On Feb. 27, 2021, I attended a townhall meeting held by junior United States Senator from Kansas Roger Marshall in Columbus, Kan. When asked about what he was doing for Kansans about the cost of higher education because of his recent comments on the minimum wage, he replied, “If you need help, don’t come crying to me.”
Let’s provide some context for this comment, as vile as it is. During a Senate Republican press conference, Marshall, like many of his colleagues, expressed strong disinterest in raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to anything but namely the recent push for a $15 minimum wage. Marshall’s specific reasoning for opposing a minimum wage increase was related to his time at Kansas State University when the minimum wage was only $3.25. He said that if he could pay off his tuition at K-State with a minimum wage job, then everyone should be able to survive on that. This argument obviously forgets two crucial factors: Marshall’s tuition at K-State by the time he graduated was approximately $900 and Marshall attended community college before attending K-State, vastly reducing the overall cost of his college education.
One would think that Marshall supports some form of more affordable college education given that he thinks someone should be able to afford a college education on a minimum wage job, but he doesn’t support raising it. I should probably also mention that today, K-State’s tuition is $10,000. The reality is Marshall doesn’t view his job to help you, the citizen of Kansas that he’s supposed to be representing.
Much like his colleague Ted Cruz of Texas who recently abandoned his constituents in the cold, Marshall thinks you work for him, not the other way around. At the townhall, he said that it wasn’t his job to help you pay for anything. That those struggling should “look in the mirror” rather than ask for help. Regardless of your political affiliation, I think you should realize that a United States Senator shirking his responsibility to his constituents is ludicrous.
I don’t believe Senator Marshall was expecting any political opposition at this townhall because he opened with a bit about how the Capitol has fencing around it due to the Jan. 6 Insurrection, an act of domestic terrorism that Marshall helped to stoke the flames of. Other topics throughout the townhall included lies about the recently passed in the House Equality Act, incorrect understanding of the electoral process, and implying that Nancy Pelosi wants to enslave all of America. It should be noted that these were private citizens that made these claims, not Marshall although he also didn’t refute any wacky thing stated. It took all the willpower I had not to speak up to the blatant transphobia being spewed by the woman who opened with the first question. She repeatedly referred to a transgender woman as “he” or “it” and also disrespected Dr. Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary of health designate. Marshall even referred to her as a woman, but this person could not apparently. One person asked, “What can we do about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer?” and another replied, “Vote them out” not realizing that the citizens of Kansas have no power to vote California or New York’s representatives respectively.
Marshall has no business being in government if he thinks that he doesn’t work for us, the people. His entire job is to work for the betterment of us, not the downfall.