Profile: Senate Candidate Jack Heidel

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April 19, 2018 - 6:37am

Nebraska’s May primary election features nine major party U.S. Senate candidates. In the next few weeks we’ll profile each one. In this NET News Campaign Connection 2018 election coverage story we report on Omaha Republican Jack Heidel.

Jack Heidel has a large chart showing the growth of federal debt throughout the history of the United States. He's maintained a website on the national debt called “it does not add it” for six years. There’s no doubt about the issue most important to this Republican U.S. Senate candidate.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack Heidel (Photo by Mike Tobias, NET News)


Other Resources

Heidel for Senate web site

Heidel for Senate Facebook

KETV "Chronicle" interview with Heidel


Other Senate Race Profiles

Chris Janicek (D)

Larry Marvin (D)

Jane Raybould (D)

Frank Svoboda (D)

Deb Fischer (R)

Dennis Macek (R)

Jeffrey Stein (R)

Todd Watson (R)

(Note: Since Libertarian candidate Jim Schultz is uncontested we are not including him in our primary profiles, but plan to include him in our general election coverage.)


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GOP officials in Nebraska's two largest counties excluding some candidates in voter information (April 17, 2018)


Other Senate Candidate Web Sites





Campaign Connection 2018 is the home for NET News coverage of the 2018 elections.

“I'm running because of our national debt,” Heidel said. “It's awful, enormous, it's out of control, and the Republican leadership, including the incumbent, Deb Fischer, are simply, they're ignoring it. I mean, for all intents and purposes they're not doing anything about it, and it's getting worse. It's not getting better. It's getting worse. This is totally irresponsible fiscally. Irresponsible, and that's what has motivated me to jump in and talk about the debt, raise awareness of the debt issue. Because it's so serious and it's going to lead to the downfall of our country, of our way of life, if we can't get it under control.”

Heidel describes himself as a mathematician turned candidate. The 79-year-old from Omaha was a math professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for 33 years before retiring a year ago. An Iowa native, he served in the U.S. Navy for two years before earning bachelor’s, master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Iowa.

“As a retired math professor, I can add and subtract. In other words, I can keep track of budget things and think about them in a big, broad picture sense, which is what needs to be done,” Heidel said.

For Heidel, that would have started with not passing the current $1.3 trillion federal budget.

“To work together to, again, figure out what needs to be increased and what can be cut or cut back to offset the increases,” Heidel said when asked what he believes is the right way to build a budget. “And so I don't know what the ultimate percentage increase should have been, but not 10 percent across the board. That's unnecessary, and again, it ignores the big, overall big problem, the debt.

“We've got to get entitlement spending under control, and more specifically, health care,” he added. “The cost of health care in our country is outrageous, very high. Much higher than it should be and needs to be.”

Heidel said health care costs could be controlled by repairing or reforming the Affordable Care Act, including getting rid of the employer mandate and moving toward more individual insurance and incentive for users to keep costs down.

Heidel describes himself as a fiscal conservative but social moderate. “I think our fiscal and economic issues are the most basic issues that we need to get right, and I'm a fiscal conservative.”

He said a compromise is needed between the second amendment, which he supports, and “doing something to curtail mass shootings.”

“The most effective way to do it is to ban the purchase of assault weapons. So, and to me this is not, the general public do not need assault weapons to protect themselves, hunting or protect themselves, whatever,” he said.

On immigration, Heidel supports a path to citizenship for individuals in the DACA program who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children. And said a “sensible guest worker VISA program” would benefit Nebraska’s economy.

“These would be temporary, and it'll all have to be worked out in terms of renewable and so on and so forth. But employers would be able to legally hire immigrants to complete their labor force,” Heidel said. “And this would be especially useful in a state like Nebraska, where the unemployment rate is so low.

“So let's do something that is economically beneficial, and a guest worker visa, a temporary guest worker visa program with temporary visas is, in my opinion, the way to go,” he added.

On other issues, Heidel said he supports free trade and withdrawing from NAFTA would “be a disaster for the whole country.” He said he supports same-sex marriage, opposes legalization of marijuana, would like to see congressional term limits and is anti-abortion.

“I'm in favor of making abortion as rare as possible and I support a 20-week cutoff for most abortions,” Heidel said. “I mean, rape, incest and to save the life of the mother would be still approved. But to try to make abortions more rare, more and more rare all the time, is my position on abortion.”

Heidel gives the presidency of fellow Republican Donald Trump a mixed review. “The decrease in regulations is a big plus. I mean, the economy is picking up a little bit, which is good. The tax reform, I'm in favor of tax reform and lowering the corporate tax rate, and I was against the particular bill because it increased the debt, but nevertheless the tax reform and lowering the corporate tax rate, that will help. That will bring foreign money back to the U.S. and increase investment.

“His (Trump’s) erratic personal style is just highly off-setting and aggravating, and just disruptive. And we just don't know from one day to the next where things are going,” Heidel added. “So it’s mixed at this point.”

Heidel isn’t a newcomer to politics. He’s served on a school board and Omaha’s Learning Community Coordinating Council. He also ran for 2nd District House of Representatives in 2012, finishing third in the five-person Republican primary with 11 percent of the vote. He said his campaign is mostly self-financed, with a communications director, advertising, yards signs and other activity. He admits running against an incumbent is a challenge, but believes that “running against the debt” will make the difference.

“I'm raising awareness of the national debt, and Deb Fischer is vulnerable. From my point of view she's vulnerable because she's not dealing with it,” Heidel said.



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