WICHITA, KS -- Running strong for re-election to the United States Senate, Pat Roberts today addressed Wichita’s Pachyderm Club and discussed his ongoing work for the people of Kansas, his efforts to protect the Constitution and his work to restore conservative values to Washington.

The following remarks are as prepared for delivery:

“It’s great to see so many friends, many of whom have stood with me over the years and who have worked with me on the issues that matter most to our state.

“As my first boss Senator Frank Carlson taught me, ‘there are no self-made men or women in politics; it’s your friends who make you who you are.’ And today I thank you for the continued friendship and partnership that has helped me represent this state.

“As you can imagine, I have a little to say about my current campaign, but let’s do first things first – let me tell you what’s going on in Washington and what I am fighting for – or in many cases, fighting against – on your behalf.

“Reflecting on the recent commemoration of Memorial Day, I frequently have the privilege to meet Honor Flights at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“I always appreciate the chance to welcome veterans to their nation’s capital, and to their memorial.

“Honoring veterans in this way is an important reminder of the sacrifice so many Kansas men and women continue to make so that we remain free.

“Unfortunately, issues about backlogged claims; coupled with the breaking news about the Arizona VA hospital -- and now we are hearing other instances around the country – is tragic and outrageous. You’ve probably heard that Secretary Shinseki resigned this morning. I think that was the correct step, which is why I asked President Obama to demand his resignation earlier this week.

“We must do better for our veterans. While Congress holds hearings and investigates these specific cases, I have joined my colleagues, proposing legislation that I believe would improve the Department of Veterans Affairs by giving complete authority to the VA Secretary to fire or demote these VA leaders based on performance. We need the best employees managing the Veterans Affairs departments.

“Likewise, I support an independent investigation of the VA to find out what went wrong and why; we have to find out who was responsible for the decisions that led to unresponsive care or unscrupulous practices – and we must hold them accountable. And yes, I believe that should include the possibility of criminal charges.

“Accountability is sadly lacking in the VA system.

“Earlier this week in Topeka and just this morning here in Wichita, I have visited our VA hospitals and met with both Directors. We are actively discussing the backlog in our state and what we can do to end it.

“Rest assured, this is top on my list of priorities…I believe the directors are sincere in their efforts, and I will do whatever I can do to support them and the vets who need the care right here at home…but we’re also going to hold the VA accountable for their work.

“Accountability. I could go on and on about the lack of accountability in the Obama Administration. Obamacare, the VA, the IRS, Benghazi…it’s really just shameful. And I for one, along with a lot of my colleagues, are not going to go away. We’re going to be the thorn in their sides until we get to the truth.

“We’ve had some success. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and I introduced a bill earlier this year to halt the IRS from targeting people and organizations for their political beliefs.

“You all remember those stories…liberal groups had no problems getting their tax exempt status. Conservatives, not so. It was true intimidation by the IRS.

“A few weeks ago, the IRS Commissioner – who I publicly called out on this practice at several Finance Committee hearings – announced the agency is pulling back on implementing regulations that have targeted conservative groups.

“We are still investigating exactly who put out the orders to target conservatives, denying them their tax-exempt status simply because their views were counter to the Obama Administration.

“Overall, the scandals afflicting the IRS and the VA system clearly reflect the larger, endemic problems we have in how the federal government is currently run under President Obama and the Senate Majority.

“Speaking of the Senate Majority, I hope you had a chance to hear the floor statement I gave a week ago to expose the absurd, daily attacks that Leader Harry Reid makes against two great Kansans – Charles and David Koch.

“The Koch Family is doing nothing wrong – they are simply exercising their Constitutional right to free speech. A right we all have.

 “But because Harry Reid disagrees with the Koch values of private enterprise and less government intrusion and believes the Kochs threaten his hold on power, he has lashed out against them in what I can only describe as character assassination.

“Free speech in Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi’s minds is only the speech they agree with; if they don’t agree with it, they use every tool at their disposal to demonize the speaker and stop them….even trying to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit free speech.

“It’s a disgrace.

“And I intend to call out Harry Reid’s attempt to stifle free speech at every turn.

