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Theobald to challenge Smith for Congress

January 25, 2018 GMT

SCOTTSBLUFF — With devotion to protecting and promoting rural communities, longtime educator and part-time farmer Paul Theobald is running for U.S. Congress in Nebraska’s Third District.

Theobald, running as a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Rep. Adrian Smith.

“My life has been about helping rural schools and communities,” he said. “I started thinking this is what the Third District needs, someone to defend their schools and small businesses. That’s what my candidacy is about, bringing vitality back to rural Nebraska. This process of decline has been going on for decades and both parties have been complicit in making it happen.”

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One topic important to him is the Farm Bill, which he thinks should prioritize a reasonable profit margin for farms and ranches of all sizes. He said he’s opposes a Farm Bill that only ensures that agribusinesses are making large profits while producers operate on a razor-thin profit margin, like it’s been in the past.

“As a Congressman, I’d want to identify the rural representatives like me, get in a room, regardless of party, and leave out the special interests,” Theobald said. “It would be devastating for our communities if the Farm Bill doesn’t include significant legislation to address the problem of ag industries that may not be thriving.”

He said an analysis of how the recent tax bill would affect the farming industry shows the lowest earning 20 percent of farmers and ranchers will likely see their tax burden go up. The top tax benefits go the top earning 10 percent.

“If we’re beholden to corporate interests and politicians as opposed to the people; we’re not going to make any progress.”

Although Nebraska’s Third Congressional District is staunchly Republican, Theobald said he would like to create a more comfortable atmosphere where they would consider voting for a Democrat.

“The Third District is disproportionately self-employed and working in small businesses,” he said. “We absolutely have to have affordable healthcare. Our for-profit system has made our system much more expensive than anywhere else on earth.”

He said the current system is designed to make a profit from the misfortune of others, such as the pharmaceutical industry pushing opioid drugs. Those addictions are now killing more people than car accidents.

“With Medicare for all, it gives us the opportunity to control price costs, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry,” Theobald said. “Charging what the market will bear in matters of life and death has a certain repugnance to it.”

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Using an analogy, he compared it to when a farmer breaks a leg. His neighbors don’t look to make money helping him bring in the harvest. Instead, they pitch in to lend a helping hand.

He said that over the years, corporate power over people’s lives is the exact opposite of the nation’s founding, where people rise and fill on their own merits.

So far, Theobald is the only declared candidate on the Democratic ticket for the Congressional Third District. He will appear on the May 15 primary ballot.