CEDAR RAPIDS — Winneshiek County farmer and businessman Thomas Hansen wants to go to Congress to protect the principles America was founded on.
To do that, he’s “willing to work with anyone working within the confines of the Constitution,” Hansen said Thursday. “But if you’re talking about socialism, my job is to stop that.”
Hansen, 57, said “if you’re trying to take away liberty, I’m not interested.”
Hansen, who has operated a refrigeration business in the Decorah area for 30 years, is the second Republican to file in the 20-county 1st Congressional District, which includes Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Cedar Falls-Waterloo. State Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, also is seeking the nomination to challenge freshman U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat, in 2020.
Hansen and his wife, Jeanett, also raise organic beef for area restaurants and other customers.
Born in Long Island, N.Y., and raised in Las Vegas, Hansen moved to Decorah to marry Jeanett nearly 32 years ago.
Hansen sees two philosophies vying for control in American politics. One, Democrats — progressives and liberals — see government as the master who needs to be involved in every aspect of life.
“They believe America is the root of all the world’s problems and must be fundamentally altered to correct them,” he said in his announcement. “I’ve studied history and I know where this leads.”
The other group, which he belongs to, believes “government is our servant. And while there are certainly jobs which constitutionally they are authorized and need to do, for the most part we can adeptly care for both ourselves and our fellow humans.”
He believes America is exceptional and strives for the ideals of justice, liberty and equality.
“Given the proper education and opportunity, anyone can climb the social-economic ladder as far as they wish their own fortitude to take them,” Hansen added.
The federal government should be open to innovation in education, said Hansen, a graduate of high school and a four-year Operating Engineers Union apprenticeship.
“Not every school is failing,” Hansen said. “We should look at what we’re doing right and look at other ways education might work where it’s failing.” That would include school vouchers.
An opponent of the Affordable Care Act, Hansen said he hasn’t had health insurance for 20 years. When he or his wife have needed health care, he has negotiated with providers to pay actual costs rather than the “falsely high” rates insurance companies and hospitals agree to.
He is a supporter of President Donald Trump, “someone who has the good of the country in his heart.” Hansen supports border security and reforms to make immigration work more effectively.
Hansen said he will have a campaign website soon.
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