Real estate agent challenges Kind
Paul Nelson says his local roots, Marine Corps experience, family support, faith in God, business success and community involvement make him the right candidate to serve Wisconsin's 3rd District in Congress.
Nelson, a real estate agent, said his job has given him a clear understanding of the values and needs of families in western Wisconsin.
"It's kind of a special job in that we get to work in people's homes," he said.
Sitting around kitchen or dining room tables visiting with clients has given him "a great feel for the things that are important to people in western Wisconsin" including faith, family and responsibility, he said.
There's "an incredible disconnect" between Washington, D.C., and western Wisconsin, said Nelson. He believes citizens here deserve a representative who understands their values, including an adherence to a definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
"The fact that children are best raised in a family with a mom and dad is inarguable, and we should aim for that," said Nelson, who supports a federal marriage amendment.
Religious beliefs aside, natural law shows that "the ideal is a mom and a dad," he said.
Another value, said Nelson, is financial responsibility.
He said the federal government has been allowed to spend and spend and spend without regard for taxpayers' ability.
"Not only is the national debt astronomically high, but the federal deficit will soon be unmanageable if we don't act quickly to control spending," said Nelson
The national debt has reached the point where it amounts to over $28,000 for every man, woman and child. And that, said Nelson, is often more than the net worth of those individuals.
"It just doesn't seem to matter," said Nelson of the way most lawmakers view the debt. "But somebody needs to talk about responsibility... about the shamefully wasteful way we spend money."
He suggests a freeze on the national budget until the deficit is eliminated.
Washington is the only place where a program or agency can get millions of dollars more than it did the previous year and still "people are running around talking about the terrible cuts," said Nelson.
"They haven't lost anything," said Nelson. They just haven't gotten all they asked for.
He suggests departments be told to "whack to a balance of zero" and justify the budget they had last year.
"Everybody else in the world has to do it," he said. "Somehow Washington is resisting."
Energy independence is critical, said Nelson. He suggests increasing domestic drilling and refining capacity, increasing the use of bio-fuels and a greater use of a "new generation of safe, clean, efficient nuclear power plants."
He is concerned about the potential danger of storing nuclear waste at hundreds of places without necessary security and about the country's failure to develop centralized storage sites.
"The option that we cannot do is to do nothing," said Nelson.
He said the country must build a nuclear storage facility large enough to hold wastes that will be produced in years to come. That's not as big as it sounds because the new plants produce far less waste than earlier generations of nuclear plants, said Nelson.
"It isn't that we have to turn an entire state into a nuclear waste dump."
"We cannot argue that the war on terrorism does not exist," said Nelson, insisting that "political correctness" only muddies the water. Islamic fascism is as dangerous as Nazi fascism, he said.
He suggests fighting terrorism by reducing the United States' dependence on foreign oil because, most assuredly, the money we spend on foreign fuel is used to arm terrorists.
He links illegal immigration to the war on terrorism.
"While our brave men and women in the armed forces fight to defend freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, our own nation is being overrun by illegal aliens," said Nelson. Apart from the economic toll, the country's open borders are "a friendly invitation to terrorists," said Nelson.
He suggests greater effort to prevent illegal crossing of the Mexican border.
"There are urban areas that need to be fenced and rural areas that need to be patrolled," said Nelson. "We are the United States of America. We can secure these borders."
He believes the U.S. must double the number of border patrol agents by 2009. He also suggests $100,000 fines and three-month jail sentences for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
War in Iraq
"Pulling out is a disastrous idea," said Nelson of the war in Iraq. He hopes that doesn't happen soon.
"I think the important thing is to listen to our commanders on the ground," he said.
"Clearly the American public is tiring of this a little bit," Nelson said of the war. But, he said, nearly 3,000 soldiers died on Omaha Beach and we don't look back on that as a failure.
"We needed to do what is needed to be done to remove the enemy," said Nelson.
"War is a nasty business," he said. "Certainly there are mistakes that will be made."
But, he said, it's wrong to second guess military leaders.
He said his military background "certainly gives me an empathy with the troops."
While he was never in combat, Nelson said he knows what's it's like to be hot, uncomfortable and lonely.
And, he said, "I feel like I lost a brother every time I hear about a casualty."
Republican challenger, 3rd Congressional District