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 rights leader Chief Standing Bear in the Hall. The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs and Sen. Hilkermann have teamed up to schedule a "Watch Party”, where the dedication will be live streamed over the internet into the Warner Chamber at the Nebraska State Capitol. The ceremony in Washington, DC will include a Native American color guard, a Native American honor song performed by Steve Laravie, Jr., a direct descendent of the Ponca Chief, members of the Nebraska congressional delegation, other congressional leaders, and Nebraska State Senator Tom Brewer. Live streaming may also be available from home. No final word on sources yet, but if interested in viewing from home, you might try searching on the web to find a link. My office should have information about remote viewing by the day of the event. Please feel free to call us at 402.471.2716. Hats off to District 17 taking care of our families and communities and making Nebraska stronger.

BRINGING UP NEBRASKA: I was fortunate to join a group of leaders from across the state in Kearney on Tuesday, September 10 to discuss, collaborate, and develop long-term plans and strategies to prevent and address the needs of vulnerable Nebraska families and children. I appreciate First Lady Suzanne Shore for spearheading the initiative and for making this a priority in our state! Approaching the issue as neighbors standing together, when the initiative was launched, the First Lady stated, “We need to look at any child in need as one of our own . . . These are Nebraska’s kids. And we [the community] need to be the solution.” It is so true. We are modeling Nebraska Strong when we bring together those who know our local communities and families best in order to serve their needs and provide needed services most effectively. The people and organizations participating at the Kearny meeting care deeply about our state’s children and families and are working hard to help prevent challenges from becoming crisis. In fact, at the meeting District 17’s own JoAnn Gieselman was honored for her work and leadership in helping Growing Community Connections have a positive impact on the children and families we serve in our communities.

Finally, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT and housing affordability have long been on my priority list. For the last three years as a state senator, I have been privileged to serve on the Workforce Development Board alongside statewide representatives from K-12 schools, secondary educators, businesses, the Governor’s office, and many others. The goal of the board is to make sure our adult children and others considering career and life decisions have opportunity and know how to access the opportunities available right here in Nebraska. The board brings together a number of strategic local, regional, and statewide stakeholders to develop a one-stop information delivery system about career and training availability, as well as business services that can be accessed by job seekers, workers, and employers. The board meets quarterly and at our Friday, September 13 meeting, we welcomed new board members from Nebraska  Community College Association, the City of Valentine, and Nucor Steel from Norfolk. We cleaned up language in the board by-laws and received initial reports about program performance throughout Nebraska. We are currently working to compile and review performance and statistical information about the state’s progress for the Program Year 2018-19, which will be published as a report online by October 1. From there, we can collaborate on recommendations for the Program Year ahead.

In other news

There’s a beautiful story that was recently published in the Omaha World-Herald. I think it captures the magnitude of why we come together during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to honor those who have lost their lives to this terrible disease and celebrate the courageous survivors.

Nebraska’s official nickname is the Cornhusker State, and unofficially we’re known as the Beef State because of the world-class red meat produced by our cattlemen and women. Our family farms and ranches grow and raise some of the finest agricultural crops and livestock on the planet. Our soy…

As we draw closer to the beginning of the 2020 Legislative session, the number of interim hearings and office meetings increase, as staff works diligently to prepare for the session.  I have been visiting with many constituents, business owners, and organizational leaders across District 17 …

Middle Eastern dynamics seem far removed from a brisk fall in Nebraska. It’s hard to get animated by the region’s interminable struggles when the harvest season is upon us and water levels remain a concern. We eventually just get weary. We also sense that we can’t keep fighting other peoples…

Perhaps the greatest honor I have as Governor is to serve as commander-in-chief of our Nebraska National Guard. For nearly 165 years—since before Nebraska gained statehood—many of our fellow citizens have answered the call to serve when our state and nation have needed them the most. In 2019…

This past week was a busy one in and for District 17.  Meetings with Department directors, senators, and staff to prepare for the upcoming session, watching committee hearings on Interim studies, preparing for harvest at home, and opportunities to visit with folks in the district for special…

In the private sector, bonuses are awarded to employees who do great work for their employers—not to those who commit serious violations or crimes. Federal sector employees should be treated no differently. That is why I re-introduced the Stop Improper Federal Bonuses Act (S.2119) this summe…

There’s an inscription in stone on the side of the Nebraska State Capitol: “Wisdom. Justice. Power. Mercy. Constant Guardians of the Law.” There is a fine line between a wise, merciful pursuit of justice versus a political power play. For it to be properly exercised, power must be inextricab…

October is Manufacturing Month, a time to celebrate the makers, builders, and inventors of Nebraska. Nearly one in ten jobs in Nebraska is in manufacturing. Thanks to recent job growth, this summer Nebraska’s manufacturing employment reached its highest point in more than ten years.