An interview with Regner Capener: Congressional candidate for congress
Mr. Regner Capener is running for Congress in the Twenty-fifth Congressional district in Texas. One of the first things I noticed when checking Mr. Capener’s web page, www.CapenerForCongress.com was his statement, “I am the conservative candidate for Congress…” Needless, to say I appreciate a candidate who lists his political philosophy before his party.
Q: Mr. Capener, people will want to know you better as you run for Congress. Tell the readers a bit about yourself. Not about your career.
A: I’m the husband of the most incredible wife in the world, Della Denise Capener, and the father of eight children, two of whom are adopted Eskimos. My wife and I have 21 grandchildren — and two of our youngest kids aren’t even married, yet. Apart from the fact I’ve been in the ministry for most of my life, I am a songwriter and co-composer (with my wife) of well over 100 scripture songs, many of which are sung in churches all over the world, along with an assortment of hymns and ballads. I write and distribute a newsletter to Christians around the world and have a couple of books in the works. I’ve been a musician since before I can remember. My parents started me on the piano when I was four years of age, and in the years since, I have learned to play more than 30 different instruments. My focus, musically, is the classical guitar, which I have played for more than 50 years. When I have spare time — which is increasingly scarce — I enjoy studying history. There are two primary areas of history that interest me the most: Biblical history (and archaeology) and early American history. I read a lot and because of my engineering background, tend to devour journals and periodicals that deal with the latest in electronics engineering technology.
Q: Eight children, including two adopted? That’s wonderful. I have two and wonder if I could get anything extra accomplished with eight. It’s obvious you have a well organized life. Please tell me a bit about your newsletter and how Christians readers could learn more about it or subscribe?
A: Well organized life? How about well-organized chaos? Sometimes I’m spread so thin I don’t know where I’m at. Anyway, the newsletter is titled, “OPEN LETTERS TO THE EKKLESIA” and is published somewhat sporadically — usually two or three times a year. The letter comes out of a lifetime of having walked with the Lord Jesus Christ and more experiences than I could possibly chronicle. The Lord began to reveal Himself to me when I was very young, and I have memories going back to age two. With the possible exception of the miracle of turning water into wine, there is no recorded miracle in Scripture I have not personally experienced or been a part of in one way or another. I have friends, however, who have experienced that miracle. That said, I have come to realize the overwhelming majority of Christians are walking far below the life that is available to them in Christ Jesus: a life that He offers to all — not just a special few. The purpose of the newsletter is to address areas of need within the Body of Christ and to deal with false traditions that keep Christians from the naturally supernatural life available to them. The letter has become a source of irritation to some readers and created controversy among others, but my purpose is to encourage, to draw, to incite Christians to dare to believe God. The controversy arises over my challenges to long-held doctrines that inspire fear rather than faith. The letters tend to be long — almost mini-books nearing 35 – 40 pages — but I try to address each issue carefully.
Subscribing to the newsletter is easy. They can send an email to [email protected] providing me with a mailing address and phone number, or the y can drop a note in the mail to:
RR-15, Box 6180
Mission, Texas 78574-9589.
I have never charged a dime for these newsletters, or for any tapes or CD’s we send out. Those who would like to contribute may do so -and their contributions will be gratefully accepted — but I don’t make pleas for money.
Q: What are the books you’re working on?
A: There are three, actually. The first was self-published about 12 years ago, titled, “EKKLESIA: The Preparation of the Bride,” and was more than 400 pages. It provides a Scriptural and historical look at the process and processes used by the Lord Jesus Christ throughout history to draw a people to Himself. The word, Ekklesia, is a Greek word used throughout the New Testament and generally (mis-)translated as “church.” Septuagint translators coined the word approximately 300 years before the birth of Christ to closely parallel a Hebrew word used in the Old Testament, “ya.ad,” and its derivative, “mowadah.” The Hebrew word actually means, “the calling of the betrothed by the bridegroom,” and identifies a process of preparation. The book has undergone numerous revisions, updates and additions and I’m looking to re-publish the book in the near future as two or perhaps three separate volumes.
The second book, “A TALE OF TWO BRIDES,” is mostly complete, and has already been distributed in two parts — minus some later additions — as two rather lengthy Open Letters. A Christian book publisher got a copy of the Open Letters and has asked for the right to publish it intact as a single book.
The third book is a work in progress — about 60 – 70% complete — titled, “THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB.” This book is the product of an incredible experience I had a few years ago in which the Lord gave me a vision of His unfolding plan for His Bride (those people who enter into an intimate relationship with Him) and the event recorded in the Book of Revelation described as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The book is written first-person as a participant or one actually present to view the unfolding events. Because of other constraints at the moment, like running for Congress, my writing is somewhat on hold to be resumed whenever it becomes possible to do so.
