Candidate for Nebraska Representative in Congress, District 1
Tell us about yourself.
I am a lifelong Nebraskan and a conservative Republican from Norfolk, Nebraska. I am a husband, father, broadcaster, business owner, lawyer, and Nebraska State Senator representing District 19. When I was 24 years old, I started my first business, a rural radio station in my hometown of Norfolk. I’ve made a payroll every two weeks since then and know the challenges and joys that come with running a business. I have always felt the call to public service, and in 2005 I entered the Nebraska Legislature. Two years later my colleagues voted for me to become the youngest and longest-serving Speaker in Nebraska history. During my time in the Unicameral I championed a 20 week ban on abortion, the first of its kind in the nation. I led the effort to preserve the death penalty, codified concealed carry into our state law, and paved the way for state approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. After serving in the Legislature, I briefly announced a run for governor but withdrew from the race after my wife, Mandi, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m glad to say that Mandi is now cancer free. I’m blessed that both her and our two boys are healthy, still calling Norfolk home. After completing my term as Speaker, I went back home to invest in my broadcasting business which has now grown into 15 radio stations and 7 TV stations across rural Nebraska. Today, I’m proud to be back in the Legislature continuing my public service representing northeast Nebraska and look forward to representing the First District in Congress.
Why are you running for this office?
I’m running for this office because the path for Republicans to retake the House runs right through the First Congressional District. I’m the Republican who can win in November. I want to fire Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and put a check on Joe Biden’s reckless government overreach. I have a proven record of being able to get things done in a legislative environment. I enjoy working on tough, complicated issues that make an impact for the State of Nebraska. When elected, I will be a voice in Congress and will show up for you when it matters, not just when it’s convenient.
What would be your top three priorities if elected?
My top three priorities are fighting inflation, growing Nebraska’s rural communities, and securing our southern border.
What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
I have been successful in a legislative body and have a record of being able to get things done. During my time in the legislature, I’ve provided good constituent services. I will take that same attitude with me to Washington and insure that the people of the first district have an accessible, accountable representative who will always fight for them. I am also a business owner and know the impact that government has on a business.
Reaction to Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade:
I’m strongly pro-life. I helped pass and authored the nation’s first late-term abortion ban, and that bill we passed here in Nebraska started the conversation. People that are elected locally should decide the state’s policy regarding abortion and abortion restrictions - not unelected judges in Washington. I think Nebraska can start a conversation about what it means to build a state around celebrating life.
Nebraskans are paying more for food, gas and rent. How do you plan on addressing concerns over the rise in inflation?
Inflation is a major issue and getting it under control is a top priority of mine. Every Nebraskan feels the effects at the grocery store, at the gas pump, and when simply going through everyday life. The first thing we need to do to fight inflation is stop the out-of-control spending that has been happening under the democrats rule in Congress, cut taxes, and cut regulation. As a member of the Nebraska Legislature, we are statutorily required to pass a balanced budget. I want to take that same common sense to Washington to get inflation under control and bring prosperity back to families and businesses.
What is your message to Nebraska business owners who are dealing with supply chain issues and labor shortages?
My message to businesses dealing with supply chain issues and labor shortage is I understand and feel these challenges in my own business. One of the largest issues facing Nebraska right now is the need for more workforce. Nebraska has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and in our nation’s history. Finding a skilled high-quality workforce is a major challenge, especially after the disruptions brought because of the pandemic. I’ve worked on workforce development in the legislature and have made a meaningful impact helping to solve this issue, but more must be done. One of my legislative priorities this year is LB 1167, it appropriates federal funds to the Nebraska Departments of Economic Development and Labor for enhancing and retaining Nebraska’s workforce. In Congress, I will continue to work to make sure Nebraska is a great place to run a business ensuring we have a skilled, high-quality workforce to keep Nebraska the best place in the world.
A recent Pew Research Poll found “strengthening the economy” should be the number one priority for the president and congress. How would you help make that happen?
I believe our economy is strong because of our people, business leaders, and innovators. The federal government’s job is to allow for the best business climate possible while ensuring business operates in a safe and legal way. As a member of Congress, I will work to cut the red-tape, take back regulatory authority from the Executive Branch, and facilitate a business climate that works for Nebraska’s families and businesses. I will also strengthen our economy by working to cut taxes and expand global markets for our agricultural producers. Nebraska produces some of the highest quality products and we must continue to expand access to markets for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.
Do you believe Nebraska’s elections are free, fair and secure?
I understand the concern that many Nebraskans hold that the 2020 election was stolen. I trust Nebraska’s election system but think we should always act to increase security and be vigilant. That’s why I support Voter ID.
Is illegal immigration a problem? What changes to current policy would you propose?
I believe that illegal immigration is a major problem facing our country and it is one of my top priorities when in Congress. We need to build the wall, strongly enforce our immigration laws, and empower our border patrol agents to get control of the border. The Biden administration’s handling of this issue has been a complete failure. An unsecure border is a threat to our national security, public safety, and undermines the rule of law.
Should any additional steps be taken by the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Do you support President Biden’s response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine? What other measures, if any, would you propose?
Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine is despicable. Putin is a thug. He’s costing thousands of lives, thwarting the world economy, and has an utter disregard for the idea of Ukrainian sovereignty. America must stand against Tyranny. I support the sanctions that have been placed on Russian oligarchs who fund and finance Putin’s misdeeds and hold on power. We must have the strongest support for Ukraine possible aiding them with weapons, intelligence, and humanitarian support. The impact this crisis has here in the United States is also evident. Gas prices are astronomical, and President Biden’s solutions simply do not cut it. President Biden should immediately unleash the full ability of domestic oil and gas producers making the United States a net exporter of not importer. Doing this would help the rising cost of energy here at home, our allies overseas, and allow the United States to be self-sufficient rather than dependent on our enemies.