President’s son speaks in Minden |

President’s son speaks in Minden

by Susie Vasquez

Southern Nevada resident Jack Carter, the son of President Jimmy Carter, is running for the Senate. To date, he is the only Democrat to challenge Republican incumbent John Ensign and it will be a fight, but the Carters are used to bucking the odds.

“When my dad was campaigning in Georgia for the first time in 1962, we distributed a lot of pamphlets,” Jack Carter said. “But when I traveled to small towns for my dad, people were still saying ‘Jimmy who’?”

The apple may be different, but it didn’t fall very far from the tree, as Jack Carter told the Douglas County Democratic Women Thursday.

He readily admitted that Ensign has “locked up the Strip,” but still feels this is a fight he can win. A Nevada resident for three years, Carter is getting first-hand experience in Nevada’s rural counties and small towns, similar to Plains, Ga., where he grew up.

“I recognize who my people are,” Carter said. “I don’t intend to run twice. I’m going to win this one.”

The impetus for the decision to run was inspired by his “allergic reaction to the Bush administration policies,” including the national response to Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq and the decision to cut taxes despite those challenges, Carter said.

“Bush said the damage from Hurricane Katrina would cost $200 billion to fix. Then he said the Federal government would pay for it,” Carter said. “He never said where the money was coming from.”

Ensign has faithfully followed the Bush’s lead, voting for administration policies every time, Carter said.

“Ensign is not an independent voice, but I will be,” Carter said. “I’m 58 years old and I know who I am. If I understand who my people are, that’s where the wisdom is.

“I could let the Republicans shoot themselves in the foot, but I prefer a more proactive stance,” Carter said.

After growing up in Plains, Ga., Carter attended Georgia Institute of Technology for two years. He put his college degree on hold to join the Navy, where he trained as an electronics technician and was assigned to an auxiliary rescue salvage ship, which served in Vietnam.

After admitting to the use of both marijuana and the drug, LSD, in Vietnam, Carter returned home to complete a degree in physics. He entered the University of Georgia School of Law in 1972 and three years later, entered the Georgia Bar Association.

That year marked the official beginning of his father’s run for the presidency and Jack Carter campaigned for his dad, staying in private homes along the way. He was struck by how informed, intelligent and idealistic the people were.

It was rare to find anyone who wanted anything other than honesty and good government, Carter said.

“I thought the American people moved with the tides,” he said. “But these people were interested in politics and they knew what was going on.”

An interest in futures markets led Carter to the Chicago Board of Trade, then to the currency markets with Citibank and finally, his own investment company.

Carter has been married to Elizabeth Sawyer since 1992 and together, they have four children. John is a director in Los Angeles, Ca., Jason is a lawyer in Atlanta, Ga., Sarah E. is a painter in New York City and Sarah R. is studying for her doctorate in neuroscience in San Francisco, Ca.

Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 211.