Combat pilot, 42, entering GOP presidential race, promises American ‘turnaround’

David Stuckenberg will be in Iowa Nov. 12

November 7, 2023 10:23 am

David Stuckenberg, an Air Force combat veteran, is announcing a Republican campaign for president. (Photo courtesy of Stuckenberg’s campaign)

Iowa Writers 'Collaborative. Linking Iowa readers and writers.David Stuckenberg has flown more than a 150 combat missions.

In just days, the 42-year-old Air Force Reserve major  is entering the Republican presidential nominating contest. He brings a blend of old-school conservatism and what he says will be a nimble, youthful approach to government — which he says needs a “turnaround.”

He flew planes fast, and Stuckenberg is confident he can make up ground quickly in a crowded GOP field.

Stuckenberg of Tampa, Florida, is acting director of strategic plans at HQ Texas Air National Guard, Camp Mabry (Austin), Texas, and also the cofounder and first CEO of Genesis Systems, which focuses on water scarcity.

Stuckenberg plans several campaign stops in Iowa within the week. He’s announcing his campaign in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Wednesday. After announcing his candidacy at the historic location, the Stuckenberg for President Iowa campaign will start in Le Mars, Iowa (a city in Plymouth County) with Stuckenberg buying lunch for the first 50 attendees at the Pizza Ranch at 11 Central Ave. S., Le Mars, at noon Sunday.

“We are facing some extraordinary times and we need to unite our nation and prepare, I believe, America’s military for major challenges that we are facing,” Stuckenberg said in an interview. “If we don’t do that in the next four years the prospect of recovery becomes less. I think we need results and not talk.”

Stuckenberg spoke for well over an hour this weekend with The Iowa Mercury.

His priorities are securing the borders of the nation and jump-starting what Stuckenberg says is a challenged economy.

“People are starting to fear tyranny again, and that is not what America is about,” Stuckenberg said. “No one should ever wake up fearful of our government. It’s just not what this is meant and designed to be.”

Stuckenberg is calling for an immediate 33 percent reduction of all income taxes. He also wants to eliminate the inheritance tax.

Stuckenberg is proposing a blended immigration plan, one that shuts down the borders, but accelerates vetting of immigrants.

“Let me just boil it to three words: stop, know and decide,” Stuckenberg said.

Federal troops should be deployed at the southern and northern borders on “day one” of a new administration, Stuckenberg said.

“I can’t think of a mission that any person in the military would be more proud to take part in than the defense of the homeland,” Stuckenberg said. “This is really what this is, this is part of the homeland defense mission that would be handled by the Northern Command.”

The nation must then identify undocumented residents and stop slavery and sex trafficking, he said.

“This is the American thing to do, it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

But many undocumented residents must be deported based on criminal backgrounds and diseases, he said.

“We wouldn’t just let somebody walk into our house, get milk out of our refrigerator, and go sit on our couch,” Stuckenberg said. “That is what is happening.”

Stuckenberg said he voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020. Today, he says Trump is part of a “luxury” class of political leaders. Stuckenberg, who grew up in poverty in Oklahoma, and started selling art door-to-door as a child to help his family, said his story is more relatable.

Stuckenberg is strongly anti-abortion, a position he volunteered is informed by his own mother’s decision to have at least one abortion before he was born. Stuckenberg said he mourns the loss of at least one sibling he never had the chance to know.

He grew up in Oklahoma. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Missouri State in Warrensburg, Missouri, and went on to received a master’s from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and doctorate from King’s College in Cambridge, England.

Stuckenberg and his wife, Shannon, have five children.

This column was originally published by Douglas Burns’ blog, “The Iowa Mercury.” It is shared here through the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative.

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Douglas Burns
Douglas Burns

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa journalist whose family operated the Carroll Times Herald for 93 years. He is the founder and director of development for the non-profit Western Iowa Journalism Foundation. Additionally, Burns founded a marketing and advertising firm, Mercury Boost, which is based in Council Bluffs. He is the business development director for Latino IQ, an Iowa-based organization. Burns, who resides in Carroll, writes for a number of Iowa newspapers with his work also having appeared in The Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Kansas City Star. You can subscribe to his blog, The Iowa Mercury, on Substack.