Position for which you are running: The First Congressional District of Kansas

Age: 63

Education: Doctorate in Hisory

Occupation: Professor of history, Kansas State University

Experience: U.S. Air Force, 1970-1974; social studies teacher, Turner High School, Kansas City, 1979-1982; Professor of History, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, 1988-1992; Professor of History, Kansas State University, 1992 to the present; Manhattan, Kansas, City Commissioner, 2007-2013, and Mayor 2011-2012; and representative for Manhattan on the Flint Hills Regional Council, 2010-2013.
Bonnie Lynn-Sherow (Jim’s wife) and Jim own and operate a small business and rental property. Together they have restored five historic houses in Manhattan, Kansas, four of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

What is your stance on immigration reform?
It is shameful that Congress has not implemented immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Right now the Senate has passed a sweeping reform of immigration policy (S.744). This bill not only provides a stringent path to citizenship, it increases funding for securing the border with Mexico. I will add my voice to those demanding a House floor vote on this immigration measure.

What would you do in Congress to promote job and economic growth in the country?
Federal spending needs to be shifted toward nation building at home with increased spending on public education, health and infrastructure.
My experience as a commissioner in Manhattan, Kansas showed me the value of planning, and private-public partnerships in creating unprecedented economic development and job growth. As a result, Manhattan, Kansas is the fastest growing city in the state with unemployment remaining constant at four percent or below.

What would you do to address taxes and spending in Congress?
Simplifying the tax code so it is more equitable for all income groups, and having corporations pay their fair share in supporting our country is a needed first step. Too many loopholes exist that allow corporations to hide income such as off-shore tax shelters. The tax code must treat all fairly and equitably.
We also need common sense measures to reduce the escalating long-term national debt. We need practical-minded lawmakers who will cooperate and produce actual results. Some savings can be found in health care reform and careful efficiencies made in defense spending. These two are largest budget items in the federal budget.

What role do you think the U.S. should play in emerging international conflicts?
Events today in Iraq and Syria are essentially proxy wars pitting well-funded religious sects against each other. U.S. military intervention will solve nothing.
Stopping the violence will require exceptionally difficult diplomacy that will lead major powers toward an agreement to stop supporting sects and armies warring on their behalf. Without some sort of mutual accord among these power blocks, the violence will only continue. In short, the United States cannot afford to be the policeman of the world.

What role do you think the federal government should have in addressing social issues, such as same-sex marriage, women’s health and legalization of marijuana?
Same-sex marriage: While the Kansas public moves toward recognizing gay rights, too many politicians use this as a wedge issue distracting voters from the political decisions affecting their economic well-being. According to a Public Policy Poll in 2013, 34 percent approved of gay marriage, while 40 percent approved a year later.
In 2013, 34 percent disapproved of any legally recognized union for gays and a year later it had fallen to 32 percent. My university students are untroubled by gay marriage, but they are concerned about whether or not they will be employed after graduation and if they can pay their student loans.
Women’s health: I am pro family, and I am pro woman. Abortion is a tragedy, but the key to reducing abortions is not criminalizing women. Instead, we should implement what does work, which means giving young women and men the information they need to make good decisions and enhancing access to affordable birth control. We must also remember that helping families by reducing poverty is a key to reducing abortions.
Marijuana: In the main, the legalization of marijuana is a state issue. But the federal government can also determine the legal status of a drug. The federal categorization of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug needs to change as requested by the FDA. Keeping marijuana classified as a Schedule 1 drug prevents proper research into its possible medicinal uses, thereby making marijuana one of the only drugs prescribed by doctors without rigorous medical testing. Scientists should have the tools to determine the efficacy and danger of marijuana, something made difficult by its current categorization.