State Treasurer Don Stenberg pins his hopes for United States Senate on a long career as a conservative.
Stenberg says his life-long devotion to conservative principles should appeal to Republican voters during Tuesday’s primary.
“We’ve seen too many people go to Washington that talk conservative in their home states and, then, we they got to Washington they forgot why they were there,” Stenberg tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Based on my record, Nebraskans can be sure that I’ll vote as conservatively in Washington as I talk in Nebraska.”
Stenberg questions the conservative credentials of Republican front-runner Jon Bruning, saying that Bruning, the state Attorney General, has been inconsistent in his views. Stenberg has criticized Bruning both in debates and his advertising campaign.
Stenberg has been harshly critical of the health care overhaul approved by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010. He says he hopes that the Supreme Court will strike the law down, but if it doesn’t he will vote to repeal it if elected to the Senate. Stenberg insists it isn’t a health care issue.
“The issue is health insurance and how to pay for it. So, what we need to do is focus on making health insurance affordable,” according to Stenberg.
Stenberg says there are a variety of things Congress can do to make health insurance more affordable. He advocates allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines to increase competition and providing more flexibility to write policies. Stenberg, who is the former state Attorney General, also advocates tort reform to lessen the need for doctors to order additional tests as a protection against lawsuits. He adds that consumers should be allowed to create health savings accounts and purchase health insurance with high deductibles to keep costs down.
Stenberg complains that Congress vastly exceeded its constitutional authority when it enacted health care, essentially forcing all Americans to purchase health insurance.
Limited government is a theme consistently struck by Stenberg. He says the federal government does have a role to play in the economy, but it’s a limited role. Stenberg points to the $787 billion economic stimulus plan pushed by the president and approved by Congress.
“It totally failed. In fact, by taking money out of the private sector along with the new increased regulations of the Obama Administration have led to a very slow recovery,” Stenberg says. “I think what we need to do is cut back on federal spending so that that frees up dollars for the private sector.”
The private sector is the key, according to Stenberg.
“What the federal government can do is create a climate that encourages and supports individual initiative and free enterprise,” according to Stenberg. “That includes lower corporate tax rates, rolling back the heavy burden of federal regulation on businesses all across the country.”
Stenberg suggests the federal government should radically reduce its spending, not just to balance the federal budget, but to free up money for use by the private sector. He supports Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky’s blueprint to reduce the federal budget over the next five years. Stenberg says that while he doesn’t agree with all aspects of it, he calls it a “bold plan”.
The leading candidates in the Republican primary are Stenberg, Bruning and state Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine. Also on the ballot are Pat Flynn, Spencer Zimmerman and Sharyn Elander.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]