District 4 state Sen. Jim Nielsen optimistic that GOP core values can attract voters

Veteran legislator also has praise for new state Republican Party chairman
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Its convention squabbles apparently now in the past, state Republicans are ready to win over a broader base of voters, District 4 state Sen. Jim Nielsen said.

Speaking this week with the Journal in Auburn, Nielsen said that new strategies emerged at the state Republican Party convention on the weekend to bring Latinos and other ethnic groups that have been voting Democrat into the GOP fold.

Nielsen said he’s made it a personal “crusade” since his own entry into elected office in the late 1970s – and particularly after being elected Republican Senate leader in 1983 – to create bridges with Latino and other ethnic minorities.

Nielsen, a 68-year-old Gerber resident, won the District 4 seat in January. He previously served as District 2 assemblyman. District 4 includes portions of North Auburn and Meadow Vista.

Republicans resolved at the convention to better tell a message of values and striving that should resonate with non-traditional party supporters, Neilsen said.

“I think I’m an example of one who has historically reached out to the ethnic community and we feel a communality with the ethnic groups I’m speaking of,” Nielsen said. “Family values – that’s a Republican issue. Upward mobility. Improvement. Striving. Work ethic. Those are things that the Republican Party has always stood for but done a poor job of communicating.”

Nielsen said the convention was a good one because it brought those issues to the forefront.  He added that battling within the party that has occurred at past conventions was not evident. He also praised the selection of Jim Brulte as new state chairman.

“He’s a problem solver with a little broader view,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen said that how the GOP delivers its message would be an important part of a future rise in popularity statewide.

“But it doesn’t mean that the principles of the Republican Party are going to be disregarded,” he said.