Q: There are many facets to your life that interest me. I’d love to hear you play classical guitar sometime, but right now I better ask about your historical and archaeological interests. I, too, have a love of these subjects and believe linguistic studies are going to expand our horizons in the near future. Are there any authors on the subjects you might want to recommend or any Middle East sites or current work you’re paying particular attention to?
A: More than 20 years ago, while researching the history of the seven nations that occupied Canaan (these were the nations whom God ordered Moses and the children of Israel to annihilate), I discovered a direct parallel between the character and makeup of these peoples to each of the seven letters described in the first chapters of the book of Revelation. It has provoked ongoing studies and research that continues to this day. Several historians and archaeologists have written extensively of their findings over the past two centuries.
Dr. Alexander Hislop and his wife put together a historical work titled, “TWO BABYLONS,” which I have found fascinating and helpful in this research.
Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson put together a masterful six-volume history with archaeological footnotes titled, “THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS.” Though the book is out of print, it is available in some libraries, and is an authoritative text for anyone wanting to do research on the history of the region.
Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, the English archaeologist, published several works in the 1850’s and -60’s, one of which, “A HISTORY OF ASSYRIA,” became a major reference for other archaeologists. Rawlinson (not to be confused with the military officer from WW-I of the same name) discovered a link between the heathen god, Baal (who appears numerous times in the Old Testament), and the god, Allah, worshiped by Islam. Rawlinson’s studies and findings are of particular importance considering the rise of Islam today, and explain why there is such enmity between Islam and Christianity, and Islam and Judaism. Sir Henry Rawlinson’s works make clear the fact that the battle is not cultural, but spiritual — that this is a four-to-five-millennia old battle between a demon, Baal, and God.
Q: Thanks; now I’d like to know about your career. I see you’re listed in “Marquis Who’s Who Publications” and have an extensive and impressive personal biography. How did you start your career and exactly what do you do?
A: Growing up in Eskimo communities and villages generally kept me away from the traditional activities in which kids in “normal America” get involved. When I was six or seven years old, I began taking radios, tape recorders, record players, amplifiers, etc., apart to see what made them tick. My folks saw to it that I had plenty of access to all the books I wanted to read, and I began laying my hands on every book on physics and math and electronic theory available. By the time I was a teenager, I was experimenting and building small radio stations in the arctic villages. I blessed (or cursed, depending on whose view you took) those poor communities with my “wonderful” skills as a broadcaster. Money was scarce, so I built everything from scratch. It was a hobby that got out of hand. Somehow, I never let go of it, and it grew into a career in broadcasting. In the years since, in front of the microphone or camera, I have been a Los Angeles-based late-night talk show host on Christian radio (I’m told I was one of the very first Christian radio talk show hosts in the country), the voice for more radio and TV commercials than I can count, a guest on many television programs, (as well as an area director for the 700 Club television show) and the host of several radio programs. Behind the scenes, I have engineered and built numerous radio and television stations. In the early 1960’s, I broke away from radio and television for a short span to work for NASA, doing research and development in the early part of our nation’s space program. The opportunity came along, and I was blessed to be able to participate in the research and preparation for our very first manned space shots, including those of John Glenn, Gordon Cooper, and others.
Broadcasting, however, has been my hobby, my avocation… the thing I seem to do in my sleep. My vocation has always been the ministry of the Gospel. It, likewise, began in my youth. There were many, many experiences with the Lord Jesus Christ that began as far back as when I was two years of age, and I still have memories of being in the crib as a two-year old and seeing angel’s wings over my crib. By the time I was nine years of age, there was a very clear “call” in my being from the Lord, and there was never any question that I was called to preach the Gospel. By the time I was 16 years old, I was preaching from the pulpit; and in my early twenties, began working as a youth pastor. Although I attended Bible College and Seminary, I was already active in ministry prior to attending, and was ordained as a pastor when I was 28 years old. Because of the nature of the call in my life, the ministry I have been involved in has almost always been of a pioneering nature; and in the nearly 46 years that have passed since I began public ministry, roughly 25 of those years have been in pastoral work.
Q: Believe it or not I’m a sourdough, having spent part of my boyhood in Alaska from 1954-1956, ages nine to eleven. I can’t think of many better places to be a boy, so while not living in as remote an area as you, I understand a bit about your early life. Can you speak Eskimo or any Indian languages?
