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Independent Senate candidate trying to be heard

Independent Senate candidate trying to be heard

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In a political system dominated by two parties and money, Todd Watson is having a hard time getting noticed even though he believes his independent Senate candidacy is in tune with most Nebraskans.

"I favor tax reform," Watson says, "but I'm not in favor of preferential treatment."

"We need to reduce government regulation," he says, "but if you break the laws, you get extra oversight.  If you caused an economic meltdown, you deserve oversight."

"I'm pro-market and I'm for capitalism," Watson says, "but I'm against greed (and) I care about the poor.

"I don't believe in endless unemployment benefits," he says. "But if you're able-bodied and willing to work, let's find you a solution in which you are able to contribute to society by going back to something like the WPA."

The Works Progress Administration provided work opportunities on public projects for the unemployed during the Great Depression.

Watson, a Lincoln businessman, believes he already has collected the 4,000 valid signatures required to gain access to the November general election ballot as an independent candidate for the Senate seat that will be vacated by Sen. Mike Johanns in January.

But he plans to continue gathering signatures in advance of the Sept. 1 deadline.

Republican Ben Sasse and Democrat Dave Domina secured their slots on the ballot by winning their party nominations in the May 13 primary election.

Jim Jenkins of Callaway is also on course to gain access to the ballot as an independent Senate candidate, and others might be in the process of attempting to secure signatures now.

Watson describes himself as a faith-based conservative who believes the two-party system is broken and has become captive to money, special interests and power.

It's time to balance the federal budget and reduce the national debt, Watson said during a weekend interview in Lincoln. Time to reach agreement instead of dividing and quarreling along partisan lines, he said.

"But I think the record of both parties is very clear," he said. "With them, it won't happen."

The Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, "fundamentally failed to address health care costs," Watson said. That needs to happen and that means addressing prescription drug costs now, he said.

"I would propose, not just support," Watson said, noting how often other candidates tell voters they would support a proposal or position, rather than initiate their own. 

As a senator, he said, he'd practice "proactive conservatism."

"The Republican Party is very clear about what they're against, less clear about what they're for," he said. 

"Negative visions are never compelling enough to bring new people to your cause," Watson said.

And two-party stalemate and division is "a losing proposition."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or On Twitter @LJSDon.


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