Klemetsrud: Congress needs to lead by example
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Nov 24, 2013 | 596 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bradley County resident Kelly Klemetsrud is running for the U.S. 4th District Congressional seat as an independent.

“I am not happy with the leadership we have in place. They seem to want to take advantage for personal gains, and that’s wrong,” Klemetsrud said.

He feels those in Congress need to return to thinking of themselves as public servants.

“They need to lead by example,” Klemetsru said.

If elected, Klemetsrud plans to use the majority of his congressional paycheck for meeting needs in his district.

He said congressmen should not be able to benefit personally from business information learned in a congressional committee meeting.

Klemetsrud also said unemployment is a major issue he would want to tackle, if elected.

“Unemployment, I tie that in with a civil service branch that would be created for America, because it is going downhill. We need to rebuild our roads, our bridges,” Klemetsrud said.

He said this civil service branch would create a centralized way to provide workers for infrastructure projects. He also said he was in support of expanding the Army Corp of Engineers.

He said these two elements working together would mean better response to large scale natural disasters.

“We learned in [Superstorm] Sandy everyone was waiting around like what’s the government going to do?” Klemetsrud said. “[The government] failed those people … This way, we would have a better cast of first-responders.”

The candidate said minimum wage needs to be high enough that a person can survive on it.

“And it’s not,” Klemetsrud said. “You can’t survive on minimum wage.”

Klemetsrud said he wants to create a climate in Congress where Tennessee congressmen are seen as leaders.

“My greatest challenge to become a congressman is to overcome the mindset of people thinking because I am not affluently rich and powerful that I don’t have a right to be even running for Congress,” Klemetsrud said. “If I am to become a congressman, I don’t want to be a mouth piece for the Republicans or Democrats. I want to be a standard bearer for my district.”

Klemetsrud said he would be accessible to his district when working.

Klemetsrud said issues like abortion need to be depoliticized and simply be “between the woman, her doctor and her god — and maybe the father. I don’t want to leave him out.”

“I’m adopted. I take abortion personally because if abortion [was] as easy to get in 1962 as it is today, I might not be here,” Klemetsrud said. “I’m against abortion as a form of birth control.”

After living in Memphis for 20 years, Klemetsrud said he moved to Cleveland in 2000.