A: When I was growing up, I spoke a mix of Inupiat (the dialect of the arctic), Finnish (my mother’s family came from Finland, and she would speak Finnish just to keep her usage active), and English. My Eskimo friends taught me a lot of Inupiat, and my father was studying it so he could preach in Inupiat. I was reasonably conversant in the language until I left home for the Army. I have rarely used the language in the years since, and although I probably could pick it up easily again, I’m not conversant at all today.
Q: I hate to press you for too much of your time, but your life experience is truly fantastic. Once in Alaska we heard a rumor about a rogue grizzly a few miles from our area. About a dozen of us, all around age ten, went searching for it. Thinking back, we were so foolish I have to laugh and we were and lucky we didn’t run across the fellow or that our parents never got wind of our adventure. My guess is our explorations and adventures living on the edge of Anchorage had to pale compared to your far-north experiences. I’ d love to hear a couple of your boyhood memories. I think the parental statue of limitations has expired so there shouldn’t be any spankings, just that reflection of how foolish kids can be.
A: A friend went polar bear hunting with me one day, about four or five miles out from Barrow on the arctic ice. We came across what appeared to be fairly fresh tracks and began following them. The tracks eventually led us in a circle back to where we’d started, and we suddenly realized we were the ones being tracked by the bear. We beat a hasty retreat back to our dog sled (I raised a couple of dog teams that I used mostly for heavy work), which was a couple hundred yards away. The dogs were barking furiously, so we knew the bear was close. Our bravado vanished when we saw the bear at a distance and realized that it was huge — likely 12-feet or larger — and we quickly headed back to town.
Another event happened one day when I had the team out on the sea ice. I was looking for glacial icebergs that were drifting in the arctic sea ice. The object was to find fresh water ice I could chop into blocks and haul home for drinking water. Even though the icebergs were floating in the ocean ice, they retained their freshness because of their origins in calving glaciers to the far south. Caught in the oceanic currents, they would make their way through the Bering Straits into the Arctic Ocean, and eventually drift through the Northwest Passage into the Atlantic. They were wonderful sources of fresh drinking water. On this particular day I had climbed a very large berg and was working at the top, chopping blocks and lowering them some 30 feet so they would be easily loaded on the dog sled. I heard what sounded like hundreds of cannons going off, and scrambled back down because I knew the sound was the noise that occurs when an ice floe breaks free of the shore-bound ice. I left the ice blocks lying there, hollered at the dogs, and made a beeline for the coast. We had just enough time to cross a small gap (perhaps 12 to 18 inches wide) of open water between the land-locked ice and the moving floe before the ice pack began to separate completely from the shore. It was a close call. Had I not moved instantly, I could have been carried out to sea on the floating ice with no way to let anyone know I was there. Two-way radios were non-existent in those days.
There was an incident that happened in Nome when I was perhaps six or seven years old. We had a major blizzard that brought in so much snow that it drifted over the top of our church building and parsonage, which was attached to the rear of the church. My mother had warned me not to try to climb up on top of the house, so — of course — that was an immediate invitation to do just that. As I started up the drift, the snow was fairly well packed, but close to the roof line, it was a fine powder. Naturally, I fell through the snow crust and was enveloped completely in the drift. Yelling did no good. The sound was drowned out by the howling wind. I realized that if I didn’t get out of the drift, all evidence of my being there would vanish within minutes, and no one would know where I was. I started slowly moving my hands to open a hole in front of me. It took nearly an hour to work my way through what was almost three feet of snow in front and on top of me, and create a hole large enough that I could wiggle through to roll back down the snow bank. By the time I got back into the house, I looked like an icicle. I never told my mother what had happened lest I might get a spanking.
Q: I could listen to arctic stories all day, but we better get back on target. You were definitely at NASA at an important time. What exactly did you do there?
A: I started initially just doing the umbilical cables that connected the rocket boosters to the command center. About 90 days into my job, I overheard a supervisor from the R&D center in Palo Alto talking to my supervisor (I was working in Sunnyside at the time) about the failure of a computer used in the Stanford Linear Accelerator. As I listened to the conversation, I realized that the problems were tape-based. Since I had worked on just about every conceivable kind of tape deck of the day, I marched up to the supervisor’s desk and brashly said, “The problem you are having is with the tape head assembly. There isn’t a tape deck made that I can’t repair!”
Wheww! Talk about sticking my neck out! The supervisor looked at me and said, “OK, young man. I’m going to make you put up or shut up.”
My supervisor agreed, and the Palo Alto R&D Director led me to a waiting car where he transported me to their research center. He led me to the control center, pointed at the suspect machines, and told me to “have at it.”
