The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Osborn brings campaign, ideas to Sidney

 

Shane Osborn is a veteran and entrepreneur hoping to be elected to the United States Senate. On a stop in Sidney on Friday morning, he met with local residents at Dude's Steakhouse, hoping to make an impression in what is becoming a crowded field of candidates.

Osborn was born in Norfolk, Neb. and raised by a single mother. He admired her hard work and dedication as she took on three jobs to provide for her two children. She worked her way up in the nursing field and eventually became the director of nursing at the Norfolk Veterans Home.

"My surrogate fathers were veterans," Osborn said. "I spent time hanging out and listening to stories about their service to their country, and that left a very lasting impression on me. I grew up wanting to serve my country."

Osborn went to the University of Nebraska on a Navy ROTC scholarship, and received a degree in mathematics. He then went off to the Navy to fly reconnaissance airplanes on active duty for nine years.

"I grew up in the Navy, so to speak," Osborn said. "You learn what it is to truly lead. You learn what it is to put others above yourself, whether it's your country or the men and women you're serving with."

When Osborn was 26 and flying one of his first reconnaissance missions as the mission commander, he had a mid-air collision with a Chinese fighter jet. His plane was flipped so that it was inverted for nearly two miles on a dive. Osborn and his crew had to destroy the top-secret materials on the plane before landing in China. They were taken off of the aircraft at gunpoint. They were kept awake for almost seven days straight, interrogated and threatened that they were going to go to jail for the rest of their lives for being spies and if they did not answer questions, members of their crew were going to start disappearing.

"That was pretty intense stuff," Osborn said. "You revert back to your faith, and you revert back to taking care of your crew, and that's what I did. So we withstood their threats and 12 days later, we were released."

Osborn knows that there is a large amount of pressure in public office.

"You see people in D.C. buckling all the time and I just tell people, 'If the Chinese couldn't break me, Harry Reid certainly won't, so I can handle the pressure,'" Osborn said.

After 9/11, Osborn flew some of the initial combat missions in Afghanistan. His tour ended in 2005, and he wanted to see if he could be effective in government.

He was voted state treasurer. Osborn is a fiscal republican who believes in transparency in government. In a four-year term, he helped cut the budget 12 percent and won the Treasury Marquee Award, which honors the most efficient treasurer's office in the country, public or private. Osborn also created the NebraskaSpending.gov website while in office, so that the public can see where their money is being spent.

Osborn also started three businesses, one of which is a financial services company that is owned and employed by disabled veterans.

"When the [Senate] seat opened up, I took a look at where our country is going and the problems that face us, and what we need in Washington D.C.," Osborn said. "I think leadership matters. We currently have a void in leaders and I think we need more people that will put the country in front of their political future. As a veteran, I've proven that I'll do that. We have a saying in the Navy, 'Not on my watch,' and this applies right here. I will not sit back and watch our country decline."

Osborn believes that America's best days are in front of us, but what the federal government needs and should be doing need to be reversed and reassessed.

Osborn likes to keep a simple platform.

He has collected intelligence on every single country America has issues with today. However, Osborn does not believe that the biggest threats to the nation are outside of the borders. He believes that the biggest problem the country faces is the national debt.

"Nebraskans understand that we don't spend money we don't have. Nebraskans every day sit down and tighten up the budget in tough times and make sacrifices to meet their budgets and make sure they don't get upside down," Osborn explained. "Our state has a balanced budget amendment, and that's something we need in Washington D.C. immediately. With us $17 trillion in debt, we essentially have a credit card bill and we're calling the credit card company every quarter to raise the limit and not paying it off. We're at severe risk of being the first generation in the history of our country that would leave the country worse off than we received it, so the debt has to be under control."

The regulatory environment hurting job growth, according to Osborn. He believes that small businessmen and women are the job engines that drive the economy.

"The regulatory environment is unacceptable and overreaching, and we have a tax code that is far too complex," Osborn said. "If we can get the tax code simplified, if we can pull back some of these regulations, we'll see job growth. One of the best things we can do to help job growth would be to set a goal of five years from now being North American energy independent. We have a diversified energy portfolio that includes fossil fuels, bio fuels, nuclear, that's sitting right in front of us. The jobs that would be created are good paying jobs."

Osborn believes that becoming energy independent would create a boom in the economy. More people would be paying federal taxes, which would in turn help alleviate the deficit. He also believes that this move would help in terms of national defense because the country is currently dependent on countries that do not particularly care for the United States.

"I would much rather create jobs for our young people here than having to send our young men and women in uniform over to the Middle East continuously because of our need for access to oil," Osborn said.

He insists that the country is not keeping its promises to veterans. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is tearing apart military men and women and their families, according to Osborn. One of his crewmates took his own life due to the China incident that they went through, making the topic near and dear to Osborn. He helped to open a veterans' clinic in North Platte on Monday.

"ObamaCare is a devastating failure," Osborn said. "I think that ObamaCare was meant to fail and result in a single-pair health system and that would be socialized medicine. Go look at the veterans' affairs, go down to your VA hospital. That's the largest healthcare system in our country and it's completely government-run, and look at how they're treating the veterans-the long lines, the waits for care, the horrible care that these veterans are receiving-and if we treat our men and women who defended our freedom this way, how do you think they're going to treat the average citizen?"

Osborn thinks that the country needs individual health plans that are owned by the individual. "Portable" from job-to-job and across state lines, which will bring in the free market and help drive down health care costs. This way, people can take individual ownership of their own health care.

"I'm a small town Nebraska boy who understands that we've got it figured out pretty well here in Nebraska, we just need more of it in Washington D.C.," Osborn said.

 

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