If Jim Newberger could bottle his cheerful optimism, he'd be a wealthy man.
The 54-year-old three-term state representative from Becker, Minn., is the Republican-endorsed candidate running against two-term Democrat Amy Klobuchar for the U.S. Senate, and Tuesday he swung through Detroit Lakes. "I'm stepping away from a very safe (state) House seat to keep my promise," to run against Klobuchar, he said.
He recently retired from a 30-year career as a paramedic in North Minneapolis and is now focusing his energy on going after Klobuchar.
"I'm a conservative old-style Reagan Republican," he said. He is very much a supporter of President Trump, and says the recent Republican tax cuts are a good example of the difference between himself and Klobuchar. She voted against them, he supported them.
Although he's an old-school Republican, he takes a strong stance on new Republican issues, and wants to freeze the admittance of refugees into Minnesota and warns of the dangers of sharia law and police "no-go" zones in cities like Dearborn, Michigan.
"There are a number of things that differentiate me from Sen. Klobuchar," he says. "She will have had 12 years (in the U.S. Senate). She wants six more, she wants 18 years-that's too much," he said. "I don't think she's serving the interests of our state anymore."
He supports term limits, but only if they include limits on staff members and lobbyists. Otherwise the elected officials go and the others stay and have all the power that goes with institutional knowledge, he said.
On the Affordable Care Act, he said rising premiums have "been tough on the people of my district. We need to end Obamacare entirely and go back to a free market system-with competition, quality goes up and price goes down," he said.
Klobuchar is "a strong supporter of refugee resettlement," Newberger said."Minnesota has the most primary and secondary refugee resettlement, we're first in the nation," he said. "There's very little local control, the communities just have to take what comes to them ... we need to shut down refugees."
The U.S. State Department handles refugees, and even though Republicans control the presidency and both houses of Congress, "we can't get the leadership in place to put this (refugee ban) into effect," he said. "...I think Minnesota has done enough for the world-shut it down and fix it."
Many of the refugees are Muslim and want to live in Sharia-compliant communities, he added. "It doesn't matter where you're from-if you come here, just live under our law."
Newberger, who has been married 27 years and has three grown children, said he is strongly pro-life, pro farming and pro mining and strongly supports the Second Amendment.