I asked him if he had any schematics or prints on the tape deck, and he said he would check on it. While he was gone, I opened up the machine, and immediately found the problem in a set of frayed cables leading from the tape head assembly. It took me about 15 minutes to repair and close the deck back up. When the supervisor returned, he found me sitting on the floor with my chin in my hands. He began to laugh. “Ahh… Hahh! Gave up already, I see. I knew it couldn’t be that simple!”
I told him the machine was done, and that he could put it through its paces. He loaded a tape (this was a 14″ Reel-to-Reel Ampex machine converted for use as a computer tape-transport) and started running commands. When he realized the machine was working properly, he couldn’t find enough words to compliment me. I was transferred the next day into research and development. During the next two to three years, I worked on the Command Programmer for the Agena Rocket, data recorders for the Mercury Space Capsule, data recorders for the Polaris missile, transmitters designed to send telemetry and data to the moon and back, detection and measuring devices for the Mariner Space Probes that went to Venus and Mars, along with many sub-assemblies and modules whose ultimate purpose was kept from me. One of the more fascinating projects we worked on was the development of a laser weapon that could knock a missile out of the sky. Many of our experiments failed, but we celebrated the day when we knocked a missile out some 20 miles distant from our test site. It was the beginning of “Star Wars” — some 20-plus years before Ronald Reagan suggested the Strategic Defense Initiative. Following Kennedy’s assassination and Johnson’s rise to the Presidency, the Viet Nam war became the focus of attention instead of NASA. Our labs began to be shut down and programs phased out. Rather than return to an assembly line making umbilical cables I resigned.
Q: What are the five most dangerous or humorous experiences you’ve had while working?
A: One event happened while helping my father build churches along the arctic coast when I was fifteen years old. We were building the church at Barrow, Alaska (it’s the farthest north inhabited place in North America), and my brother and I chose to sleep outdoors in a tent until enough construction was complete that we had bedrooms. We used a Coleman kerosene stove for heat and cooking. One night as we went to bed, I leaned over to turn the stove off. The valve broke and kerosene spilled out, exploding into flames that suddenly engulfed me. My brother leaped up, grabbed an old rug we had put on the ground, and threw it over me to put out the fire. The flames were extinguished almost instantly, and except for some burned jeans and the shirt I had on, I suffered no injury. We didn’t bother to tell our folks what had happened for some time thereafter.
In 1976, I left my pastoral work at Long Beach (California) Christian Center to return to Alaska to establish operations for the Christian Broadcasting Network. A friend at CBN in Virginia Beach, Scott Hessek, had asked me if I would take Christian television to Alaska, but said CBN couldn’t provide any funds for the startup. My father offered to help me do some fox trapping under the premise we could raise some “seed money” this way. We trapped arctic blue foxes on Saint Paul Island (in the Pribilofs) during the winter of 1976-1977, often in the middle of blizzard conditions. One day while on the trap line, we got caught in white-out conditions. The sky was white, the ground was white, and snow was blowing so hard we lost all visual reference. I became separated from my father and neither of us knew the location of the other. Calling out was a joke because the howling wind canceled out the most vociferous yells. Walking in any direction was extremely hazardous because of the loss of any directional reference. I knew I was perhaps 50 to 100 feet from some cliffs, and that in the white-out, I could easily miss my footing and plunge 75 to 100 feet to my death on waiting rocks below the cliff. I simply stood still and prayed. After just a few minutes, a momentary break gave me a split-second view of deep tracks in the snow leading back to our snow machine, and I began the arduous trek wading through knee-deep snow back in what I hoped was the right direction. It was. It took about a half-hour, but I found the snow machine and stayed put until my father likewise made his way back. The trapping season was a success. We took 208 arctic blue foxes, which we sold at the Seattle Fur Exchange. It netted just over $10,000 in startup money for CBN’s operations in Alaska.
During the seven years I worked with the Christian Broadcasting Network, I was establishing a base of operations — once again, at Barrow, Alaska, where I had lived during some of my teenage years. We began a small church fellowship in Barrow that I pastored, separate and apart from the church I had helped my father build many years before. A few of the local religious extremists took exception to my pastoring a church fellowship that was not part of my father’s church denomination and began sending threatening letters. One letter read, “Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Go straight to hell.” I posted that letter on my bulletin board for everyone to see. We laughed about it for a long time thereafter.
