Candidate responses are posted exactly as we received them and have not been edited.
Incumbent Adrian Smith and Paul Theobald are running for the U.S House District 3 seat. District 3 is the largest District in Nebraska covering the Central and Western part of the state.
Political Party: Democrat
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Current City: Foster, NE
Adrian Smith (Incumbent)
Political Party: Republican
Hometown: Gering, NE
Current City: Gering, NE
Previous work experience:
I have had a 40-year career as an educator in rural schools and universities. Whenever possible over those years, I have also engaged in small-scale livestock production. Today my wife and I pasture-raise a niche breed of purebred hogs to supplement our income. I am thus a citizen politician with experience in both education and agriculture, two pivotal sectors for Nebraska's Third District.
Smith: After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I returned home to Gering where I was elected to the city council, State Legislature and now Congress.
Theobald: I am the grandson of farmers and son of a rural mail carrier. My wife is the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of a union steward with Iowa Power and Light. We raised our five children in Nebraska and they are graduates of Wayne High School and some of Wayne State College.
Smith: I am a sixth generation Nebraskan. My wife, Andrea, and our almost one-year old son, Zeke, reside in Gering.
What was your very first job?
Theobald: My first job was baling hay and straw on small dairy farms and stacking them high in lofts.
Smith: I worked at our family’s retail store and sold snow cones with my brother.
What life achievements are you most proud of?
Theobald: I am most proud of having been an advocate for rural communities and schools for the past 40 years, an avocation that has taken me to all corners of the country helping rural people save their schools from ill-advised consolidation efforts, including several right here in Nebraska. There is no empirical research suggesting that consolidation 1) can save taxpayer dollars at this point in time, or 2) can improve academic outcomes for students. It's time to embrace pro-community education policy.
Smith: Personally, I'm most proud of my wife and son. Professionally, my service in Congress especially the accomplishments of this last year including passage of historic tax reform, repeal of the burdensome Waters of the U.S. regulation, and even most recently when my House resolution on year-round E15 sales was acted on by President Trump.
What would be the first thing you do once elected?
Theobald: I will convene all rural representatives who are willing to leave party and corporate allegiances outside the door so that we can embark on a rural legislative agenda that will bring security back to family farming and prosperity back to small cities and towns. History provides no example of a successful democracy that wasn't anchored by independent producers of food. Revitalizing rural America will simultaneously revitalize American democracy.
Smith: First, we need to stop spending more money than we have which is why I support a Balanced Budget Amendment to force fiscal responsibility. Next, to take full advantage of the economic benefits of tax reform, we need comprehensive regulatory reform along with solutions to expand Nebraska’s exports. The size and scope of the federal government, including the unworkable health care law, are increasingly burdensome on our farmers, ranchers and small business owners. I'll fight federal overreach.
Why should voters choose you in this election?
Theobald: Among the many challenges we face, none looms larger than the extent to which billion-dollar corporations control our government. If agribusiness monopolists continue to control agriculture policy, for example, we will soon see the ascendancy of corporate super-farms, and with it, the creation of ghost towns throughout the Third District. I am running to preserve an honorable way of life, one that also happens to be the key to the survival of democracy in America.
Smith: We are at a pivotal moment in our history and we need strong conservative leadership to represent Nebraskans in Washington and to make the difficult decisions necessary to get America back on track. I am grateful for the trust you have placed in me, and I hope to continue to serve you and represent you in Congress. I would appreciate your vote on November 6th.