Editor’s note: In the weeks leading up to the March 3 primary election The East County Californian will publish Q and As provided to congressional candidates.
Tell us a little about yourself, where you live and why you are running for Congress.
NATHAN PAUL WILKINS:
Nathan Paul Wilkins is a Retired United States Navy SEAL, former Congressional Innovation Fellow at the United States House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee (Republican), and California District 50 Republican congressional candidate. Wilkins is a devoted follower of Christ with a Conservative upbringing and identifies as a member of the Republican Party.
Born to a blue-collar family in Reedley, California, Wilkins spent the earlier parts of his youth growing up in the community of Reedley. His father worked as a mechanic and mother as a church accountant. Due to safety concerns, his family made the choice to move to the mountain community of Oakhurst, California. From the age of 13, he helped his mother and father make ends meet. He graduated from Yosemite High School in Oakhurst, California in June 2004.
After entering the United States Navy on a SEAL contract, he was medically dropped from the SEAL program after suffering from extensive injuries. He was deployed to Yokosuka, Japan to serve at the Office of Naval Intelligence/ Commander Submarine Group Seven Headquarters. Following SEAL graduation, he was attached to SEAL Team 3, where he deployed twice to Naval Special Warfare Unit One with Indo-Pacific Area of Responsibility (AOR). After 11 years of service and battling injuries, he was medically retired in 2018 from military service.
Wilkins joined the Congressio nal Innovation Fellowship, incubated at the Open Technology Institute at New America, in December 2018. In early 2019, he joined the United States House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee as an Innovation Fellow. His portfolio included: Communications & Technology, Consumer Protection & Commerce, Oversight & Investigations, Health and Energy & Environment.
Wilkins married Lindsay Wilkins in 2014. Together they have one son and one daughter. He identifies as an Evangelical Baptist. He currently lives in Vienna, Virginia and is moving his family back to California District 50.
As a faithful Christian, I am called to live a life of good works thru service to my family, community and country. Although I am not perfect, I do my best to live at the high moral, ethical and sacrificial example of Jesus Christ. California Congressional District 50 suffered a loss in ethical leadership, and I thought that the district could use a trustworthy and experienced candidate. With an unprecedented amount of fear that has gripped the United States, finding the source of that fear takes a disciplined and discerning mind, one that I have developed over the years in my experiences. After serving in the 116th Congress as a Fellow, I have become confident that I can serve the district in a highly effective manner. Therefore, I am running as a congressional candidate.
HELEN HORVATH: I’m a 16-year Alpine resident working as no party preference Congressional candidate to represent the diverse communities in the 50th District not a political party. I’m tired of partisan politics and committed to our communities to create the changes desired by the District’s voters. It’s not about me; it’s about us.
I served 5 1/2 years in the Army and am honorably discharged. I served in the 1st Armored Division-German Autumn terrorist events in 1977, supported the NATO missions in Germany; later worked in the Pacific Theater and worked for Forces Command. I was a 16-year military spouse and successfully held a Secret clearance throughout my military and 22-plus years federal career in a variety of fields. I am a published author in psychology topics.
Professionally, I hold a Doctor of Psychology in Organization Development (OD). I’m an experienced OD consultant and am an experienced marriage and family therapist. In 2012, I created and managed ILKA Technologies, Inc., an OD consulting firm. Our mission is to influence and change government organizational culture and operations. Designed and deployed an innovation and design program to reduce federal expenditures. This is done through fact driven/legal research, authentic leadership, senior executive coaching, innovation and design, and research. Design and administer psychological and behavioral assessments.
I’ve been a community volunteer and advocate since I was 18 years old. I participated on boards and committees to include winning an election as a mayor at Fort Belvoir reporting to the Commanding General, San Diego Workforce Partnership, and appointment to the Military and Veterans Advisory Council that I chaired through 2019.
What are your top three priorities at the national level and how do you expect to make an impact?
HORVATH: 1. Out of control spending. Includes discretionary spending, federal unemployment costs, failures of leadership in government (ethics and behaviors); DoD costs and veteran services, overall government accountability to reduce expenditures through smaller government.