Not so funny, however, were the threatening phone calls that began to follow. Periodically, I picked up the phone when it rang only to hear a muffled voice on the other end say, “The next time you step out the door, you’re going to get a bullet through the face.” I guess my protagonists finally decided to put action to their words. Some months went by with this kind of activity as an almost daily affair. One day I was driving down the street in a van I had purchased for the church when a shot rang out, and a bullet penetrated the van perhaps 12 inches from where I was sitting. I ignored it and kept on driving. A couple of weeks — perhaps a month — later, I was standing in a construction shack on a piece of property where we were getting ready to build a new church, talking to one of the elders in our fellowship. We had been looking at some drawings and almost involuntarily drew back from each other while talking. In that instant, the window we had been standing in front of suddenly exploded and glass flew between us as a bullet passed within inches of our faces. I ran outside to see a man standing on the road perhaps three hundred yards away with a rifle. I started running towards him and he panicked, taking off towards a waiting vehicle. It was the last time anyone tried to shoot me. When I worked as the Chief Engineer for the Fox television station in Anchorage, I received a 2:00 AM phone call saying that the station was off the air. After getting to the transmitter site, and opening the back of the transmitter which was still powered up, I began looking for a failed component. Without thinking, I reached into the back to move some wires out of the way and touched a live 6600 volt source. I woke up 15 minutes later about 30 feet away, having been propelled across the room against the concrete wall. I said to myself, “Oops! Dummy! Guess I should kill the power first!” It’s one of the hazards of the trade. It wasn’t the first time something like that had happened, and it wasn’t the last. I picked myself up, shut down the transmitter, replaced the burned component, fired it back up, re-tuned the transmitter and went home and back to bed.
Q: Those are some hairy experiences. From your answers I can see PETA will be a deadly political foe, but I’m surprised such extreme acts would occur in the Christian community. One of my pet peeves is that various Christian and even non-Christian denominations spend so much time fighting each other, thankfully it’s usually verbal, that they ignore those trying to destroy all religion. Do you have any idea what would have been behind such hostility and how does someone become that extreme?
A: Traditions die hard in native cultures. If one is perceived to depart from the way of their fathers, they are regarded as heretics. I had grown up helping my father build churches under the auspices of the Assemblies of God. When I returned to Barrow years later to establish and pastor a church that was not a part of my father’s organization, I violated a native taboo. Despite the fact these same people had professed to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, their native traditions still had a very strong hold. These northern communities held my father in high esteem and my departure from the Assemblies was regarded as almost treasonous. The local Assembly of God pastor had labored with difficulty under the constant comparison to my father, and he perceived my return to Barrow as a threat to his ministry and his standing in the community. It only took a few words and suggestions from him to begin a firestorm of persecution against me. Whether he felt personally convicted over the consequences of his actions or not, he left Barrow in the midst of the controversy to be replaced by another pastor. He not only departed Barrow, but — to the best of my knowledge — he also departed from pastoral ministry.
Q: Let’s turn to the rough world of politics. Ether Zone is read by a broad array of people interested in national politics, but many aren’t Texans and aren’t familiar with internal Texas developments. If you would, please tell us the boundaries of the Twenty-fifth district, its demographics and if the recent redistricting impacted your district.
A: I live in south Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. My home is in Mission. This area used to be a part of Congressional District 28. Redistricting changed everything for the valley. My home is now in the new Congressional District 25, which takes in about 80% of McAllen, all of Mission and the area into Starr County including Sullivan City, then works its way north in what a local radio talk show host refers to as a “300-mile bacon strip” one county wide. The upper end of the district includes about 35% of the city of Austin. The old district 28 comprised about 60% Democrats and 40% Republicans — that is to say, those who were registered to vote. The voting reality was closer to 55/45. The new district is now approximately 70% Democratic and 30% Republican in terms of registered voters. The anticipated actual voter spread is perhaps 60/40 or 58/42 in reference to those people who actually vote. Statistically, the district is approximately 79% Hispanic. That compares to the previous 73% when it was district 28.
Q: I’m familiar with that section of Texas. In fact, I normally cross into Mexico at either Brownsville or Eagle Pass. As I know many Mexican-Americans, I’ve never bought into the media spin they are automatically Democrat voters. Saying that, I also know the Democrat party and the dominate media are trying to polarize the Mexican-American community and make that population another part of the Democrat constituency. Given those facts, how do you plan to reach the Mexican-American voter now being bombarded with anti-Republican messages?
