voice for democracy

'Democracy has to be the answer': Aberdeen man announces intention to run for U.S. Senate – Yahoo News

A former university professor and retired military man has announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate.
South Dakota has two Republican senators: John Thune and Mike Rounds. Thune's seat is up for re-election. The petition process for all elected positions begins in January. Candidates aren't official until those petitions are filed.
Brian Bengs, who has lived in Aberdeen for almost six years, announced his candidacy to a small group of people, including friends and family, Thursday at the One Legged Pheasant.
Bengs, 51, and a lifelong independent, is running as a Democrat, a requirement by state law if he wanted to be a candidate for the Democratic Party.
He and his wife, Jennifer, have two teenage daughters. Originally from a small town in Iowa, Bengs served in the Navy from 1988-95, with five of those years in the Reserves before attending college at Iowa State and enrolling at law school at the University of Iowa, then joined the JAG Corps in the Air Force for 19 years.
More: House conservatives come up short in blocking Senate map on South Dakota redistricting
From there he was hired at Northern State, where he taught political science and criminal justice for four years, leaving that post in August 2020. Since then he's been working on a book, "Thinking Critically About American Values, Virtues, and Vices."
In making his announcement, Bengs also outlined his South Dakotans First plan, an idea he describes as a way to make democracy more functional and one that takes the United States back to its democratic roots. Put another way, he also describes it as a plan that breaks the dysfunctional status quo of the current system.
"Democracy has to be the answer," he said. "We are on a path to violence."
His plan would exempt people from federal income tax if they make up to four times the median income. In South Dakota, that's $124,000. That means, he said, with income verification, no taxes need to be filed, but also no tax refunds.
Families with an income of $248,000 and businesses making $100 million or less would also be exempt.
The rest, he said, which he estimates at about 10% of the people, would be taxed. And, he said states would also be required to pay an identical percent of gross state income to the federal government.
More: Lawrence: Once again, Thune raises retirement question
"I'm talking about blowing up the status quo of tax policy in the United States," he said. "Change is necessary very soon or bad things will happen."
The goal, he said, is to shift the tax burden to the states, which then create their own systems
"This is blasphemy for a Democrat," Bengs said, adding the time to advocate for a "New Deal" has passed.
"We're a nation adrift," he said.
Admittedly, the plan would mean less revenue for the federal government. Bengs said one program he would advocate cutting would be federally subsidized flood insurance that is no longer self-sustaining and instead pays to continually replace buildings destroyed by natural disasters.
Ultimately, he said, his goal is to get his ideas out there in the hopes they take root.
This article originally appeared on Aberdeen News: Aberdeen man Brian Bengs announces intention to run for U.S. Senate
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