Age, birthplace: 27, El Paso, Texas
Where he's from: Residence in Hardin; he's currently attending Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colo. Grew up primarily in Tucson, Ariz., and moved to Montana in 2003, although he spent summers in Montana since he was 12.
Occupation: Student, studying finance
Highest education degree: Completing bachelor's degree in finance this year, Colorado Mesa University
Political experience: None
Campaign website: www.vincentmelkus2012.com
What separates you from your opponents in the Republican primary election? "My national security experience as a U.S. Marine and living near the Mexican border. My strict adherence to the oath I took to defend the U.S. Constitution. My understanding of economics and finance, and how it relates to our current situation. I'm running to show that the average American can and will make a difference."
What are your top three priorities, if elected?
"1. Passing a constitutional amendment to tie federally elected officials' pay to the median household income of their respective state, and limiting post-service employment (many get in and learn the system then get out and work the system).
"2. Incentivizing productive job creation by simplifying the tax code (flat or fair tax) and eliminating the corporate tax, income tax, and allowing the repatriation of cash from overseas, untaxed for business investment. Also, curb regulations, such as repealing Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill and ObamaCare.
"3. Stop the assault on the Constitution and economic liberties."
What specific steps will you support/propose to help reduce federal debt? "I support a balanced-budget amendment and will not vote for an unbalanced budget. I will not vote for any increase in the debt ceiling or delegate my congressional powers to a so-called 'super committee.' I support a 10 percent, across-the-board cut in government spending, except the military. Eliminate or severely reduce the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Education and Internal Revenue Service. Put pressure on the Federal Reserve Bank to stop propping up the federal government with artificially low interest rates while destroying the dollar, making us all poorer. We need to go back to free-market money supply tied to a physical asset (gold). Both will help prevent imbalances in our federal budget and balance of payments."