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A Candidate For Congress In Georgia — And Michigan And Hawaii And...
Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:33 pm
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
We're going to introduce you now to one unusual Republican running for Congress in this year's midterm elections. As a candidate, Allan Levene stands out for a bunch of reasons. He's a naturalized U.S. citizen, born and raised in London. He says the federal government should do away with corporate taxes and create a new Israel in Texas.
But the thing about Levene's campaign that's gotten the most attention is that he's running in four different districts in four different states: in Georgia, where he lives, also Michigan, Minnesota and Hawaii. And Mr. Levene joins us now from Atlanta. Mr. Levene, welcome to the program.
ALLAN LEVENE: Thank you very much for having me.
BLOCK: And explain the rationale for why you've decided to do this. Why run in four states at the same time?
LEVENE: Well, in a nutshell, the reason is that I'm 64. My mother died at 70 and my father died at about 80, so I figure I have about 10 years left. I don't have the time to run two years at a time. The primary in Georgia's in May, and if I win that primary, then I will withdraw from the other races. If I do not win the Republican race, which is possible because there are seven of us running for the same seat and you never know what the voters are going to do, then we'll move on to the other states based on - we prioritized based on how enthusiastic the voters in those states are for me to represent them.
BLOCK: Mr. Levene, to understand the voters of a district, doesn't it make some sense for the person who wants to represent them in Congress to be from that district?
LEVENE: I actually don't think so. I could do a very good job representing the voters in a district. But the problems we have are national in scope, which is lack of confidence in the dollar, lack of confidence in the economy, lack of confidence in job opportunities, low incomes for people who have jobs. It's all supply and demand. So my ideas transcend local politics.
BLOCK: I wonder, Mr. Levene, if in your home country of England, if folks use the word carpetbagger to describe what you're doing here and if you're worried that that's a concern of voters in states where you have not lived that you're coming in running for a seat in a state where you have no connection.
LEVENE: Hillary Clinton moved to New York specifically to become senator. She didn't move there, I think, just because she liked it. It was a part of a long-term plan. I think of myself as having the opportunity to serve the American public in Washington and fix problems. And if I cannot do it in Georgia because there's too many competitors, I can do it as equally well in Michigan, I can do it as equally well in Minnesota, and I can do it as equally well in Hawaii.
BLOCK: Mr. Levene, assuming these four separate campaigns, running for Congress in four different states, assuming that's all a bust, that you lose in all four, would it have been worth it if this all fails?
LEVENE: Of course it had been worth it. I want to do what's right for the public. This country has been so good to me. When I was a teenager, I lived in London and I used to - when I used to go into the West End of London, to Grosvenor Square, which is where the American Embassy is, I used to go there and I used to sit across the square from the embassy marveling at how majestic it was.
And in particular, I used to look at the American flag and I said, one day, I'll visit America. And it was - every time I see the American flag, I just think of just how just good this country is. Now Washington is destroying it and I have to do something about it.
BLOCK: Allan Levene, he is running for Congress as a Republican in four different states. Mr. Levene, thanks for joining us.
LEVENE: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.