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Dennis Parker

Dennis Parker, 1st District U.S. congressional candidate. (Courtesy photo)

Dennis Parker wants to cut government spending, crack down on illegal immigration, shore up states'  rights, support the institution of marriage and strengthen families.

"I do agree with tea party principles," he said.

More than that, the 1st District Republican congressional candidate said Tuesday, he's "ready to stand firm in my faith in Jesus and my determination that this country is a Christian country that abides by basic constitutional principles."

Parker, a former professional musician who now works at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbus, said he was concerned about the intrusion of "Islamic law that is trying to get into our court system."

In 2010, Parker challenged Rep. Adrian Smith in the 3rd District GOP primary election, and he was prepared for a rematch until the 2011 Legislature approved a congressional redistricting plan that moved Columbus into the 1st District.

Now, he'll be matched against Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.

"I could have stayed in the 3rd District by moving 20 miles down the road to Silver Creek, where I graduated from high school, but I chose to stay in Columbus," Parker said during an interview in Lincoln.

In 2010, Parker attracted 8,979 votes; incumbent Smith racked up more than 65,000.

Fortenberry, a four-term congressman, has been a dominant political figure in his district since his election in 2004.

"I'm not in this race to criticize," Parker said. "I'm looking at issues."

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He said he'd like to end funding for the Environmental Protection Agency -- "that's one we could get by without" -- and reduce funding for the Federal Drug Administration.

Acceptance of no fault-divorce laws has weakened the institution of marriage, as would recognition of same-sex marriages, he said.

The Navy veteran said he'd support reinstitution of some form of a military draft.

"We have so many single parents now and children who basically don't have parental supervision," Parker said. "I believe 18-year-olds would benefit from living with rules and regulations for at least two years."

Parker acknowledged he will have few financial resources to mount a campaign, but said he plans some radio advertising.

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Reach Don Walton at 402-473-7248 or at dwalton@journalstar.com.

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