A: I have approached this campaign from the standpoint that the issues south Texas voters face are not Republican or Democrat issues: they are “people issues.” One of the things I am hearing continuously as I campaign is, “You mean we actually have a choice of a Republican?” The reason behind the question is quite clear. Republican leaders have previously abdicated this region because of the statistical edge in registered Democrats. Nevertheless, because of the high percentage (87%) of Hispanic residents, and the fact that the region is dominated by people who consider themselves Roman Catholic, the overwhelming majority of voters in this district support mainstream American values. For the most part, they espouse gun-toting, anti-abortion, economically conservative issues. The secret in winning this District as a conservative Republican lies in being able to communicate the fact that, although not Hispanic, I really am one of them. Thus far, I would say that I have been mostly successful in that effort.
Q: That’s certainly good news. At the present moment how many candidates are vying for this seat from each party?
A: Two Republicans have filed: Besides me, there was a last-minute filer, Becky Klein. Becky Klein, or should I say, Rebecca Armendariz Klein — as she now refers to herself — is the former commissioner of the Texas Public Utilities commission.
Two Democrats have filed: Lloyd Doggett, an incumbent Democrat from another district no longer in existence who is seeking election in the newly created CD-25; and Leticia Hinojosa, a local judge who just stepped down in order to run against Lloyd Doggett at the request of the local Democratic Party.
Q: Are you familiar with any of those candidates?
A: I’m quite familiar with Lloyd Doggett, and his record is readily available for review. I know less about Leticia Hinojosa because she has not had the same kind of public profile as a district judge; and until Becky Klein filed Friday, January 16th, I’d only heard her name once or twice in the past few years. I have asked my campaign staff to do research on these two ladies.
Q: I’m guessing you’re considered a newcomer to political races. Is your local Republican organization open and welcoming to all candidates, or are you finding some resistance to yourself and other people who didn’t come up through the established political ranks?
A: I’m a newcomer as a candidate, but quite familiar with politics, having campaigned for such worthies as U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, and (Alaska) Congressman Don Young. I’ve only in the past year begun to get involved in the local party, but the support has been wonderful. Most of the local Republican Party regulars have become good friends, and there is a solid base of support in Hidalgo County.
Q: What are some of the things you’re doing to overcome big money and special interest candidates? I’m always fascinated with the novel ways many non-traditional candidates raise money and get their message out.
A: It was quite clear from the beginning I was going to have to take a different approach, and I have taken advantage of my many years in the ministry by visiting churches and pastors throughout the district, acquainting them with who I am and where I stand on the issues. Several of the pastors have pointed me to and/or set up meetings with influential businesspeople in their churches. Those business leaders have responded in kind, and in relatively short order, a good campaign organization has come together. Being in the churches puts me among the core voters who are most likely to turn out and vote. In some cases, my reputation in the church world has preceded me, almost providing me with instant favor.
Q: Do you feel you’re having any success getting your message out at this early stage?
A: Getting the message out to the party faithful has been easy. Getting it out to the communities at large is requiring a lot of leg work, but it seems to be paying dividends. Churches have opened their doors to me so that I have been able to meet with a large cross-section of people.
Q: Most Republicans and unconnected candidates face an unfair playing field concerning much of the media. I’m wondering if this is true in the Twenty-fifth district and if so, how you plan to combat slanted coverage?
A: Coverage to begin with was pretty sparse. An errant phone call last week purporting to come from the White House and asking me to step aside in this race in favor of Becky Klein changed the dynamics completely. Coverage in the media has suddenly become a daily event with an almost sympathetic — and certainly much more positive — view of me and my candidacy, despite the heavy Democratic influence in the district. Interviews and discussions on talk radio have given me a visibility and viability that no amount of money could have purchased.
Q: I’m guessing many of your co-workers are supporting you, but have you had any indication other groups might be considering throwing their support your way?
A: Several organizations have indicated a likelihood of giving me their support: Texas Right to Life, the NRA, the Republican Liberty Caucus, just to name a few.
Q: I’ve noticed many new candidates for national political office, no matter their political philosophy, are often good people with purposes that are often worth debate and consideration. Of your opponents you’ve met, are there any you particularly like or dislike?
A: My Republican opponent, Becky Klein, seems to be a very likeable person, and is likely to share many of the same views I hold. Debate with her will be an interesting event. Lloyd Doggett is about as far to the other end of the political spectrum as one can get from me. As far as I can tell, there is extremely little that we would agree on. It will make debate a whole lot easier, despite the fact that he has the power of incumbency and years of experience in Congress. There will be no middle ground in our debates. The choices will be clear for anyone to see.
Q: Let’s get off of politics a moment and find out about the man Regner Capener. What are your five favorite books?
(1) The Bible,
(2) The Divine Romance (Gene Edwards),
(3) There Were Two Trees in the Garden (Rick Joyner),
(4) The Federalist Papers (Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison),
(5) The Second World War (Winston Churchill).
