Now is a time of great opportunity for Nebraska's 3rd District. We can capitalize on this opportunity by building on the strengths of the 3rd District's resources - good land, abundant water, and outstanding people. By creating new possibilities for our children. By working together to revitalize agriculture. By using our hometown values as the basis for decisions that affect us all.

You and Tom see the potential in the 3rd District and recognize that this is not a time to look back- this is a time to move forward.

Our future depends on revitalizing our ag-based economy. By pulling together, you and Tom can build unity, focus and a common resolve that will enable the 3rd District to reach its full agriculture potential.

Technology and the jobs it creates can spark rural entrepreneurship, create opportunity for our young people, and attract more people to the 3rd District. You and Tom can build on the resources we have to reverse depopulation, stimulate economic development and improve the prospects for all of us who live and work here.

The 3rd District is not immune to the problems of broken families, violence, alcohol and drugs. We must respond to the challenges that face our young people with solutions that work. Tom is leading by example through mentoring efforts - and by promoting programs that point young people toward the spiritual and moral values that will guide them throughout their lives.

Now is the time to stop talking about problems - and begin working together to solve them. So please make sure you're registered to vote - and then exercise your right by casting your ballot for Tom on election day. Together, you and Tom can help the 3rd District prosper.

 

"ISSUES"

Tom on getting AGRICULTURE issues heard in Congress:
One of the biggest problems facing agriculture in the 3rd District, and in the country, is the fact that only about 50 of the 435 representatives in Congress are affiliated or interested in agriculture. So when you're talking ag in Congress, you have only about 12% of the people in the room who even care about the issue. In order to be effective, we need to build a unified voice for agriculture in Nebraska, and then carry that message to Congress to build consensus among the representatives in Congress. I've spent much of my life getting people on the same page, and I'm certain I can help build the support we need to address the agricultural challenges that face our district and our nation.

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Tom on CAMPAIGN FINANCING:
I'm very concerned about the amount of money that surrounds political campaigns in this country. In an effort to fund their campaigns, many candidates seek large contributions from individuals and political action committees (PACs). As a result, they end up being obligated in some way to these groups, and that undoubtedly has an influence on their decision-making in Congress.

I'm taking a different route. My campaign is not accepting contributions greater than $300 per person, and we are accepting NO political action committee money. My work in Congress will be guided by the people of the 3rd District and the values we share.

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Tom on JOB OPPORTUNITIES in the 3rd District:
Nebraska's 3rd District is suffering from out migration of its young people. They're leaving in large part because of a lack of job opportunities here at home. The key, I think, lies in technology and telecommunications, making certain that we're connected and able to communicate with the rest of the world. By improving our technological infrastructure, we can offer companies a well-educated, dedicated work force, and we can attract new business ventures to the 3rd District. This will not only help us keep our young people here, but it will also help bring new people to the area.

The people of the 3rd District are rightly concerned about property taxes. Perhaps the best way to solve the problem is to attract more people to the area. We can do that only if we're prepared to do business the way business is done today, through telecommunications and technology.

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Tom on ETHANOL:
One only needs to look at the recent effect of OPEC decisions on gas prices in America to understand just how dependent we are on foreign oil. Having a domestically-produced, renewable source of energy such as ethanol and soy diesel can give America greater control over its energy future, and keep more of the money we're spending on oil here at home creating greater markets for our agricultural products. In the process, we could also reduce the cost of farm programs and help the environment through the use of cleaner-burning fuels. I strongly support the growth of the ethanol industry in Nebraska, and would work to promote it in Congress.

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Tom on WORLD TRADE for ag products:
There are a number of world trade issues that have hurt Nebraska agriculture. First, the use of food and medicine in trade embargoes is not only harmful to U.S. agriculture, but it also misdirected. It's the less fortunate who suffer when we withhold essentials, not the heads of government or the military. I would work to lift such embargoes.

Secondly, I support fast-track authority for the President in negotiating trade agreements. We simply cannot create a situation in which a good faith commitment from the President to another head of state stands to be rescinded by Congress for purely political reasons.

At the same time, I believe that there should be Congressional approval of any trade embargo before the President can put them into effect.

I also support the membership of China in the World Trade Organization. China offers a huge market for U.S. agriculture. To deny Nebraska producers the opportunity to sell into this market punishes us, not them, because they will certainly find another source for their food. We simply must have an opportunity to do business with them, and in doing so, we can open the door to discuss other issues such as human rights.

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Tom on NAFTA:
The fact is that we┬╣re doing business on a global scale, so it makes sense to have trade agreements with our North American neighbors. While there have been some inequities in NAFTA, I do not think it should be repealed. Instead, the terms of the agreement should be enforced equally, and the agreement should be clarified to eliminate loopholes and areas that are subject to different interpretations.

