Smithfield Herald

House candidate would embrace limited government

State House hopeful Dennis Nielsen says he’s the most conservative candidate running in North Carolina.

Nielsen, 65, is running for District 26, which encompasses northwestern Johnston County, including all of Clayton and most of Smithfield. In the Republican Party primary, he faces incumbent Leo Daughtry, who is serving his 11th term. Whoever wins the primary will win the November election because no Democrat filed.

Nielsen ran unsuccessfully for the District 26 seat in the last two elections. He ran for governor in 2008 and for the legislature in 2006 and 2004, when he lived in Nash County.

“If you’re going to complain about a system, you have to be willing to stand up,” he said of his many campaigns. “If you’re unwilling to stand up for something, you stand for nothing.”

Nielsen stands for limited government. He wants to abolish the state income tax and move to taxing people only when they purchase goods or services.

“The state income tax is now a welfare program to transfer money from the middle class people to other people,” Nielsen said. “Everyone is not taxed, so some people get a free ride. With a consumption tax, everybody pays. ... It’s a great country to live in. Everybody needs to pay their share.”

Nielsen said government is out of control. If elected, he would bring together a group of people to go through every law on the North Carolina books. If a law isn’t enforced, he would either get rid of it or start enforcing it. Laws are pointless if they don’t have a real penalty, he said.

Laws should keep the government in check, not the people, Nielsen said. “The definition of freedom is the government being afraid of the people,” he said. “The definition of tyranny is the people being afraid of the government.”

Nielsen said his platform is simple. “Get the government out of the peoples’ business, turn control of the peoples’ lives to themselves and stop having people controlling people,” he said.

Nielsen said he would like to see the state’s open-meetings laws enforced. When boards violate the law, their members should have to pay a $1,000 fine, with the money coming from their personal pockets, not tax coffers or campaign funds, he said.

Nielsen would like to get rid of ABC stores because the government shouldn’t be interfering with private business. He also favors term limits for all politicians, including those on the local level. He said elected leaders should receive little pay and not become part of the state retirement system.

On how to support economic growth: “Jobs will grow when we return the control of our state and our county to the people,” Nielsen said. “Jobs will happen when we get the government out of small business. Get the government out of taxation and the economy will grow on its own.”

Nielsen said he supports the state’s new voter ID requirement and is glad the General Assembly abolished teacher tenure, adding that because no state employee or politician should have career status.

Nielsen said the public schools are failing children, and he encouraged families to home-school their childten or send them to private school if possible. That would allow the number of public school teachers to decrease naturally.

“The state has too many employees, period,” Nielsen said. “Through attrition, we need to lower the number of people who are on the state payrolls.” With fewer people, the state would have more money for raises, he added.

Nielsen owns Freedom Arms in Clayton and feels passionately about gun rights. Firearms keep people free, he said, and that’s why the Founding Fathers put that in the Bill of Rights. State law, he said, should mirror federal statutes, banning only those guns that the federal government has banned.

Nielsen was born in Iowa and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in law enforcement. He served in the Air Force for 37 years, most of that time as a pilot. He retired in 2002 and moved to North Carolina, living first in Nash County.

He formed and heads the N.C. Economic Assistance Center, which does free tax returns for low-income people and seniors.