KSAL Staff - August 27, 2013 10:22 am
The Hutchinson News:
U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp apparently hasn’t heard the old adage, “You’re entitled to your own opinions but not to your own facts.”
As the congressman from Kansas’ 1st District makes his way from town hall to town hall, he apparently is carrying with him a list of complaints, issues and facts that exist as truth only in his mind.
For example, during a town hall meeting in Hutchinson on Monday, Huelskamp laid out the claim that kindergartners and high school seniors receive the same school lunches. That, however, is not the truth.
USDA guidelines step up the caloric value of student lunches, with between 550 and 650 calories for elementary-aged children and between 750 and 850 calories for high school students. And many high schools, including Hutchinson, offer an a-la-carte menu that allows children to purchase as much food as their parents can afford.
And because Huelskamp can’t resist a chance to take a shot at President Obama, he bemoaned the fact that the president’s daughters attend a school that doesn’t follow the USDA guidelines. But again, Huelskamp offered only a sliver of truth wrapped in fiction: The president’s daughters attend a private school that doesn’t accept school nutrition money from the USDA and therefore isn’t bound by the requirements.
Moving on to food stamps, Huelskamp again failed to tell his constituents the truth.
“At a minimum, stop advertising for food stamps in Mexico,” Huelskamp said during the town hall.
Omitted, however, was that fact the program is designed to bridge the language barrier and help legal immigrants who have been in the country five years. He also failed to mention the program was launched under the Bush administration and has been significantly reduced under the Obama administration.
In another town hall in north-central Kansas, Huelskamp criticized Kansas State Research and Extension for its work in promoting “Obamacare.” Again, the truth evaded Huelskamp. Daryl Buchholz, executive director of Research and Extension, said the agency is not promoting the Affordable Care Act but is working to educate and inform Kansans about changes that will affect their health care.
“When the Affordable Care Act was brought into law, one of our teams began to work pretty hard to understand the elements that would be important for people in the state to understand,” Bucchholz said. “It is not a promotion, in any way, shape or form. Our interest is in trying to provide the best quality of information and education so people can make informed decisions. . Obviously, the Affordable Care Act is one that is extremely political and controversial, and it’s our intent to lay all that information out there so people can make informed decisions. It’s not about promoting.”
Also noteworthy is that the Affordable Care Act isn’t the first time KSRE has delved into controversial issues, in an effort to help educate people. The agency routinely works to inform Kansans about changes to water policy, farm production practices, health, nutrition and a variety of other topics.
“We’ve been doing this for almost 100 years,” Buchholz said.
Education and understanding is not the enemy of any person; it is ignorance and anger.
Huelskamp discredits himself and his positions – and performs a disservice to his constituents – by spreading as fact half-truths and misleading information that serve only to create anger, distrust and angst. But the truth always prevails in the end, and it is always the truth, regardless of how many times an elected U.S. congressman might try to alter it.