U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston didn’t duck the question that seemed to be on everyone’s mind during Friday’s Kiwanis Club meeting at The Plaza. Instead, he embraced it.
Upon being asked why Congress accomplishes very little of consequence these says, the conservative Republican U.S. Senate candidate said, “It’s not easy to do, but we have to acknowledge that there are two sides to this thing. We’re not doing that anymore. What we’re doing is issuing press releases and comments — that, and vote purity — to make ourselves look good and get re-elected.
“I think that’s one of the elements.”
Kingston, a Savannah resident, made a point about the difficulty of congressional negotiating by asking audience members how willing they are to compromise. On gun ownership, the farm bill and other issues, the crowd of about 35 seemed to be as rigid as members of Congress.
Kingston said he has had some success negotiating with members of the Democratic Party.
“When I was chairman of the Ag Appropriations Committee, we cut $3.6 billion (in two years), and I had to negotiate with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who is not exactly a fiscal hawk,” Kingston said. “He’s of a different philosophy, but we got it done and got the president to sign it. It’s possible, but we have to be more persistent.”
Kingston said America is at a crossroad of sorts.
“If you remember anything I said today, remember this,” he said. “We are having a huge national debate, and it’s this — what level of government service do you want and who is going to pay for it? Are you going to tax one group or are you going to tax future generations?
“It’s a profound debate.”
After espousing his views on defense issues, fiscal concerns, job growth, energy independence, developing a stronger worth ethic in America’s younger generation and taxes, Kingston urged citizens to get involved in the political process.
“Being active is extremely important and relevant to all of us as Americans,” he said. “In this (U.S. Senate) election, 80 percent of the vote is above I-20. If we in south Georgia are going to have political clout, we have to be relevant.”
Kingston made it clear that south Georgia is important to him. He has made four stops in Thomasville since announcing his candidacy, more than any other Senate hopeful.
“You have to try harder and you have to stick together,” Kingston said. “That would be my recommendation — to make sure we stand up and be counted.”