When I have the opportunity to travel around the 67,000 square miles of the Third District, I spend a lot of time in the car driving the many highways and byways of Nebraska. I enjoy this time on the road, taking in the diverse scenery as I map my way from town to town.

Nebraska is home to vast infrastructure. More than just roads, infrastructure includes bridges, railroads, ports, irrigation, and telecommunications. From the transportation of agriculture commodities across highways, rail, and rivers to the movement of energy through the grid, infrastructure is the backbone of our Nebraska economy.

Recently, I attended two separate meetings which both impact Nebraska’s infrastructure. The first of these meetings was with the Gering-Ft Laramie Irrigation District. On July 17, an irrigation tunnel collapsed in Wyoming affecting more than 100,000 acres of farmland in Western Nebraska and Eastern Wyoming. Since the collapse, my staff and I have engaged with local, state, and federal officials working to help resolve this crisis. There is a strong sense of urgency to fix this crisis by those on the ground, and I will continue to assist in any way possible.

This incident highlights the need for more attention to irrigation in our country. While the consequences of incidents such as this clearly impact farmers and ranchers, they also raise strong concerns for small businesses and the broader western Nebraska community. It is especially important in Nebraska, which has more irrigated acres than any other state in the nation. I am thankful for the incredibly hard work local and state officials have done to bring back water as quickly as possible, and for the patience of all of those that have been impacted.

While I am glad restoration is on the way, the issue is still not resolved. We want to make sure the affected districts can access available resources. In particular, we must ensure the districts can access funding for making a long-term repair once the growing season has ended, and relief for producers facing potential crop loss. As of now, we do not have a specific date which these issues will be solved, however it is widely understood we need to fix this as soon as possible. We also must look at the cause of the collapse, so we can ensure this does not happen again.

I was also able to attend the Heartland Expressway Annual Meeting last week in Kimball. The Heartland Expressway is a federally designated High Priority Corridor project connecting Rapid City, South Dakota and Denver, Colorado, through Nebraska’s panhandle. Along with the Ports-to-Plains Corridor to the south and Theodore Roosevelt Expressway to the north, this highway system will connect Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming directly with Mexico and Canada. It allows for our state’s products to arrive at market even more quickly and efficiently. This project is exciting news for Nebraska, as a direct avenue to our closest trading partners benefits consumers, farmers, ranchers, families, and small businesses, and is one many reasons for this project’s importance.

While infrastructure may not always be at the front of everyone’s minds, it is vital to every American, every day. I appreciate President Trump’s commitment to revitalizing America’s aging infrastructure, and look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to address the specific and unique needs of Nebraska.

In other news

Something stirring happened in Washington this week. Chief Standing Bear, native Nebraskan, first American, leader of the Ponca Tribe, was welcomed to the United States Capitol in Statuary Hall.

Like many Nebraskans, I enjoy hunting and fishing, and these activities have instilled in me an enduring love for the outdoors.  There’s no better way to take in the beauty of Nebraska, whether it’s on a turkey hunt in the Pine Ridge or spending a quiet evening fishing at a community pond.  …

Many Nebraskans have heard of the Bronze Star Medal that is awarded to members of the military. But this week I want to highlight its history and the level of courage, character, and honor required to receive the award.

This week, I’m traveling to Washington, DC to celebrate the unveiling of a statue of Chief Standing Bear at the United States Capitol. The statue will be on display for years to come, and I encourage Nebraskans to look for it when they next visit the U.S. Capitol.

On Wednesday, September 18, 2019, at 2:00 pm (CT), the Dedication of Chief Standing Bear in Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., will take place. I proudly joined Senator Tom Brewer and other fellow Senators in voting to place the statute of the landmark civil righ…

There was a little-known hearing this week in Congress. The major media did not cover it. But fundamental questions about science, reason, and ethics were considered.

Energy is essential in every American’s life. We use energy to do just about everything; drive to work, heat our homes, cook meals, and power our cell phones. As diverse as the uses for energy are, so too are the sources of this energy: oil, gas, coal, nuclear, biofuels, wind, hydro, and sol…

In 1636, a small militia regiment banded together to better defend colonists who arrived in North America. We know this as the founding of the first regiment of the National Guard, the oldest component of our country’s armed forces. Since the Revolutionary War, our nation has depended on our…

In 1636, a small militia regiment banded together to better defend colonists who arrived in North America. We know this as the founding of the first regiment of the National Guard, the oldest component of our country’s armed forces. Since the Revolutionary War, our nation has depended on our…