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Libertarian Dennis Grace running unopposed in primary for congress

(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 12:37 PM CDT
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The following responses have not been edited.
Name (also include name you’d prefer to be called):

Dennis B. Grace

Preferred political Party:

Libertarian Party

Current or most recent profession:

Insurance claims investigator.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. I attended Omaha South High and graduated in 1988. After graduation, I attended naval bootcamp at Great Lakes Recruit Training Center in Illinois. I have had the pleasure of traveling to such countries as France, Spain, Italy, Israel, and Egypt. I am happily married, am a proud father. I am extremely proud of the perfection of my little family, based upon imperfections. We are each unique, have had our own struggles, and are closer because of it. We open our doors to all. We work for our communities and dedicate what extra time we have to enjoying one another and making sure our neighbors and other community members are as happy as they can be.

Why are you running for this office?

On April 10, 2019, I had a heart attack while working. I was alone and my family was an hour away. On the lonely and frightening ambulance and helicopter ride into Omaha, I had a chance to reflect on what I would leave behind for my children. Not money and property, they could always obtain that. But what lesson? And then it happened. They had heard me complain for years about the state of our country and politics. Week by week and year after year they listened as I showed them how nothing had changed. Campaign promises tossed aside after the elections. I knew what the lesson would be and how I would teach them. I made a plan to run for office and to teach the children that we do not complain about that which we wouldn’t sacrifice to change. If we will not stand up, individually, and exercise our right and responsibility as citizens, then how can we criticize? No more Monday morning quarterbacking. No more words. It became time to do a citizen’s duty. And now here I am.

That is the “how”. The “why” is simple: It is our duty. The saying that the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots is not so much a call to arms, but a call to stand and remember our duty as citizens to take part. We must exercise our right to vote and we must “ask not what our country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. That is a clear command to serve our brothers and sisters however we can. This, to me, is that way.

Do you support the actions taken by federal, state and local government officials to combat the spread of COVID-19? What, if any, changes would you propose?

I believe we were all caught off guard with the COVID-19 emergency. We were told by so many it was like any other cold or flu. We were under the mistaken belief that we were going to be immune from the crisis. As the danger became more and more apparent, government officials moved, sometimes in a scramble, sometimes at a slow jog, to answer questions and respond to changing information. Our president attempted to maintain the public peace and asked us to continue on with our daily lives. We eventually found that was probably not going to happen. We can say that our leaders should have performed this action or could have exercised this power and authority. But the information was changing daily. I believe at the time, we couldn’t have asked for anything different. But now, we appear to be getting the most important and accurate information. How long does this virus remain on surfaces? How does it respond to treatment? How quickly can it spread through a community? We are answering those now. And what would I propose? How would I offer anything different that what we have now? We must be decisive. We must cut the path of the virus spread off and contain it. I would call for a 21 day “shelter in place” order. I would recommend that governors and federal leaders take action and order shut downs of ALL non essential services. No bill addressing the medical crisis would involve funds being appropriated for arts endowments or scholarships or other non-related organizations and causes. Any funds appropriated for such a disaster would be specifically for the crisis. Americans are looking for answers and for the quickest and easiest way forward. They want direct action and not political gamesmanship. Now that we understand the gravity of the situation, it is no longer time to observe. We must act.

What is your message to the people of this district and all Nebraskans during this time of crisis?

This current crisis is one of thousands of ways that the beauty of nature can turn on us. We have faced many similar events, in the course of our history. Our grand parents had their crises and their grandparents theirs. We are facing a foe we know very little about and invades our lives without making a noise. We only know of its presence when it is too late. Fear is real and expected. There is no word that a politician can utter that can be trusted enough to make you feel safe. There is not a phrase or a photo or a memory that can quiet your anxiety and worry. But we live in a time of endless opportunity. We can learn of an emergency thousands of miles away, and in mere hours, be coordinating assistance and aid efforts. We can handle this new threat. It will not be easy and it will not be without pain and tears. But we will prevail. A year from now we will mourn. We will remember. And we will have learned powerful lessons. We will also have grown. We will have adapted. And we will have overcome. We will have taken part, and we will have stood up. We will have found commonality between ourselves and others. We will have been made better. Steady yourselves for hard times. And thank you for your sacrifices.

How will you support the economy now and after social distancing requirements end?

