Nebraska pork producer and rural educator Paul Theobald is announcing he’s running as a Democrat to challenge incumbent Republican Congressman Adrian Smith in 2018.
Theobald says one of the reasons he’s running is to help improve the economy of rural Nebraska. Smith, he says, “hasn’t done anything.”
“He’s been in there for ten years,” Theobald says. “It’s time to get somebody in there who will actually do something. In all of that time, we’ve seen rural communities continue to erode, rural hospitals close, rurals schools consolidate, just lots of bad stuff for rural communities.”
Theobald, who runs a small farm in Pierce County, says one of his priorities is to help small and medium-sized farmers compete against mega-farm operations. He says to help, GIPSA rules should have been implemented, as well as Country of Origin Labeling.
“Ag policy is clearly a huge issue,” Theobald says. “What we’re seeing in terms of the mega-mergers and growing monopolies in farm inputs is just reducing the choices for farmers. Of course, that’s always going to benefit ag corporations and not farmers and ranchers, so we’ve got to reverse that.”
Theobald says rising health insurance costs are a major problem, especially in rural areas, and health care reform is among his top priorities.
“The number-one cause of bankruptcy for farmers and ranchers, it’s the number-one cause of bankruptcy basically all over the country,” Theobald says. “Our health care system is oppressively hard on Nebraska families and small businesses. It’s time we give it up. It’s time we go with Medicare for all. Everybody loves Medicare. Everybody would love Medicare for all even better.”
Theobald doesn’t think the Affordable Care Act can be fixed.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton