His biggest concern is about career politicians who are more focused on maintaining their political careers than serving the residents—and Tewksbury resident is hoping that this is one fact that earns him the Republican nomination for Congress in the June primaries.
Larsen is running to represent the seventh district in Congress, challenging incumbent Rep. Leonard Lance for the Republican nomination.
“I think term limits are good,” he said. “You have to think of what time it would take to make a difference. It’s about serving the people, and if I can’t make a difference, I won’t stay.”
“We need a different mindset and new energy,” he added. “We need a change.”
And for Larsen, he believes he can bring that change through a more improved business understanding that can serve him in working with Congress to better the economy for residents of New Jersey.
Born in Brooklyn and growing up in Staten Island, Larsen studied business management and administration in college before switching to biology. When he was 19 years old, he said, he left college to start his own construction business before purchasing the family business, Larsen Windows and Doors, from his father in the mid 1980s.
Since then, Larsen said, he has moved on to doing residential and commercial real estate in his own business.
“I had purchased a real estate business while I was working with the family business,” he said, adding that the family business has since closed down, but he has been a businessman for about 36 years. “We have commercial leases now, and national chains rent.”
This business experience, Larsen said, makes him uniquely qualified for the position representing the seventh district.
“I noticed that most politicians go from academia to public office,” he said. “But they don’t learn how money is handled.”
“As a business owner, I borrow money and pay interest,” he added. “The government takes from you to give it back to you, but you already had it in the first place. This needs to stop.”
But this is not Larsen’s first foray into the political realm. He previously tried to earn the Republican nomination for Congress in the 2010 primaries, and found he was fighting similar issues.
“The issues have not changed, and they have only gotten worse,” he said.
Larsen said he never initially thought he would run for public office until he saw where things were heading.
“We don’t need career politicians,” he said. “I reviewed how the founding fathers wanted the House of Representatives to be run, and the people are supposed to be their constituents.”
“You come with the heartbeat of the community, and the best way to make a difference is at the federal level,” he added. “The House wasn’t made for career politicians.”
But, Larsen said, he believes the government is out of control, and people are not getting the support they need.
“Politics is local, and the size of the government is so out of control,” he said. “It is run by bureaucrats. But the federal government can’t tell us what to do with our money, we need to get it back to the state.”
“Right now, the government is run by regulators telling us what to do,” he added.
Particularly for business owners, Larsen said, regulations need to be lightened.
“People in Somerset County are business people, and regulations cut to the bone the ability to access funds,” he said. “Money is so tight, and we need to ease up on regulations. The private sector creates jobs.”
“I don’t understand when businesses became the enemy,” he added. “Private businesses provide revenue.”
For Larsen, it is about restoring the American dream.
“We want our children to have it better than we did,” he said. “We need a glimmer of hope, and the administration is not giving any.”
As he moves forward in his campaign, Larsen said, he is prepared to knock on 70,000 doors, and has a full planned-out campaign with fundraisers and other means to get his name out to the seventh district that includes all of Somerset and Hunterdon counties, as well as parts of Warren and Morris counties and Millburn in Essex County.
Larsen said that as he has been talking to people over the past few months, the concerns among residents are fairly focused.
“I have talked to hundreds of people, and the main concern is the economy,” he said. “There are people who have contributed funds before, but don’t have jobs now and their families are hurting. My heart goes out to them because what’s happening is unnecessary.”
And that, Larsen said, is where he can come in, bringing a new perspective to the Congress. He said he has the full support from his family—wife Donna and three daughters.
It’s about doing what is best for the residents, Larsen said, focusing on spending money properly while also reeling in that spending.
“We are going in the wrong direction, and I hold Congress accountable,” he said.