It was a packed house in South Sioux City Monday as Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns sat down with constituents. With topics ranging from the national debt, to lean beef, to the race for Nebraska's other senate seat, there wasn't an empty seat at the town hall.
"About five years from now, we'll owe about 20 trillion dollars," said Sen. Mike Johanns.
Money was on voters' minds today at the Marina Inn.
"People are concerned about the spending, their concerned about the debt. They really believe our country has way too much debt, and the annual deficit now is, for the last three or four years has been over a trillion dollars a year, and it's just not sustainable," Johanns said.
Former state lawmaker Bob Engel came to show his support for Johanns, and fight President Obama's health care reform law.
"Our country's in a real lot of trouble, financially, as you know, and as far as the health care reform, I think that's a big mistake, and I think he's doing what he can do to override what Obama has done and come up with some health reform," said Engel.
Johanns wants to use a slush fund from the health care reform law to keep student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent.
"My view of the world is look, let's help students out, and we don't need slush funds when we have trillion dollar deficits. We can utilize that money to bring the loans down and keep them down to where there at today,"he said.
As a former Agriculture Secretary, Johanns says the current secretary, Iowa's Tom Vilsack, is doing a great job, but wishes Vilsack had stepped in sooner to defend BPI during the "lean beef" controversy.
"I really wish he would have been more forceful when we were dealing with this BPI issue. That lean beef product is a wonderful product and we really need somebody to say that," Johanns said.
Senator Johanns will become Nebraska's senior Senator next year, when Ben Nelson retires. The primary election is two weeks from tomorrow. With former Senator Bob Kerrey the all-but certain Democratic nominee, Johanns told me whoever Republicans pick should focus on Kerrey's voting record, because Johanns says Kerrey is not in-sync with Nebraskans, and to campaign on the issues.