Not only would Preston Nelson be the first Libertarian member of Congress, he would also be the youngest, at only 27 years-old. Despite his so-far short life, Preston would certainly make for one of the most uniquely experienced Representatives in Congress.
Enter Southern Illinois, the most politically disadvantaged place in America and the place that Preston proudly calls "home." He spent his earliest years in Mt. Vernon until his mother moved to Benton, where he graduated high school ranked 7th in class. One of the region's top Physics and Calculus students, his dream was to become a Civil Engineer and move to Africa to build water wells for the people without clean water. Fall of '08, he enrolled in Southern Illinois University's School of Engineering, but that would not last long.
Call it buyer's remorse or maybe an early stroke of fiscal responsibility, but after a month of class, Preston made an executive decision to drop out and move back home. Try as he might, the idea of $100,000 debt, plus interest, was just too much. It was a huge change, even depressing at times, as his identity, for most of his intelligent life, had been wrapped up in becoming an engineer. What he would do, he did not know.
The next semester, Preston enrolled at Rend Lake College in Ina to become an Information Technology Specialist... for FREE. It was a much better option, and in 2011 he graduated with a 4.0 GPA and numerous industry certifications. During much of that time, he was able to work as an IT assistant in the High School where he graduated only years prior, through a co-op with the college. More than an awesome job with an awesome boss, it was a first-hand experience to the way public funds are often practically flushed down the toilets. Preston moved back to the private sector after college, accepting a position in the IT department at Continental Tire NA in Mt. Vernon, the last remaining General Tire tire production factory in the US. Big change, however, was just around the corner.
In 2012, the opportunity came to fulfill his lifelong desire to become a missionary. He quit his job, bought a ticket and moved to Goiania, Brazil to work in a sports-based ministry, teaching Jiu Jitsu and also English to kids in an especially at-risk neighborhood on the city's edge. It was not long before the need for cash sent him searching for extra work. The first English school he visited hired him on the spot, and so began Preston's history as an undocumented worker. About a year in, it was becoming apparent that his role in the mission was not fruitful, so he transferred to teaching almost every day, between two different schools. Then one night, about 8 weeks before his planned return home, he fell a little further down the rabbit hole.
Preston was waiting at a bus stop to head home after a workout. One of the half-dozen people also waiting turned and asked "Você é um modelo?" (Are you a model?) Preston replied, "No," but the asker didn't believe him, and the entire group joined in asking him to admit to being a model. Eventually they gave up and just urged him to visit a modeling agency. He went, and the next thing he knew, his flight home was rebooked and his image spread over billboards all over the city.
Preston was raised a politically-aware conservative. As a 12 year-old kid, he listened to George Bush give every reason imaginable for why we should invade Iraq, and he thought "Go get those wicked people." Looking back, Saddam was a wicked person, but Preston would argue that Bush was not much better, lying to a nation and creating a cascade of events that has left over a million people dead, and millions more hurt and displaced, and trillions of dollars lost.
Ron Paul was just plain loony, Preston thought in 2008, but by 2012 Preston was sold on Dr. Paul's message of peace and prosperity. Preston gave up on the Republican Party in 2012, and on the political process in general, after what was a very frustrating childhood, from a political perspective. Brazil had been a huge relief then. People there are not averagely political, and there are not so many popular political propaganda news networks, as there are in the US, interestingly, because it's the law in Brazil that citizens must vote. While at home in America in 2014, Preston discovered the Libertarian Party. Not only did their message of "Less Government, More Freedom" appeal to Preston, but Ron Paul once campaigned for President as a Libertarian! The party was in the middle of its huge petition drive to get on the election ballot and Preston quickly came to know how difficult it is to participate politically for those truly outside of the "establishment." Not only do Democrats and Republicans pass unfair ballot access laws for "3rd parties" and "independents," but sometimes they even send armed men to harass petitioners! These difficulties imposed by the establishment in order to stifle ballot competition are unfair and un-American. They rob citizens of political options and they keep smaller parties from growing as fast as they could. Learning all this, Preston was triggered like a Bost. In no time at all, he began work in PR with the Libertarian Party of Illinois, hoping to expose people to this reality.
The following years were filled with modeling trips to Brazil and China, but teaching English continued also to be profitable in various places and times. Throughout extended home visits, and even while abroad, Preston continued politically activity with the Libertarian Party, once even serving as Communications Director during a six-month stay in Brazil.
Preston still volunteers for the LP. He has been home in Illinois for two years, since finding what he considers to be the best and most profitable job he's ever had, with a small wireless internet company out of Marion called 4SIWI. Then one late summer day while enjoying his job, Preston suffered a work-related accident and suddenly found himself stuck at home. One day while starring out the window at home, an old idea popped into his head. and he decided there would be no better time to run for office than at that time, from a wheelchair.
Preston has since recovered sufficiently to return to full time work. He is walking and even writing legislation.
Preston Nelson professes to be a follower of Jesus, and he hopes his position in Congress can be for Peace and Love on Earth so that all people are free and able to live abundantly, pursue happiness and even know their God and Creator of the Universe! If we are free to worship (or not to) then generally, we are very free indeed. Libertarian principles, voluntaryism and the non-aggression-principle all agree with Christian values. Furthermore, Preston believes human rights extend to unborn infants and believes that law should protect their individual rights too.
A lifelong church-goer, Preston is a member and regular attender at Central Christian Church in Mt. Vernon. He frequently attends The Loft in Herrin as well, and occasionally at Whittington Baptist with his mother.
In the 1800's and early 1900's, it was not uncommon for young men under 30 to be elected to Congress.
Many Southern Illinoisans speak positively about secession from "Illinois" to form an independent state.
In 2014, Preston helped to found the Southern Illinois Libertarian Party, Southern Illinois' first official chapter of the LP.
Preston's first foreign experience came at age 19 when he qualified to represent the US at 155lbs in the World Armwrestling Federation tournament, in Porto Viro, Italy. He was quickly eliminated after losing his first two matches.
Preston is also fluent in Brazilian Portuguese and has a working knowledge of 4 other languages: French, Spanish, Russian & Mandarin.
Bananas naturally contain tiny amounts of radioactive potassium. Fortunately, it's nowhere near enough to ever harm you.