Joe Barton and Frank Kuchar both know that big challenges lie ahead for members of Congress.
The budget, taxes, spending and the nation’s health care plan, just to name a few.
And both Republicans say they want to be the one to represent the 6th congressional district in these and other issues.
“The decisions made in Congress over the next few years will have a profound effect on the future of the country,” said Barton, who has represented the district since 1985. “I think I have the conservative credentials and the leadership ability to make sure the views of the people in the 6th District are properly represented in Washington.”
“Our current representation in Congress has in several critical areas gotten away from our Constitutional foundation and voted for bills that have helped expand government or granted powers to the government not authorized in the Constitution,” the Arlington man said.
The two will face off in the March 4 primary, each vying for the two-year term that pays $174,000 a year.
Early voting in the election runs from Tuesday-Feb. 28.
The winner faces Democrat David Edwin Cozad, who challenged Barton in 2010, and Libertarian Hugh Chauvin in the Nov. 4 general election.
District 6 includes most of Arlington and Mansfield and all of Ellis and Navarro counties.
Barton, who years ago was nicknamed Smokey Joe by some for defending industries against tighter pollution controls, has been involved recently in issues ranging from trying to legalize online poker to trying to keep the government from dictating what type of light bulbs people should use.
Barton, a 64-year-old Ennis man, has more than $850,000 in his campaign war chest. He said he has a proven record and is a consistent conservative voice for the district.
“I don’t think my work is done,” he said. “I’ve been a leader on free market based health care reform and energy policy. As Chairman and now senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I turned my conservative ideals into legislation, while at the same time building bipartisan support.”
His top priorities, if re-elected, include getting government spending under control, balancing the budget and repealing or replacing Obamacare — which he has advocated for years.
“The reforms I support take the power away from bureaucrats in Washington and put it back in the people’s hands,” he said.
Kuchar, 61, is an Arlington payroll/benefits/HR manager who ran against Barton in 2012 and claimed 11.4 percent of the vote in the Republican primary that year.
Then and now, the former minister who has nearly $4,000 in cash on hand for his campaign, said he’s not a career politician.
He seeks “only to restore us to a limited form of government by joining forces with the few others in Congress who adhere to the same principles,” he said. “I understand limited government, business .. and the daily challenges facing citizens, for I am one of them.”
If elected, he said his top priorities would be replacing the income tax system with a consumption tax, curtailing spending by “elimination of unconstitutional programs/agencies/regulations” and addressing immigration.
“Our system needs major overhauling and securing our borders,” he said. “I oppose amnesty, legalization of any kind.”