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Legislative Summit

Senate candidate Jim Jenkins answers a question regarding his political priorities during the federal legislative summit on Thursday at the Strategic Air and Space Museum.

When it comes to choosing a candidate to send to the U.S. Senate this year, Nebraskans have an embarrassment of riches. The Cornhusker State may have the strongest slate of senate candidates in the nation.

On the right is Ben Sasse, brilliant, articulate and approachable. A self-described constitutional conservative with core values that have made him the darling of various conservative organizations, Sasse may be destined to make his mark on history.

On the left is Dave Domina, brilliant, thoughtful and fearless. As a trial attorney he has a remarkable track record of taking on long-shot causes for underdogs -- and winning. He would be a forceful champion for Nebraska’s interests.

But the candidate who lifts the Senate race in Nebraska out of the ordinary is Jim Jenkins, a Nebraska rancher and successful businessman running as an independent.

Independents tend to be outside the mainstream, more in the category of Todd Watson, another independent on the ballot whose campaign is based on his religious values.

Jenkins, a friendly sort with a crooked grin that belies a contemplative nature, is the answer to what ails Congress.

Everyone knows that Washington is broken. In editorial board meetings at least one member of Congress has described the nation’s capital using those very words. Its members seem more interested in using the nation’s problems to gain partisan advantage than in actually trying to solve them. Nothing gets done. Congress this year sank to its lowest approval rating.

The political divide seems to be hardening. Red states, for example, are becoming more conservative.

There’s an old saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

It seems to the Journal Star editorial board that the saying applies to sending traditional partisan politicians to Washington.

Imagine the U.S. Senate with a handful of sensible independents to tip the balance in favor of workable solutions. It’s not as unthinkable as it might seem. In Kansas, for example, independent Greg Orman is leading incumbent Republican Pat Roberts. The Democrat has dropped out of the race. The Senate already has two independents.

Jenkins' political values are middle-of-the-road. His top priority would be to reduce America’s $17 trillion debt. He thinks the Affordable Care Act is a flawed piece of legislation that needs to be fixed. He wants to close tax loopholes and lower tax rates.

If Nebraskans want more of the same from Washington, they can vote for a party favorite. If they want to fix Washington, they should mark their ballot for Jim Jenkins.

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