"You ain't seen nothing yet," said Republican Senator Pat Roberts.

    Roberts said he's seeking re-election to reform health care, work on the economy, strengthen national security and create a comprehensive energy plan.

    Roberts is a fourth-generation Kansan from Dodge City. He served eight terms as a congressman for Kansas' First District and is now in his second term as a U.S. Senator.

    The Globe interviewed Robert on Thursday about his priorities for Dodge City, the state and the nation. Here are those questions and answers, which have been edited for length.


"You ain't seen nothing yet," said Republican Senator Pat Roberts.
    Roberts said he's seeking re-election to reform health care, work on the economy, strengthen national security and create a comprehensive energy plan.
    Roberts is a fourth-generation Kansan from Dodge City. He served eight terms as a congressman for Kansas' First District and is now in his second term as a U.S. Senator.
    The Globe interviewed Robert on Thursday about his priorities for Dodge City, the state and the nation. Here are those questions and answers, which have been edited for length.

Daily Globe: Why are you seeking re-election?
Pat Roberts: I think we've had a very good partnership with the people of Kansas, and we've had, I don't know how many associations and organizations back us, whether it's agriculture, health care, whether it's energy or whether it's veterans or military. It's a very fine staff and I think we've made a real difference. And with that, I've been telling groups, "You ain't seen nothing yet."
    I could say the same thing about Dodge City in regards to the local public officials and a lot of friends I have in Dodge and have had for years. I could just list a few appropriations projects that I think were sorely needed.
    In 2003, we got a million dollars for U.S. 50 in regards to reconstruction there and that had been long overdue. And then 2005 was the big year in regards to highway funds. We hope that another year would come like that, but the budget pressures are very severe right now. And that was $2 million for the Dodge City Depot Project and $3.5 million for the Wyatt Earp Blvd. U.S. 50 and $800,000 for the Dodge City downtown core streetscaping. I know that caused an awful lot of orange barrels, but after the orange barrels leave I think we've changed the face of Dodge City, so I'm very pleased to have played a key role in that.
    At any rate, then in 2007 we got almost $300,000 for the Ford County Sheriff's Office for addressing and preventing terrorist risks. And $205,000 for the United Methodist Youthville. So we've been working very hard. Basically that's all the money that we have personally secured for Dodge and we wish we could have more, but we've had very tight budget restrictions. We've tried to limit these to essential projects to the community.     

DG: What would your priorities be for the state and country for the next term, if elected?
PR: I don't think there's any question that we have a bipartisan need. And I emphasize bipartisan need to address the problems with the economy and that really translates into jobs and the economic well-being of every citizen in Ford County, and for that matter southwest Kansas.
    I voted against the rescue plan or the bailout, depending on your point of view. I just did not see how Kansas taxpayers' money should be going to bail out a Florida speculator, or say China with a bunch of bad loans, or some building project in California or for that matter a Wall Street executive.
    And I have yet to see how the government can actually set a market share. We're still in the business of trying to determine who is going to administer this program and how. And I did recommend that the treasury and the secretary there and the chairman of the Fed back internal bank transfers, which I think would have provided a lot of liquidity that we really need between our banks and our lending institutions.
    Secondly, to take that $250,000 assurance that we have to investors and consumers, make it five years, don't make it just one year. And then finally, it's this mark to market thing where if you have performing loans in a bank or any lending institution they should not be marked down if in fact you have a few bad loans. Or if another bank in the area has more bad loans. Basically tell the FDIC to keep the performing loans at their value and then the community bank will not be in that much trouble. Those three things I think should have been done immediately and then I think we'd have to take a look at what we do. ...
    So, the economy and jobs are number one. Number two is energy. We desperately need a realistic and comprehensive bill. We have yet to achieve that. That's been one of the failures of the last Congress.
    And then to continue our work in regards to health care. We passed a Medicare reform bill, the president vetoed it, but we overrode his veto and that really preserved Medicare for 400,000 Kansas seniors. ...
    All throughout our health care delivery system we had worked over time to get this 18-month moratorium that they would not cut their reimbursement plans. We were at a situation when we were very close to having people deny the service of Medicare. And you just can't do that, that's really rationing health care. And I was very much opposed to that policy. We'll continue on the economy, on health care and on energy. We always are involved with agriculture and working with Jerry Moran on the House side. It's a good team effort, and I think those are the top items.

DG: What should the country's next step be concerning the war in Iraq?
PR: Well, I hope stability will be achieved in Iraq. I think we've made great progress with the surge. I think General Petraeus put it best. He said we have achieved some degree of stability, but it's very fragile.
     And I think we need to take a look on the ground both on the Iraqis and our military to determine at what time we can start bringing our troops home. I think everybody in Congress and everybody in the country would like to see us bring our men and women in uniform back as soon as possible, but I don't want a situation where we have to send them back.
    So my prediction to you, and I hope it is correct, but things could change, is that the stability would continue. I think the Iraqis, maybe some of these folks hate each other, but they don't have to kill one another. And I think that they have started to enjoy normal life in terms of commerce. I think they have a lot of oil revenues that they could certainly share for their improvement. I think the government has achieved some degree of stability. We're farther ahead than we were. But we have to understand that that's very fragile. I hope we can start bringing the troops back next year.
    And then this idea of sending them over to Afghanistan and Pakistan, I think we have to understand that is an even more difficult job than Iraq in terms of the history of both countries and where the terrorists are. A very, very difficult task for a country to understand their sovereignty but also understand that when we know where the terrorists are that we have to really go in and do a job. So we have to really achieve a better situation especially with Pakistan. ...

DG: Is there any other issue locally or nationally that you would like to address?
PR: I just want to emphasize this time, this election, that everybody's vote is absolutely crucial. This is truly a crossroads election. We have our economic security and our national security at stake.
    If you vote in the election, and I hope everybody does, that vote is going to decide Supreme Court judges, the attempt, the ill-advised attempt, to unionize America; we don't need that. The proposed tax increases that somebody in Washington is deciding who's rich and who isn't. And the need for a realistic energy plan and I would say our individual freedoms in a very dangerous world.
    So we really have a lot at stake and this is a crossroads election. I'm really urging every possible person to vote for whom they think will do the best job. I point out as a marine, our motto is Semper Fidelis, always faithful. I will always be faithful to Kansans, and so I am asking them for their consideration.

Reach Cherise Forno at (620) 408-9931 or e-mail her at cherise.forno@dodgeglobe.com.