“Amendments to the Constitution; limits on American freedoms – that’s what we are seeing on a daily basis in a Democratic-controlled White House and Senate.

“Now a few years ago, during one of my regular townhall meetings I always conduct in the 105 counties, an old farmer came up to me and said, “Pat, I don’t care what you do to me, just let me know ahead of time.”

“And of course what he meant was that Washington, under this Administration, has failed to provide our citizens and businesses with the regulatory certainty and necessary tools to make the investments and decisions our country needs  to help pull our economy out of the current mess.

“Regulations – thousands and thousands of pages of regulations – appear overnight without warning it seems. The EPA is perhaps one of the biggest offenders.

“I am a strong believer in the power of the free market, the power of entrepreneurship, and that people, like you all sitting in here today, know better than some bureaucrat or politician how to spend your money and raise your family.

“Which is why it is so important to continue supporting Republican members who are tough and tested and can take back the Senate and put our country back on the right course.

 “And it’s why today, I again ask for your support – both in August and November -- to continue my work for this state.

 “I have spent almost my entire professional career working for Kansas. Whether at my office in Washington, voting on the Senate floor and speaking at hearings, or regularly traveling our 105 counties, I never stop working for Kansas.

 “I am proud to bleed purple -- although you sure heard me cheer loud for the Shockers this spring! Dodge City is my home; and Kansas is where my heart is.

 “I am running again because I believe I can continue to make a difference for you and other Kansans.

“My work on rural health care, on agriculture, on general aviation, on military affairs and energy issues represents the needs and concerns of Kansans.

“I listen to what affects your daily lives and pocketbooks and I go to work – to enact laws that will help families and businesses grow and prosper – or I work to block laws that slow prosperity and limit freedoms or attack our constitutional rights.

“Unfortunately, a few select liberal national media outlets don’t accurately reflect the strong support we have on Team Roberts.

“Kansans for Life, National Right to Life, the Kansas State Rifle Association, the Kansas Farm Bureau, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and the 60 Plus Association all have endorsed me. Talk about the grassroots!

“The Kansas Congressional Delegation, the majority of the state Senate and state House all support me;

“Every state official on the ballot – Sam, Jeff, Kris and Derek support me.

“My conservative credentials are strong, which is why I am honored to be endorsed for re-election by the American Conservative Union;

“Heritage Action rates me as one of the top five most conservative senators in the U.S. Senate.

“I have an ‘A’ rating with the NRA and Gun Owners of America.

“Our favorite son Senator Bob Dole, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Washington Times Opinion Editor David Keene – all are supporting my campaign.

“And so are literally thousands of Kansans who are part of Team Roberts…because they share and believe in my conservative philosophy and the work I am doing for you.

“No one needs to wonder how I will vote on the issues -- amnesty, Obamacare, pro-life, Second Amendment.  I have a proven record.

“In this campaign, I believe I am the tough, tested and yes, the trusted, conservative on the ballot.

“You’ve known me for years; you’ve worked with me for years. You know I shoot straight and am not afraid to tell it like it is. I have senior positions on the Finance Committee, Health/Education Committee and Agriculture – and I use that clout for you every day.

“So in this primary campaign and in the general, I ask for your vote and continued partnership.

“There is nothing more meaningful to me and my family than to be your champion in the Senate. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve you.

“As you know, I am a Marine. Marines always take the Hill. I intend to again in 2014 – and with your support, I know we will be a tremendous success.

“Thank you again for your time – I am happy to take your questions…I sure hope someone will ask me about Benghazi. I didn’t get to that…but as you can imagine, the senior Marine in the Congress has a lot to say about that….so please, it’s your turn.”

Senator Pat Roberts is a tough, tested, and trusted conservative who has never stopped working on behalf of his state. He has been endorsed by the American Conservative Union, National Right to Life, the US Chamber of Commerce, 60 Plus Association, Senator Bob Dole, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Washington Times Opinion Editor David Keene, the Kansas State Rifle Association, Kansans for Life, the Kansas Farm Bureau, 31 state senators, 79 state representatives, every statewide official on ballot in 2014, and many others.