KSN interviewed Independent candidate Greg Orman for U.S. Senate via Skype. You can watch the full interview here.
KSN: You’ve seen a big surge in numbers- what do you attribute it to?
Orman: “Well, I mean, we’re at 14 right now and our plan is to go significantly higher and I think the reason that we’re doing well is because our message is really speaking to the voters in Kansas. You know, people are frustrated. They recognize that we’re sending the worst of both parties to Washington and ultimately they know for us to solve our problems, as a country, that we really need to send problem solvers and not partisans and I think that message is really resonating with Kansas voters and as you’ve seen in four short weeks we’ve more than doubles the amount of support that we’ve had and I think we’re going to be going further. This is just the start.
KSN: You’re an Independent, the Senate is very partisan. How can you make a difference in the U.S. Senate without being a member of either party?
Orman: Well, most importantly, and the thing that distinguishes me is that I’m a problem solver. I’ve been a business person my whole life, and in business we have to solve problems every day to continue to grow our business and employ people and provide opportunities for people. So, unlike a lot of other folks who are in this race, I’ve had experience dealing with some of the challenges that every-day Americans are dealing with. We’ve had to deal with rising health care costs. We’ve had to deal with increasing government regulations. We’ve had to deal with budgets and balancing them day in and day out. If you look at my platform, it’s really about solutions because I’m a problem solver who believes that the best way to move forward as a country is to face our problems head on and not hide from them, not position for partisan advantage, but rather serve Americans instead of serving ourselves.
Orman: Going to the Senate as an Independent may be a challenging road to take, but it’s also very liberating. As an Independent, I get to go to Washington as a problem solver, not a partisan. I get to embrace the best ideas, wherever they come from, in order to move our country forward. If you think about the Senate specifically, if I were to get elected, there’s a very real chance that neither party would have a majority in the U.S. Senate. And if that were the case, it would provide Kansas a real tool for defining the agenda in the Senate and forcing the Senate to face our problems instead of just positioning for partisan advantage.
KSN: Immigration is a big issue. How would you solve the problem?
Orman: For us to deal with our current immigration system, we have to adopt a policy that’s tough, fair, and practical. By tough, I mean we need to secure our borders. It’s something that we’ve been working on, but we’re not quite there, but we need first make sure we secure our borders. It’s got to be fair to tax payers. So, if someone’s in this country and is undocumented, I think they need to go an register with the INS, they need to pay a fine or perform community service as an acknowledgment that they’ve broken the law, they need to pay taxes, hold down a job, obey our laws, learn English, and ultimately at that point, if they want to get in line and apply for citizenship, they should be able to do that. By the same token, it has to be practical. It’s just not practical to say that we’re going to find and send back to other countries 11 million undocumented people. And frankly, it’s not even advisable. We’ve got whole industries in Kansas that would go away. We’ve got towns that would be decimated if we took such drastic actions. Towns like Dodge City and Garden City, much of the agricultural community in Kansas would be absolutely devastated if we took a real harsh position on that. In that regard, it needs to be tough, fair, and practical.
KSN: When you say, “secure the borders,” so you mean fence? Border Patrol/troops?
Orman: We’ve dramatically increased the number of border security agents that we have on the border over the last 10 years. In fact, I think in 2004 we had something along the order of 10,000 security agents, now we’re closer to 21,000 people working in border security. I think we need to continue the commitment to the number of folks there. I do think we need to look at an evaluate whether or not there are opportunities to employ technology to do a better job of securing the border and we don’t create a perception that we have poor border control. Another thing to think about, just in terms of immigration policy is all the unintended consequences of having 11 million people living here who are sort of living outside of the system. We’re talking about increased instances of certain diseases, and it doesn’t surprise me that with 11 million people who might be afraid to go and get vaccinations. And so there are lots of unintended consequences for not solving the problem. And the other thing that I’d point out, is that if we look at this problem over a long period of time, when Senator Roberts was elected to the house, we had 2.1 million undocumented workers in this country, and today we have 11 million. Both sides like to talk about being tough on immigration and immigration reform, but frankly both sides have had control of Congress and the White House for extended periods of time, and neither side has really done anything about it. It’s because there are large vocal constituencies in both parties on either side of this issue. So I think that immigration is just yet another example of how Washington is failing us by failing to act on a constructive solution.