Jack Heidel doesn't want to talk about abortion or gay marriage. The newest congressional candidate in Omaha would rather discuss the national debt and his plans to eliminate the deficit.
"I am a non-ideological deficit hawk, and I am totally focused on eliminating the budget deficit," said Heidel, a 72-year-old math professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Heidel is one of two Republicans running against U.S. Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., in the May primary. Brett Lindstrom, 30, announced his candidacy earlier this summer. A financial adviser, Lindstrom also has made the nation's budget woes a focus.
In addition to the two Republican challengers, Democrat John Ewing Jr. has mounted a campaign to unseat Terry in the Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District. Ewing is a former police officer serving his second term as Douglas County treasurer.
Heidel made it clear during his campaign announcement Wednesday that he would not align himself with those in the Republican Party who believe the budget can be balanced without tax increases. Heidel said he would push for a mix of budget cuts and increased revenues.
For example, he says senior citizens should be charged for their health care based on their ability to pay. Medicare should be "means adjusted," and the age when a person qualifies for the health insurance program should be raised, said Heidel.
"The more affluent will pay higher monthly premiums," said Heidel.
He also called for some tax cuts. Heidel said the nation's top corporate tax rate should be lowered from 35 percent to 25 percent. To offset the loss in tax revenue, Heidel proposed raising the tax on capital gains and dividends.
As for the hot-button social issues, Heidel realizes he will have to discuss those, but said he prefers to keep the focus on the budget. For the record, Heidel said he supports abortion rights and opposes gay marriage.
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