Jim Nielson, a Republican candidate for the state District 19 House of Representatives seat, said he believes we have an obligation to repay those efforts.
Nielson has been interested in the political process since he was in elementary school. As a young man he worked in the Ronald Reagan administration, working with education secretaries T.H. Bell and Bill Bennett.
Now, owner, senior principal and chief financial officer of CRSA, a Salt Lake City-based architectural firm, Nielson said he believes Utah is the best place to raise families and he’s running for office to keep it that way. He said he’s ready to stand on the shoulders of family, friends and neighbors.
He shared a story of when he was 15 and was given a scholarship to a youth leadership program called Camp Rising Sun in New York.
Sitting around the campfire, one of the counselors, “Freddie” told the story of meeting a boy from Malaysia at the camp 20 years earlier.
The boy arrived at the camp two weeks early, so Freddie invited him to stay with him. During the day the boy was often on his own and didn’t have the money to visit museums, so he’d often go to bookstores, Nielson said. When Freddie returned home one day, the boy told him he’d found a book which was what he needed to study. But the book cost $5.
The boy told Freddie he couldn’t afford it, so Freddie gave the boy $5. The boy promised to repay it, but Freddie told him he didn’t have to repay the money, but go back to Malaysia, and when he had earned enough to support his family and save a little, to give the equivalent of that $5 to someone else who needed it.
Freddie received a letter in 1974 from the boy, who said he had found a student who needed the money and had passed the obligation onto him. “We all have an obligation to repay those whose shoulders we have stood on,” Nielson said.
He told Exchangites, “it’s a privilege to be a small businessman.” However, he said, he has to laugh whenever he hears a president say they want to grow our economy. “The economy grows best if you leave it alone,” Nielson said. “It’s not like a tomato bush or something.” He said he agrees with President Reagan’s philosophy that government should get out of the way of business.
Speaking of economist Walter Williams, Nielson said he agrees that, “whenever the reach of government grows, freedom and prosperity ends.”