Q: Historically, who would you list as the five greatest individuals who ever lived?
(1) THE GREATEST was and is Jesus Christ;
(4) George Washington,
(5) my father, Alvin E. Capener
Q: I was lucky and had a great father too. You’ve alluded to your dad several times. Tell me a bit about Reverend Alvin E. Capener?
A: Dad grew up on farms in North Dakota and Minnesota. As a six-year old, he died of double pneumonia. His mother went into her bedroom, closed the door, and stayed on her knees crying out to the Lord to restore his life. She said, “Lord, if you’ll raise my son back to life, I’ll give him to you for the ministry.” After two or three hours had passed, she felt the Lord had heard and answered. She got up from her knees, went out to the barn where they had laid her son’s body on a pile of hay. The color was returning to his face, and within hours he was up and running around like any normal six-year old. It had a lasting impact on his life. At the age of nine he heard the Lord calling him to the ministry, and at age nineteen again heard the audible voice of God calling him to Alaska. Experiences in the next few years confirmed that call in his life and solidified his commitment to follow the direction of the Lord regardless of the cost, and regardless of opposition. Following graduation from Central Bible Institute in Springfield, Missouri in 1939, he moved to Ilwaco, Washington (it took him closer to Alaska), a fishing community on the mouth of the Columbia River, where he built and pioneered a church. During that period, he met and married my mother, and in the three years thereafter, my brother and I came along.
In the spring of 1944, he felt the time had come to go to Alaska. Without necessary funds to accomplish this, he decided to do what any Midwest farm boy would do…go fishing! With the loan of a small fishing boat, he set out to fish for salmon in the coastal waters off Washington, Oregon and northern California. There was just one problem. The Japanese current moved off course that year, pushing the salmon father to the north and bringing Albacore tuna instead. There were no funds to buy tuna fishing gear, so he just dropped a few lines over the side of his boat with whatever bait he could find.
Dad was determined to leave Ilwaco with the church he had built debt-free. He had built the church with his own two hands, but still owed about $1,000 on the materials. His hope was that the Lord would somehow supply a miracle and give him enough fish to pay off that debt. Where the estimated need of $5,000 would come from to go to Alaska was another matter, but that was up to God.
Obviously, the Lord decided to have a little fun with Dad. He started catching so many tuna his boat wouldn’t hold them. The owner of a cannery in Raymond, Washington decided to have mercy on him and gave him a larger boat. The same thing happened again. By now, the story of this “landlubber, preacher, fisherman” was spreading in the fishing communities. The AP got hold of the story and soon headlines blared, “Landlubber, Preacher Out fishes the Professionals.” The press continued to cover the story throughout the seven-week fishing season, and when the season ended, the headlines read, “Landlubber, Preacher, Fisherman Sets World Record!”
He had, too. In seven weeks, he caught 39,000 lbs. of Albacore tuna..by hand, one at a time! It was a feat never equaled before, nor since. The Lord may have played a funny on him, but He also provided another miracle. Turns out that the port of Ilwaco had never been known for tuna, anyway. No one could ever remember the Japanese current having swung off course like that before. What everyone regarded as a fluke was really the Lord moving the current in order to bring in tuna, which brought a much higher price than salmon. Now, here’s the best part: when Dad went to pick up the check from the cannery for all the fish delivered, they give him a check for $6,300. There was the $1,000 he had asked the Lord for to pay off the church debt, $5,000 to build a church in Nome, Alaska, and $300 for moving expenses. We moved to Alaska that October of 1944.
During the next 41 years, Dad built seven different churches (and went back twice to enlarge two of them) in Eskimo and Aleut communities throughout the arctic. In that same period he twice (with a Swedish evangelist, Howard Andersen) took a 16-foot open fiberglass boat and traveled along the arctic coast in ice-laden waters, occasionally braving chilling storms and high winds, to stop in every Eskimo community and summer campsite from Kotzebue to Barter Island on the Canadian border. At each stop, he would set up a 50-foot tent, get out his guitar and his Bible, Howard would get his banjo, and they would sing gospel songs and preach the message of Jesus Christ to all who would listen.
Over the years, multiplied thousands of natives and non-natives came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Leaders from many nations around the world came to visit him, and he ministered to them just as he ministered to everyone. The miracles that took place during his life and ministry would fill several books. He preached his last message at Saint Paul Island, Alaska just weeks before he died. At a packed funeral during Easter week of 1986, people came not only from villages and communities in the arctic, but from foreign countries scattered around the globe to honor and pay their last respects to a man whose life exemplified faith in shoe leather. Never a great orator, he preached with his life, and the message he delivered paid everlasting dividends.
