entire community,” Fitzgerald said. “People find themselves in less healthy environments than they did before. We can see the effects on this in our schools. The courts are jammed up. You see it in our emergency rooms. This hurts quality of life for everybody. We are paying for this across the board because we ‘are saving money’ by not putting funds into mental health. It is a real serious problem.”

National security and cyber security are connected, Fitzgerald said.

“We have to have enough military capability to protect our interest in our homeland,” he said. “What should our interests be overseas? Those decisions need to be made before talking about how much we need. It is always shifting because of technology. Now we have nongovernmental groups such as ISIS that don’t have a homeland to protect. If you are not strong enough, you lose and what you lose is your country. We can’t afford that.”

Cyber security came about because the internet connects us to the world. Fitzgerald said the United States is a target from other governments and militants.

“You have some really evil people who have developed a high-level of sophistication in this area,” Fitzgerald said. “They have more capability to harm us than we would like to think. We are talking about the defense of our overall electronically-based economy and society. It is a very serious thing.”

Fitzgerald said it is important for people to be a partner with their representatives.

“Self-government is difficult and messy, but the alternative is unacceptable,” he said. “It is important that we hear what the people have to say. I really enjoy talking with people who have different ideas and different views on things. There is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom among the population.”