A relatively unknown candidate for western Iowa’s Fifth District Congressional seat was in the Cass County community of Atlantic this (Friday) morning. Independent Party candidate Roy Nielsen, from Orange City stopped at a local restaurant to hold a “meet and greet” with local residents.

Nielsen said one of the reasons he’s running against incumbent Congressman Steve King and challenger Joyce Schulte, is because they represent the political extremes.
He says Steve King’s an ultra-conservative, “Joyce is towards the liberal side,” and he didn’t feel anybody was representing the middle. He says he’s tired of the political bickering, and wants to stand up for the average hard-working Iowan.

Nielsen says he voted for Steve King four years ago, but feels the man has abandoned his constituents in favor of political action groups. He says coming from small-town Iowa, he’d expect King to be open to rural concerns, but says he seems to have his own agenda, “and it doesn’t seem like that agenda includes western Iowa. Nielsen charges that King gets two-thirds of his money from PACS and about two-thirds as well from out of state. He questions who King works for.

Nielsen considers himself to be a “plain-spoken” man. He admits that, as an independent, he has a tough road ahead in trying to get his message out. Nielsen says people view Independents as one of two things: a single-issue candidate, or sort of a kook. He says he’s neither one. He has to overcome that stereotype and thinks once he talks with people and reporters they’ll realize he’s a viable candidate, not single-issue and “not a kook.” He says he’s a serious small businessman who “basically has had enough.”

His single biggest issue during this campaign, is health care. As a small businessman Nielsen says it’s getting increasingly harder to pay health-insurance premiums, while coverage decreases. He says some 50-Million Americans don’t have health insurance and another fifteen-to-20-Million have it but can’t afford the co-pays and deductibles. Nielsen says we’re on the verge of a national crisis, “if we aren’t there already.”

Nielsen says politicians are too focused on other issues that don’t have as much impact on day-to-day life as health care. He says also that he doesn’t support Steve King’s stance on immigration. He says there’s a more common-sense policy available.

Nielsen says the three components of his policy are securing the border, clarifying the legal immigration process, and dealing fairly with the illegal immigrants that are here. His visit to Atlantic is part of his tour of the sprawling Fifth District, which encompasses 32-counties in the western part of the state. Thus far, he’s managed to make stops in 21 of those counties.