Candidate for 2nd District stops in Chanute
A candidate for the Congressional seat now held by Lynn Jenkins knocked on Chanute doors Thursday.
Steve Watkins is one of six Republicans running in the primary for the 2nd District US House of Representatives seat that Jenkins plans to surrender at the end of this term. Watkins is running as a political outsider, and this is the first time he has sought elected office.
Watkins grew up in the Topeka area and said he joined the US Army as soon as legally possible. He attended the military academy at West Point and was later stationed in Alaska. He extended his time in the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and served in Afghanistan. He later went into business as a para-military engineering and security contractor, which grew to more than 300 jobs.
“It’s a sacrificial endeavor,” Watkins said about his foray into politics. “I’m drawn to things that I think are historically significant.”
Other candidates in the Republican primary are Vernon Fields of Basehor, Steve Fitzgerald of Leavenworth, Doug Mays, Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha and Caryn Tyson of Parker. The winner will face Democrat Paul Davis of Lawrence in the general election.
Watkins said Republican leaders are concerned about the party’s ability to beat Davis. He said he knocks on 1,000 doors a day.
“Donald Trump’s draining the swamp message still matters to people,” he said.
He said he has created more jobs than the other candidates combined and, as the youngest, voters would make an investment in him.
Watkins said he calls balls and strikes on President Donald Trump. He said he hopes to avoid trade wars and stands with
Chanute’s pipe and lumber suppliers and Kansas farmers.
He also said he is a strong advocate to reform the Dodd-Frank banking regulations so they can promote growth and do not impede financial institutions. He also said he wants to protect the state’s culture, religion and way of life.
Watkins said Chanute’s city ownership of utilities and fiber optic network is innovative and bold. He also applauded Chanute’s economic development.
He added that he is an advocate to reform the Veterans Administration and said telemedicine seems limiting.