- Social Services – Social Security/Medicare, healthcare, immigration, education, housing. Each of these issues are tied to expenditures, loans and individual payments to the government through taxes or loan servicing. Each will require a program modification to keep benefits available. Use of an economic model of immigration through skills and experience may stop the flow of chain migration. Healthcare cost reductions through modification of current laws. Examination of $9 billion low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) to create accountability in affordable housing development in our communities. Examine student loan debt program for modifications.
- Women and family rights. The Equal Rights Amendment guarantees rights for women and families on multiple levels. I’ll continue to advocate for ERA and strengthen laws to include Pregnancy Protection Act of 1978, Women’s Healthcare Protection Act, continued support for Violence Against Women Act, and other key issues. I have already written a recommendation to Sens. Duckworth and Gillibrand to reduce military sexual assault in July 2019; all tied to the VA and DoD budget reduction.
WILKINS: 1. Pro-Life: At conception, life begins, and the unborn child needs to be classified as a “person,” as defined under the 14th Amendment. Unfortunately, due to the confusion on when life begins, now Congress needs to establish that life begins at conception. I will do everything in my power to fight for the rights of the unborn, and make sure that they have the same rights as those that are born. We must establish that “personhood” starts at conception.
- 2nd amendment: The Second Amendment guaranteed that a citizen had the power to defend themselves against harm and governmental oppression. I want to make sure that the power given to individuals in the Constitution is never diluted or dissolved. As a participant in the 2020 Virginia 2nd Amendment rally, with zero violence related arrests, nothing I saw or felt warranted gun control measures.
- Traditional Marriage: Selfless traditional marriage creates strong families and in turn is an essential element in civil society. There are too many broken and single families, fractured for various reasons. We must create and repair policies that promote healthy traditional families. Our children deserve more than a broken and self-centered American family culture. Let’s create strong family communities once again!
What makes you the best candidate for the 50th District and why?
WILKINS: Thru my history of service to our country, experience in Congress, and willingness to uproot my family and move across the country; I hope that the Constituents of California District 50 can see that my heart to serve them is of pure motivation. I do not desire political power or prestige, but I see problems that can be solved with my policy positions and experience. My mindset and policy work experience make me the best candidate to deal with a misleading and polarizing political environment.
HORVATH: We have a bi-partisan committee composed of independents, Republicans, Democrats, veterans, and women nationally. I have congressional contacts who have known me for years while living in DC who support my campaign for Congress. I’ve worked with various government and intelligence agencies whose key leadership is eager to see me in office to create organizational change, resolve government ethics and contracting issues, while cutting the government “fat.” My knowledge runs deep in government operations to include designing key stakeholders change process engagement. I have various local veterans’ groups who support my run along with direct experience as a member of the VA Community Advocacy Board.
Prior to running, I networked with key Congressional representatives and senators relating to national issues. I wrote legislative and programmatic solutions to Senators Duckworth and Gillibrand to stop military sexual trauma. I developed senior leadership professional networks to create improvements to military quality of life programs/services.
I am not tied to lobbyists or campaign donors. We have not accepted large donations from firms or PACS — we are of the community. This creates a unique strength that will permit me to bring to Congress a solution-focused network of like-minded community leaders and supporters. My strength is in the people I work to serve. I’ll create legislation that makes sense through network and community collaboration. My extensive knowledge, skills, experience, education, and profound comprehension of federal systems will be used to navigate Congress.
My strengths and experiences are gained through military service, community service, and federal employment at DoD, USDA Foreign Service Office, Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation, Social Security Administration, multiple classified military commands, design of DoD healthcare system, and a CEO.
What would you like to say that is not covered in the above questions?
HORVATH: With community support, I’ll succeed because I’m of the community and will work for the community. I hope voters seriously examine a candidate’s facts and fiction against laws and regulations. Setting aside partisan politics and voting for federal work experience will be key to successful representation in the 50th.
Wilkens did not provide an answer.