Jenkins says Independents deserve spot on ballot Jim Jenkins, a rancher and restaurateur, campaigned for U.S. Senate in Nebraska City Friday saying Independents hold the key to unlock government gridlock and deserve a spot on the state's primary ballot.
The ballot for the state's primary election on May 13 will include Republicans and Democrats seeking to replace Mike Johanns, who is not seeking a second term in the Senate.
Unlike candidates from the state's major parties, Republicans and Democrats, Jenkins' name will not appear on the primary ballot.
Jim Jenkins, a rancher and restaurateur, campaigned for U.S. Senate in Nebraska City Friday saying Independents hold the key to unlock government gridlock and deserve a spot on the state's primary ballot.
The ballot for the state's primary election on May 13 will include Republicans and Democrats seeking to replace Sen. Mike Johanns, who is not seeking a second term.
Unlike candidates from the state's major parties, Jenkins' name will not appear on the primary ballot.
As an Independent he must present at least 4,000 signatures to get on the general election ballot in November.
The primary process is another indicator, he said, of how party politics spoil the democratic process and strand the very people America needs for legislative consensus.
To win party nomination, he said, candidates' positions are drawn to the party's extreme viewpoints. They are extremes, he said, that can prevent legislators from finding common ground with each other.
"If you're not ideologically pure enough they will run a candidate against you to bring you back to the right or the left. Yet, most Americans are in the middle," he said. "The party system is broke, Congress is broke."
He said Independents can help Congress move forward on debt reduction, immigration reform and even a Farm Bill.
Jenkins, whose family ranch near Calloway, Neb., dates back to 1876, established the restaurant chain Whiskey Creek Steakhouse and is currently has ownership in the Skeeter Barnes chain.
He said his business experience has taken him from one end of the state to the other. As a land lease consultant for wind energy projects and former chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, he says he also appreciates the benefits of alternative energy.
He said easing the economic pressures of the America's federal debt is his top concern, however, and said his belief that Independent voices in Congress are a missing ingredient in the process convinced him to seek office.
"I'm not only the Independent candidate for Nebraska's Senate seat, but one of the few in the country," he said.
He noted that Nebraska's Unicameral system represents the only state Legislature in American without a political party structure.
"Nebraska does not have the party machinery that handicaps our legislators the way Congress people are handicapped. The rules of Congress exclude minority parties from participating in the democratic process," he said.
He said 20 to 25 percent of Nebraskans identify themselves as "independent," but they do not have chance to participate in the primary election.
He said national and state offices should be elected like candidates for the Unicameral.
If there is a primary election, the top two vote-getters would advance regardless of their party.
He said party politics can be blamed for voter apathy because voters feel party machinery chooses candidates and platforms rather than ballots.
"It's not what our founding fathers envisioned for our House of Representatives," he said. He said party politics works against Congressional solutions to American's problems.
"The American people need to start demanding that Congress changes the way it conducts itself," he said.