Local News

4/12/2012

Democrat plans run for U.S. House seat

By GORDON JACKSON

The Brunswick News

A St. Simons Island man seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for the 1st District Congressional seat believes he knows how to defeat the incumbent Republican - Rep. Jack Kingston, who has held the office since 1992.

"I'm a Ron Paul Democrat, not a Blue Dog Democrat," Nathan Russo said. "I am more conservative than Jack Kingston."

Russo, 68, a lifelong bachelor and former owner of a public records abstract and appraisal business in New York City, said approval ratings for Congress are at an all-time low, making Kingston, the popular Republican from Savannah, vulnerable.

Russo said job creation is his No. 1 priority, with health care reform a close second.

"I have no objections to Obama care," he said.

He wants to reintroduce the draft for people ages 18 to 20 for two years of service as a way to reduce pressure on the National Guard and increase patriotism and responsibility in America's youth.

Russo said he won't vote along party lines but will rely on input from constituents before voting on issues.

"I will be responsive to the people," he said.

"Let me run on the issues and let Jack run on his voting record. The truth is something hard to run away from."

Russo admits he has a challenge unseating Kingston, who has the experience, name recognition and financial support.

"I'm 68 years old and have never held public office before," Russo said. "Some people have asked why I don't do something like run for county commission, but I'm too old to start at the bottom."

He also decided to reveal details of a misdemeanor arrest in 2006 now, rather than risk having the information come out a few days before the election.

According to an incident report from the Springdale, S.C. Police Department, Russo was arrested Nov. 16, 2006 after he warned some guests about an ongoing prostitution sting at a local motel where he was staying on the way to visit his mother in Kentucky.

Russo was incarcerated two days until he paid a $1,062 fine for disorderly conduct and another $1,112 fine for interfering with police.

Russo said he told some guests about the sting because he thought it was unethical for police to entrap people into committing a crime.

He said he didn't contest the charges in court because he simply wanted the ordeal to end.

If he wins his party's nomination and upsets Kingston, Russo said one of his first tasks will be to introduce legislation to cut pensions for congressmen by 10 percent.

"The people in Congress have to show Americans they understand their pain," he said. "The middle class has been giving a long time. It's time for everyone else."