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Reflecting on a summer that seemed to have little time to wind down, I have gained new perspective during my time at home on the farm and moving about in our district that spans Cuming, Burt and Washington Counties. Visiting with so many of you at business meetings, briefings, celebrations and county fairs, I have benefited greatly from our exchanges. With the legislature adjourned until January, I will continue to be out and about in our District 16 communities and discuss important legislative issues with you.
Most recently Burt, Cuming, and Washington Counties all held county fairs. It was a privilege to participate in each of them, visiting with county residents, and viewing many exhibits created by our talented citizens. The county fairs are a great close to the summer, and with good food, family, and fun festivities, the stresses of the drought fade for a brief moment through the smiles of children and bright blue ribbons.
For the second year in a row, District 16 and Nebraska have experienced a hardship at the hands of Mother Nature. Still scarred from last year’s Missouri River Flooding, we now face a severe drought. Agricultural, personal, and economical effects are still looming, but given our track record, I am confident we can rise above these challenges. We will learn from our hardships and continue to work hard to support our families and communities; Nebraska farmers and ranchers will continue to play a vital role in feeding our world.
Since the Legislature’s April adjournment, I’ve enjoyed visits to our District 16 towns. From training for weather spotting in Craig to speaking at Blair Kiwanis Club to a Cuming County Feeders Tour, district events have filled my schedule and granted me the privilege to meet with many different people on a variety of subjects. Participating in summer parades and local celebrations in Blair, Tekamah, and Lyons was a joy. Being part of grand openings, open houses, and anniversaries was also a highlight as it demonstrates growth and opportunity. These include:
Day-long excursions with the Department of Roads allowed me to view road construction projects and discuss future projects. On two occasions, with the University of Nebraska and the Game and Parks Commission, I toured the previously flooded Missouri River valley, addressing damages, recovery, and productivity. Focusing on energy, I toured an innovative methane gas operation, discussed the current and future status of Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant, and will delve into public power operations with a visit to Nebraska Public Power District’s control center. Upcoming district visits include tours of businesses in Blair, one of our newest District 16 towns. I will also attend annual Farm Bureau meetings for all three counties and discuss agriculture policy.
It was a privilege to represent District 16 and Nebraska as I traveled to Madison, Wisconsin, August 10. I am one of three Nebraska senators selected to The Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership (BILLD). The BILLD program is a unique educational opportunity. Meeting with other state representatives from the Midwest region, we participated in seminars about leadership, communication, and policy development. It was a great learning experience applicable to serve our district in the Nebraska Legislature.
Looking forward at functions of the Legislature this fall, interim study hearings will be conducted for legislative resolutions introduced during this past session. Several public hearings regarding establishment of a State Health Insurance Exchange will be held by the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee, as well as hearings throughout the state conducted by the Nebraska Department of Insurance. Public hearing schedules for interim studies this fall are available at www.nebraskalegislature.gov.
I welcome your input on legislative issues as we prepare for the upcoming session. To share your ideas and concerns, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to Keep the Good Life Growing,
Senator Lydia Brasch