Dad always used to say to me, “Son, get the word, ‘impossible,’ out of your vocabulary. There is no such thing when you obey the Lord.” Dad was never rich, but he never lacked. When he died, he didn’t leave much of an earthly inheritance, but the value of the spiritual inheritance he passed on is without measure.
Q: What event or issue first got you interested in politics?
A: In 1949, following Harry Truman’s taking of the oath of office again as President, my father vented his frustration over Truman’s policies. I said, “Dad, why don’t you run for President?” He said, “Son, the Lord called me to be a preacher right here in Nome, Alaska. I can’t do or be anything that the Lord hasn’t called me to do or be. Now, Son, if the Lord calls you some day to run for office, you listen to Him and pay attention. You do whatever the Lord says to you.” It planted a seed inside me that never left. Twenty-five years later, the Republican Party of Alaska approached me about running for Congress. At the time, I was busy in ministry and felt that the timing was all wrong. I thanked them, but declined. From that point forward, I always felt the day would come when I would run for office.
Q: What issue or event made you decide to become a Congressional candidate?
A: From the time the offer was made to me in Alaska, I guess I never considered running for any other office. Running for Congress was pretty well fixed. Five or six months ago, I awakened early one morning with a plan to run laid out before me like a roadmap. I shared it with my wife and a few friends, who encouraged me to begin laying the foundations. Apart from my wife, Della, who has encouraged me to run for office for the last 20 years, I’d have to “blame” Tony Smith (who lives in Duncanville, Texas) and Bill Edwards (who lives in Houston) for their inspiration and encouragement.
Q: What are the five main things you plan to accomplish as a Congressman?
(1) The water rights issue has been talked about and beaten to death, but no one stays on top of it to bring it to a resolution. Mexico has withheld (during the past ten years) and owes the U.S. some 2 million acre feet of water under a 1948 water treaty the farmers in the Rio Grande Valley need for irrigation. Many farmers have lost their farms because they didn’t receive their water. I intend to stay on top of this issue like a dripping faucet that won’t stop until it is fixed.
(2) In the past three years, two manufacturers (Levi’s and Fruit of the Loom) have shuttered their plants in the valley, taking several thousand manufacturing jobs out of the country. The valley is an ideal climate for manufacturing, providing a wealth of skilled workers. My intention is to work with some U.S. and foreign manufacturers — particularly companies with whom I have had a previous relationship — to bring new manufacturing to the valley.
(3) NASA has taken an interest in the possibility of a future spaceport in this area. As someone who has a keen interest in our nation’s space program, I want to see that NASA’s interest becomes a reality.
(4) When my two youngest children were failing in public school, my wife put her career in the jewelry industry on hold and home-schooled our children until they could be put back into the public school system. Upon re-entry into the public school system, they were treated as second-class citizens by the teachers and school principals and discriminated against because they didn’t have the traditional documentation. I want to ensure that federal legislation is passed putting home schooling on an equal status with public schooling, and preventing special interest organizations from interfering with the rights of home-schoolers. As a part of this legislation, I want to ensure that President Bush’s school voucher program is passed.
(5) Our courts have far overstepped their bounds. A judiciary that is not reigned in is an open door to future tyranny. I will work for passage of legislation that prevents courts from systematically stripping us of our first amendment rights, and guarantees the right of leaders in any branch of federal or state government or institution to speak out concerning their faith.
Q: There will be Texans and people nationally that might want to help with your campaign beyond voting who read this interview. What steps would you suggest they take if they have a little time — or money — to invest?
A. I need volunteers — especially during the remaining weeks of the Primary season — to knock on doors, man phone banks, pass out literature, distribute yard signs, paste bumper stickers, etc. I need finances for printing costs in signs, literature, and bumper stickers — at this point I need about $15,000 – $16,000 just in printing expenses. Anyone wanting to volunteer can contact me at: [email protected], or sign up at the website: www.CapenerForCongress.com
Q. I greatly appreciate your taking the time to do this computer interview with Ether Zone. Is there anything I’ve missed you’d like to make the voters aware of concerning your candidacy?
A: In five months or so of campaigning and meeting with people, I have only met two people who said they were “Die-hard Democrats” and would never vote for anyone other than a Democrat. That tells me that the overwhelming majority of the voters in this district are genuinely looking for a real choice in a candidate who shares their mainstream values. I have a vision for where we need to go as a people. My prayer is that I can share that vision in such a way that the voters of this district see it and have real hope for their future.
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”