Shawn, please explain to our readers how you got involved in the Tea Party movement?
Shawn: To begin with, there was no Tea Party movement that I was aware of at this time last year. Last March people across the country and certainly in Southern California were reeling from the constant beat down of small business people and this unending talk of raising taxes, bailouts, and the government taking over everything from the auto industry to banking.
As a small business man myself I began to sense there were a number of my peers that had not been typically politically active but had suffered through all they were going to take. KFI’s John & Ken were focused on the same issues that were troubling me and so many others and the talk began to be that they should have some kind of rally to protest. I thought this was the perfect time to do exactly that and that people that had never participated in such things might be ready to scream they wanted the nonsense to end.
I got together with a fellow business owner in Fullerton and we sent an e-mail with photos of other events that had been held in the Fullerton transit center to the producer for John & Ken. It took a few days but they finally responded and were psyched up about the idea and the location. 12,000 people later on a beautiful Saturday in Fullerton I realized we were on to something. The people that attended last spring’s Tax Revolt 2009 in Fullerton were folks that in most cases had never protested anything before. They were people that run businesses and raise families and are usually willing to leave the protest stuff to the activists. They were ready to engage and I was thrilled to see them in action. These were my kind of people.
It wasn’t until last summer that I remember folks beginning to use the word Tea Party to describe the anger of the people and the new activism but I was thrilled to see the movement was not just a one day thing.
Prior to last springs’ Tax Revolt, I hit the radar screen of the Tea Party folks because I stood up against and stopped an attempted retroactive pension spike in the city of Fullerton 18 months ago. Since then I have been seen as one of the few people that will actually take political risk when it comes to all things union run.
What are thoughts about the paycheck protection initiative?
Shawn Nelson: I believe unions have a right to participate and should. My family’s business, Daily Saw Service (yes I am a Daily) has been union since just after World War II. Paycheck protection will end the strong arm tactics of the union presidents who can at a moments notice raise millions of dollars whether their members are in favor of an issue or not. Right now, unions can literally control the election process in many cities. counties and state wide by their sheer ability to take their members money and throw their weight around. If members had to actually cut an after tax check before a union boss could use their money, I for one do not believe the faucet would be stuck in the “on” position like it is now.
Are you going to the rally this weekend?
Nelson:I will be at the event on Saturday, 10:00 a.m. in the Fullerton Transportation Center. Please say hello to me if you stop by.
What are people looking for in a candidate?
Nelson: Fullerton is the same as the nation. Folks are tired of people who make their living in politics. A career spent in government affairs is exactly the type of background that has Tea Party types furious with their election choices.
I think people are looking for someone straight forward and honest. Some one who as actually run a business and who is about results not measuring intentions and effort. I think people are tired of voting for a person just because he/she is moving to another office in politics. They want to vote for someone that will get things done, not accommodate those that make their living in the system.
It is too much to ask a guy that has spent his career stroking his political friends to break ranks and disappoint by cutting programs that are not needed, reducing staff when it is feasible etc? This is the reason I am willing to give up my law practice and run and the reason I think I will win. I will say no to the cronies at the county and particularly any union boss who places protecting salaries and benefits above the taxpayers need for service.
There are a lot of candidates moving or claiming to move their residence to run for office lately. Would you be willing to move to run for office?
Nelson: I live right near where I grew up in a home one of my best friends was raised in. I chose where I wanted to live based on the community, my children’s well being, proximity to friends and family trails, parks etc. Where I chose to live had nothing to do with politics or running for office. I cant imagine being so self absorbed as to move my family specifically to run for an office in a district outside of where my home is. Maybe worse than that would be to pretend I moved but not actually do so. Anyway, gimmicks are not what I am about.
Why do you think you will win?
Nelson: It really is time for some bold changes in who runs, who we elect and what the people we elect have the guts to do. For too long we have elected supposedly conservative people and what we get is constant cow-towing to unions and interest groups that are close to bankrupting government at every level. We need people who are giving up more than they get from public service, not folks that win elections and get a raise.
Can we consider you a friend?
Nelson: Sure, I am a Friend of Fullerton’s Future.