Address: 5010 Nicholas St., Omaha
Occupation: Retired University of Nebraska at Omaha mathematics professor
Political party: Republican
Heidel, a retired University of Nebraska at Omaha mathematics professor, expresses concern about recent Senate decisions that increase the national debt and pledges to support a ban on the purchase of assault weapons.
What would be your priorities for the next six years?
I have entered this primary because of our enormous and out-of-control national debt. The incumbent, Deb Fischer, is ignoring it. She has just voted for a new tax law which will increase our debt by $1 trillion over the next decade. The two-year budget plan she just voted for will increase our debt by several hundred billion dollars.
Are you willing to depart from your party or the president on legislation or issues when you disagree? Could you identify some differences?
The new tax law has several good individual features. But I would have insisted that it be revenue neutral by offsets in other areas of the tax code. With 52 Republican senators last fall, just three of them working together could have achieved revenue neutrality which would have avoided increasing the debt.
What legislation would you introduce or support that might specifically benefit Nebraska?
The Nebraska economy is highly dependent on agricultural exports. It would be a disaster for Nebraska if President Trump withdrew from NAFTA, which was ratified by the Senate in 1993. I support legislation to prevent a president from unilaterally withdrawing from any treaty ratified by Congress.
What immigration reform, if any, would you support and would it include a path to citizenship or legal status for immigrants who have settled in the United States illegally?
Nebraska has a severe labor shortage and needs immigrant labor especially in agriculture, meatpacking and construction. We should establish a guest worker visa program so that Nebraska businesses can legally hire immigrants when they can’t find enough workers locally. Such visas would be temporary. Once this system is in place, then border security and E-Verify should be strengthened.
What gun control measures, if any, would you support?
I support stricter background checks for buying guns in order to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, domestic abusers and felons. However, the most effective way to curtail mass shootings is to ban the purchase of assault weapons and I support doing this.