It is more evident now than ever that the freedom to earn is a human right. The ability to set out and create and manufacture and to produce is a fundamental part of American life. All Americans, especially our farmers and small businesspeople, should be free to negotiate trade how and with whom they choose. Regulations often, but not always, slow economic growth and provide barriers to entry that many people can not overcome. Repealing occupational licensing laws, at the state level, and easing trade regulations will allow Americans, generally, and Nebraskans specifically, to recover quickly and provide a stable foundation from which to prosper. But asking Nebraskans to tighten their belts time after time, and to make sacrifices to cover for the mistakes of their elected representatives must end. As people across the state, myself included, have had to cut services and make changes to their habits, so too must the system we entrust with our economic security. Our tax dollars are not an endless well from which to water every favorite project of every congressman or senator. Our taxes are to prepare for the very dangers we are facing. It is time now for the government to reign in its spending and to reevaluate our processes. We do not have to give up the values and principles that make America and Nebraska wonderful. We have to remember them. We need to put them back into practice. We have lost our way and are now required to find it again.

What other issues facing voters are most important to you as a candidate?

The issues which are at the center of my campaign are: repealing the Authorization to Use Military Force. Congress MUST reclaim its powers to declare war and not leave military action in the hands of any president, without congressional approval; addressing the budget and the deficit; establishing a fair, just, and workable solution to solve the illegal immigration problem; and working with the indigenous tribes of America to reestablish their unique cultures and ensure that their people survive for generations to come.

Why do you consider yourself the best person to address the needs of voters in Nebraska’s First Congressional District?

I am no perfect candidate. I have no political experience. I have shown a level of irresponsibility in my adult life that some may not find ideal for a political candidate. I know my limits and my faults. And yet, I do not run from them. In fact, because of them, I must work harder. I know the trials I have had to overcome. I know the challenges I have had to face to become the person that my family looks up to. I am principled and believe in justice and equity. I believe in duty and honor. From the moment I set out on this path, I have worked into the early morning hours to discover what I didn’t know, and to solidify what I did. I have not stopped thinking of ways that I can serve and teach and reach out. I have created relationships with people and organizations I never thought I could help. I have put in the hours we expect of our elected representatives. I have grown and improved. I have given freely of myself, in duty to those that seek answers. I am already performing the work.

What separates you from your primary challenger(s)? What about your potential general election challengers?

My general election challengers, whomever they may be, have already shown themselves to be good Americans. They have stepped up and offered to represent us in Washington. One of my opponents, is the incumbent. That individual has served for many years. For 7 previous election cycles, he has asked to be your representative, and for 7 other elections, you have given him the job. And few things have changed from that first day to this. We address the same issues he was asked to tackle then. The deficit has continued to grow. Wars continue to be endless. We are no better off now than we were then. Video after video, year after year, shows the incumbent asking us to “tighten our belts” and to “make personal sacrifices”. The same message has been communicated, and nothing has been done in Washington to improve our position. It appears as though the incumbent works each year only to keep his job, and not to improve our lot. Because of this, he focuses his efforts on major voting blocks and pet projects. I have heard from numerous people throughout the district that “If you don’t live in Lincoln or at Offutt, he doesn’t care about you”.

I was recently asked to make an incredibly difficult decision. Very little work was available from my employer. Although I felt as though I was working more hours than there were in the day, my paychecks got smaller. I was offered a choice: I could either obtain my own license and continue in the same career, working for myself, or I could hope things would rebound. After discussions with my wife and family, I chose to pursue my own business. I had to make an immediate, hard decision. It may not have worked out, and it may have been disastrous. But spending was adjusted and budgets were amended. I had to make a choice. When asked to make the sacrifices, my family responds. We make important decisions with as much information as we can.

I have had to lead and guide teammates living in my region, which was North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Wyoming and Montana. If I did not donate the same amount of time to each area or each individual, then I could not lead effectively. Their work would suffer, as would mine. If I couldn’t ensure the upper management heard the voices of ALL teammates when making policy decisions, then how could I call myself a leader? How could I call myself a representative? When asked to set the tone and to lead by example, none can say I do not excel. When tasked with leadership responsibilities and to speak out for those under my care, I have provided a calm and clear voice. I have not always succeeded, but I have never not tried.

Is there any other message, statement or concern you’d like to address?

If the past few years has shown us anything, it is that more eyes are on the political world than before. Politics as usual is not going to suffice. The people are now expecting more from their elected officials. The time is here that the answers we have asked for must be submitted. We deserve more for those we have employed. If we owned a business, and hired our representatives to solve our problems, we would expect results in a few quarters. For many, years have gone by with no benefit, no results or improvements. If we have not improved our positions, then what is the benefit of continuing the relationship? How long are we going to accept minimum before we realize it is probably time for a change?

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