It's a rare school board candidate who brings together issues like Nichiren Buddhism, the Ku Klux Klan, the Church of Scientology, the John Birch Society, racial purity, neo-Nazism, refugee and immigration policy, Common Core education standards and President Donald Trump.
But James "Jamie" Kelso does it.
Which has made the 69-year-old retiree and a director of the white nationalist American Freedom Party a controversial and polarizing figure in Grand Forks, N.D., heading into the June 12 local school board election. Kelso is scheduled to appear with other candidates at forum in the Grand Forks City Council chambers Tuesday evening.
With only nine candidates vying for five at-large board seats in the 7,400-student district, "it's conceivable" that Kelso — who has two children attending district schools and who once lived with white supremacist and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke — could win, said Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, the teachers union.
And that has some people in the Red River Valley city of 57,000 residents alarmed.
"It would be a very, very dark day for education should this gentleman get elected," said Archuleta, who predicts voters will reject Kelso at the polls. "He seems to think that white children have some sort of privilege, or deserve privilege, over everybody else. That's not how the school system works.
"Public education has enough challenges now without having to deal with the input of a racially bigoted individual who is not running to improve education in Grand Forks. He's running to promote himself."
Kelso, who hosts a radio program called "The Trump Phenomenon" on the Republic Broadcasting Network, doesn't mince words when it comes to his message or his candidacy.
In a region where immigrant growth surged by nearly 30 percent from 2010 to 2015 — nearly 9,000 immigrants live in the area according to research by the New American Economy — Kelso has strong opinions on what should be done to stop refugee, Muslim and nonwhite immigration.
"I would not be a good school board candidate for the refugee community," he says. "I would not be a good school board member for the immigrant population in Grand Forks."
Among his platform plans: "I want a complete audit — an independent audit — of the refugee program in the schools. … How many people? How much is it costing? How many teachers have been hired just for these kids?"
If elected, Kelso said he would try to convince the board to stop spending money on diversity programs.
"Stop diverting the funds taxed from the descendants of Swedes and Norwegians and Germans," he said. "Stop giving speeches about how beautiful and fun it is because it makes the school district better because it's more diverse. Homogenous is bad; diverse, good. That's a silly formulation."
Archuleta said school board members have an obligation to treat students equally and doubts that Kelso is capable of doing so. "He can be a very polarizing individual and I don't think that is good for the community of Grand Forks," he said.
Jim Johnson, president of the North Dakota School Boards Association, said people like Kelso feel empowered "because of some of the rhetoric, unfortunately, that's come out of the White House."
Kelso is an ardent Trump fan, but his beliefs evolved long ago. He was born in New York and graduated from high school in Pacific Palisades, Calif. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, he got deeply involved in Transcendental Meditation and then Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism before joining the Church of Scientology. He rose quickly, joining the group's elite "Sea Organization," which recruits new members. He left abruptly in 1973.
"My entire career in Scientology was based on chasing a skirt," Kelso said. "I was 19 years old and got the hots for a girl who wanted to go into Scientology."
Kelso said he quit the church after concluding that its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, was "insane." He later became a "really gung-ho" member of the arch-conservative John Birch Society, which he said he still loves. In 1976, he ran for Congress in Missouri after noticing that the Kansas City Star published a voter's guide that profiled candidates. He advocated ending the income tax, abolishing Social Security, withdrawing from the United Nations and ending government control of education.
Kelso's position on race hardened when he got stuck in traffic in California. "I'm looking around and the population of Mexico City is all around me," he said. "The transplantation of a big part of the population of Mexico into Los Angeles happened so rapidly that it alarmed me."
In 2002, he became a moderator of Stormfront, an online forum for white nationalists. He joined the National Alliance in 2003 but says he didn't realize it was a neo-Nazi group. "I think Hitler was the worst human who ever lived," he said. "I'm not anti-Jewish at all."
In 2004 he went to work as an assistant to David Duke, a former grand wizard of the KKK who had served as a Louisiana congressman from 1989 to 1992. Though Kelso lived with Duke for two years, he insists that he has "never had anything to do with the Klan."
He eventually landed in North Dakota "because of my wife. I was chasing a pretty girl," he said. "So that's kind of the story of my life — and Donald Trump's."
In 2009, he launched an online forum called "White News Now." Soon after, he married Linda Falla, a moderator of the forum 34 years his junior. "We believe every race has its own beauty and has its own right to survive … not to be oppressed," Kelso said.
"My program is a one-item agenda: Love your own people. I'm not saying the liberal program, love Somalians, love Nigerians," Kelso cautioned. "For them, respect. For your own people, really love them. … This is why I think Trump won."
Trump carried North Dakota with 64.1 percent of the vote in 2016 to Hillary Clinton's 27.8 percent. In Grand Forks, Trump got 16,340 votes to Clinton's 10,581.
Tim Lamb, a lawyer who served on the Grand Forks school board for 16 years and is now a candidate for state's attorney, said Trump's election demonstrated that the radical right movement was bigger than anyone thought. A similar momentum played out in Grand Forks in the 1920s, he said, when the Klan took control of the school board and the city commission campaigning on an anti-Catholic platform.
The Klan would set fire to a cross just down the street from St. Michael's Catholic Church so that parishioners would see it as they left mass, he said.
The Rev. Frederick Halsey Ambrose, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Grand Forks, testified to the North Dakota Legislature in 1923 that the Klan was the only force "preventing a tide of immigrants from overwhelming American civilization on the eastern coast of the United States," according to a publication by the South Dakota State Historical Society.
Lamb said he doesn't think Grand Forks would be receptive to such politics today.
"Grand Forks is primarily sort of a moderate city," he said. "This guy named Kelso, No. 1, I don't think he's going to get elected. And No. 2, if he does get elected he's not going to have any impact on the school district."
Kelso said if he doesn't win a board seat, he'll run again, or seek another office, perhaps on the City Council.
"One thing I want to communicate to people, I talk a lot about it on my radio show — get involved in politics," he said. "It's not that hard."