WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Students at Wichita State University wanted to hear from their 4th Congressional District candidates. One showed, one was represented, one was absent.
Democrat candidate James Thompson was present for the debate forum at WSU, and Libertarian candidate Chris Rockhold sent his campaign manager. Republican candidate Ron Estes was a no-show.
“Mr. Estes is not concerned about the community, yet again,” Thompson said.
This marks several debates that Estes has been absent from. KSN reached out to his campaign, but they were unable to get back with KSN at news time.
Several students came to the student-moderated debate with questions for Estes; Thompson and Rockhold’s campaign manager Jordan Husted fielded them.
“We do not lead them, we do not tell them this is going to be the solution, we find solutions for our constituents with our constituents,” Husted said.
Questions ranged from foreign policy, affordable healthcare, and resources for veterans. One WSU student who is also a veteran, Ciaban Peterson, came to the debate with questions in hand for Estes regarding pointing fingers for our current state of national security.
“I was really interested in speaking with Ron, I’ve seen a couple times he’s missed debates, so I was really disappointed that he didn’t come. Especially as a veteran,” Peterson said.
Thompson, a veteran, answered Peterson’s question in saying even as a veteran, he doesn’t believe the US should be involved in every foreign conflict. Husted agreed, saying that includes drone strikes, air strikes and other forms of interference.
Thompson and Husted expressed their gratefulness for student interest in the campaign.
“The fact that they’re here, asking questions, shows that they are involved and if they want to participate in this lie that millennials don’t want to be involved, it’s just that. Millennials do want to be involved,” Thompson said.
Peterson, a senior at WSU, was also pleased at student involvement.
“If voter apathy occurs, then it’s not going to matter. If you’re not informed about who represents us, you’re not going to know who to vote for,” Peterson said.
Thompson touched on his campaign platforms, including jobs, education and protecting veterans.
Rockhold’s campaign centers around better government, budget reform and tax simplification.
A paper “Ron Estes” sign sat in his place at the table.