The economy, especially job creation, is the most important issue for the United States right now, State Sen. Jim Barnett, R-Emporia, said Tuesday.
Barnett, a candidate for Kansas 1st Congressional District, spoke with several residents at the home of Marian Crofoot in Marion as part of his house call tour.
With a 10-percent unemployment rate and out-of-control government spending, changes are needed in Congress, he said.
Barnett, a doctor, said he thinks the federal health care bill will do more harm than good and should be repealed. When government gets involved in industry, it becomes wasteful, inefficient, and wracked by fraud, he said.
The government needs to do a better job of helping people transition out of welfare programs instead of perpetuating need. He credited the Reagan and Clinton administrations with making progress toward that goal.
Barnett started in politics with eight years on the Emporia school board. He said he thinks education should be under the control of state and local officials, with minimum interference at the federal level.
What distinguishes him from other congressional candidates is his ability to build consensus and find solutions, he said. He developed the skill in his 10 years in the Kansas Senate.
Barnett grew up on a farm near Reading. He earned a degree in chemistry from Emporia State University with a minor in biology, and he attended medical school at the University of Kansas.
He has practiced medicine for 28 years in Emporia. He and his wife, Yvonne, have two children. Blake is 27 years old and works in Shanghai, China. Chelsea is 23 years old and is a law student at KU.