22 hours ago • Tony Kurtz Candidate, Wisconsin 3rd Congressional District

I’ve lived all around the world during my 20 years in the U.S. Army, including some dangerous places. Returning home to America and the security that living here provides has been a blessing. We have been able to sleep well at night for decades knowing that our homes, communities and country were all secure.

But that security is slipping away. ISIS has grown from a small group of a few hundred militants to a terrorist organization more than 40,000 strong. There are news reports that claim ISIS sympathizers are already in America. Meanwhile, the Ebola virus has reached our shores, and a steady stream of illegal immigrants, many with communicable diseases, continue to enter our country. Yet our borders remain unsecured. Now is the time to secure our border, and I have a plan to do it.

For years, our elected officials have talked about how important securing the border is. But as usual, both political parties have done nothing meaningful. Our current Representative is no exception. During Ron Kind’s 18 years in Washington, the situation on the border has only become worse. I can tell you from experience flying drug-interdiction missions on the U.S./Mexico border that the time for empty words has passed.

A top priority of the next Congress must be border security, and I propose a multi-step approach. Some areas of our border can be secured with fences and surveillance by unmanned aerial vehicles. Other areas are so remote that UAV surveillance alone would be enough with backup from traditional air support.

There are also areas that require fences with constant surveillance and a strong border patrol presence. Unfortunately, our border patrol is stretched thin and does not have the proper manpower or equipment to do the job. They do great work, but we, as a nation, must help. I propose we begin utilizing our Army National Guard to help secure our most vulnerable areas.

Today, we pay Guard units to conduct two weeks of annual training at various locations around the country and the world. Guard units can be used to fulfill a valuable real-world mission by securing our borders as part of this annual training. Some southern states have started similar programs utilizing their own National Guard forces, and I believe we need to turn this into a national effort.

Our Guard forces are the best in the world; I have worked with them and trained with them. They would excel in this mission with little or no added cost to taxpayers. But to actually help our border patrol agents and secure our borders, we first must change the main obstacle to border security – our Congress.

We need leadership in Congress. Our security is too important to entrust to people who value photo ops over results.

Tony Kurtz is a farmer, small-business owner and 20-year-veteran Army aviator from Prairie du Chien. Kurtz is a Republican running for Congress in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District.