number 2In early January Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spoke of a new path for conservatism – opportunity.

“The reason I’m a conservative is that it is an avenue for climbing the economic dream,” Cruz told the panel on Fox News Sunday. “And what I have been talking about for many years is opportunity conservatism, that every policy should focus like a laser on easing the means of ascent of the economic ladder.”

That idea of opportunity conservatism could also go by the term of “common sense conservatism,” something a young fresh face in Wisconsin politics has vowed to follow as he begins his political career on a county board in Northern Wisconsin.

Meet Travis Nez.

While Scott Walker, Ron Johnson and Paul Ryan are my generation’s contribution to the conservative movement in Wisconsin and the nation; Nez, at 19, is a conservative for the next generation and generations beyond.

Nez is the youngest person ever elected to a county board supervisor position in the state, and possibly the nation. He is starting his second year representing the towns of Elk and Harmony in Price County and governs with common sense and conservative principle.

But after Barack Obama won with another landslide victory among generation X, Y and the Millennials, we could be despondent that conservatism is waning with our generation.

So why would an 19-year-old be so fiercely conservative when many his own age are looking for a handout and freebies.

“It’s a matter of being right,” Nez said during his commute to Indianhead Technical College in Ashland. ”

As the owner of a hunting and fishing guide service, Nez understands the importance of tourism in the state of Wisconsin and his hometown. He sits on the Price County Tourism and Forestry Committee and has worked hard to expand the ATV trails throughout the county and connecting them with neighboring municipalities for increased revenue and job opportunities.  He also is looking for ways to make forestry a more viable, living-wage producing industry.

“Both areas are important for jobs in the Northwoods,” he said. “And that is my main focus to create jobs in our county so people will stay here to work and raise families.”

Price County would also benefit from mining in the Penokee Range, which is 50 miles away, bringing more jobs and collateral business and industry to the entire region.

“We need to have a comprehensive and well-thought out mining legislation to bring jobs to our area. The unemployment rate is too high and we need the opportunity to work where we live,” Nez said.

Nez started his move toward conservative thought as a young man in high school when he was taken under the wing of former State Senator Robert Lorge and local Republican activists Steven and Mary Willet.

“When I began my campaign for supervisor, Robert gave me the typical advice of doing all the doors,” Nez said. “But he added that I should not just tell people what I’m going to do for them. Instead he told me to ask questions and listen.”

He was also propelled to run because of his feeling that young people need to be part of the process and decision effecting them.

“I can’t stand on the sidelines and watch it all head the wrong direction,” he told the local NBC affiliate following his election. “So I decided to step up to the challenge to bring a new point of view, a new angle that’s never been looked at before.”

Nez’s plans for the future focus first on finishing his degree in Business Management, a major that he sees as a better fit for politics than even political science. He looks at government as a business that needs to be managed efficiently and effectively for the owners – taxpayers.

“When your running a county, state or country, I think knowing how to manage the processes is better than knowing the history of the policy,” he said.

And taxpayers are his number one focus. When faced with a county budget that only increased by $5,800 or .07 percent he voted no on principal, to not increase the burden on property and business owners.

Nez believes in taxpayers and their common sense. That is the future of the conservatism in this nation and Wisconsin. Common sense. And may this young man lead us there with his brand of it.

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