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Tom on DECISION-MAKING in Congress:
My decisions in Congress will be guided first and foremost by my sense of what's right. Since the people of the 3rd District and I share the same value system, I expect that we'll be together on most issues. However, if there were a pork-barrel project that might benefit the 3rd District, but would not be honorable or not be in the best interests of the country, I would not vote for it. I believe that self-serving politics has created a number of problems for this country, and has led to much of the cynicism about government. I will not be a part of it.

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Tom on the ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT:
I love the outdoors and wildlife very much. But I fear that, in some instances, the application of the Endangered Species Act has gone beyond common sense. I advocate the use of cost-benefit analysis and sound science to determine the proper balance between protecting species and protecting the rights of human beings to make a living.

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Tom on the SANCTITY OF LIFE:
I believe that taking a human life is God's business, not man's. It's a sanctity of life issue for me, which is why I'm pro-life as well. I'm not saying that the death penalty should be eliminated at this time, but I would like to see a moratorium on executions until we can assess their effect on deterring violent crime.

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Tom on HEALTHCARE in the 3rd District:
To help the 3rd District prosper, we need to offer accessible, high quality health care. With the aging population in the 3rd District, healthcare is an issue that will continue to grow in importance. Quality care will depend a great deal on creating a technological capability to deliver that care in new and innovative ways, telemedicine, cooperative purchasing/leasing of new equipment, etc. Additionally, the use of distance learning technology can help rural health professionals stay current.

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Tom on WATER ISSUES:
Water was critical to the development of the 3rd District and will be critical to its future, not only for agriculture, but for economic development and rural revitalization. Water issues should be handled by the state, not by the federal government.

The Cooperative Agreement between Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming is a primary concern. It is imperative that this agreement be based on sound science and common sense, not on emotion or unfounded conclusions. We must strike a balance between the historical uses of land and water and the long-term effects of the agreement on irrigated agriculture, economic development and wildlife.

As we talk about water, it's important that we not focus simply on the Ogallala Aquifer and the Platte River valley. The Republican River Basin, the Niobrara, the Middle Loup, indeed, all our surface and ground water must be protected and used wisely to serve those who depend on it for their livelihoods and their lives.

On the issue of cold water streams, I believe that the construction of well-managed, well-designed livestock facilities should be allowed with limits, but that those limits should not include the entire watershed of the stream.

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Tom on SENIORS:
The Social Security system needs to be placed on a secure financial footing, ensuring retirement income for older Americans. I'm pleased that Congress recently removed the earning limitation for Social Security recipients. In a time of low unemployment, when 3rd District businesses are looking for workers, it makes sense to allow older Americans to fill jobs without penalizing them for doing so.  People are living longer, healthier lives. I strongly believe that we should create opportunities for older Nebraskans to continue making contributions of their experience, time and talent.

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Tom on GUN CONTROL:
I enjoy hunting and fishing, so I'm comfortable with firearms from a recreational and personal protection perspective.  I support the Constitutional right to bear arms, and I would add "the right to bear arms responsibly."  What I'm not comfortable with is the fact that criminals have more firepower than our law enforcement personnel.  I don't think we need more laws on gun control, we need better, more effective enforcement of the laws that exist.  It doesn't make a lot of sense to me that semi-automatic and automatic assault rifles are in the hands of lawbreakers.

When we talk about our children having guns readily available, I believe the issues is actually much larger than just guns. It goes deeply into the family and moral structure of our society, and the prevalence and acceptance of violence in entertainment.

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Tom on TAXES:
As a Republican, I favor smaller government, more local control and lower taxes. I support a reduction in the capital gains tax, since this would encourage more people to invest more money, thereby strengthening American business and our economy.  I also support the removal of the inheritance tax. It's punitive, unfair and discourages the continuance of family businesses such as agriculture and small business

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Tom on EDUCATION:
We've always had strong schools in the 3rd District, and our local schools are to be commended for the job they're doing in increasingly difficult times.  There is great value in a rural school education, and we can add to that value by ensuring that our schools are connected with technology and information that keeps our children current with the rest of the nation.  A well-educated workforce is a key component to rural revitalization in the 3rd District, and supporting our educators through methods such as distance learning can position us for future growth and success.

All of us have a responsibility to help create an environment for our young people that encourages learning and success.  To that end, Nancy and I have spent considerable time promoting Teammates, a school-based mentoring program reaching more than 1500 young people in 24 school districts.  This program will be expanded to most school districts in Nebraska.

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Tom on TECHNOLOGY:
In the 3rd District, we have many telecommunications providers who have done an excellent job of connecting us to the rest of the world.  Still, there is much more to do if we are to create the infrastructure necessary to develop job opportunities for our young people.  Making certain that we complete "the final mile" of connectivity is crucial to the development of home-based businesses, telework, and satellite locations of major corporations.  We have a well-educated, dedicated workforce in the 3rd District. Technology can help us offer what we have to employers and customers around the world.  Technology will be the key to providing the kinds of jobs needed to keep our young people in the 3rd District.

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