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A German Study Tour on Energy Policy
Sponsored by the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO)
(All funding provided by CSG and the GFFO.)
As a 2015-16 appointed member of CSG’s Energy & Environment Public Policy Committee, I was fortunate to be invited to participate in a December 2016 German Study Tour on Energy Policy. The tour offered an opportunity to gather first-hand information about Germany’s energy transition and meet with people who made it happen. My fellow committee members and I saw and discussed recent developments like a “virtual power plant” and other cutting-edge projects. We also learned about the impact of this transition on the economy, including how German industry is responding to these changes, how they are preparing workers for new jobs in the energy sector, and how they are furthering connections between universities and private industry to advance research and development.
Douglas County Veterans Treatment Court Opens
On November 4 I joined the Honorable W. Mark Ashford, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Nebraska’s Problem-Solving Court Statewide Coordinator Scott Carlson, volunteer veteran mentors and other special guests at the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center for the inaugural ceremony to open Douglas County’s new Veterans Treatment Court.
I introduced LB 915 in the 2016 legislative session to add a Veterans Treatment Court to the current roster of problem solving courts. LB 915 was folded into LB 919, Senator Matt Williams’ priority bill, which was passed by the legislature without opposition.
Remember the Fallen Celebration at The Heritage at Sterling Ridge
I was honored to join District 20 veterans and their family members to commemorate Veterans Day 2016. I joined all Americans in expressing my appreciation to them for their service to our country.
Liberty comes at a price, and the men and women who serve our country are willing to pay that price for our freedom and for peace. This month we thank them, salute them and honor them for their selfless dedication.
A SPOOOKY NIGHT IN DISTRICT 20
Senator McCollister “hanging out” with some of his favorite constituents!
An October visit to Chadron for the annual Pine Ridge Turkey Hunt provided a glimpse of communication service in western Nebraska as it existed years ago.
The Nebraska Northwest Development Corporation hosts this event, so landowners, western Nebraska business owners and policy makers have a chance to become better acquainted with each other and with some of the prettiest country Nebraska has to offer.
Impressive Student…. Bright Future!
Bryan High School Senior Maria Rangel attended an October 2016 presentation at her school about my legislative priorities. A seed was planted, and now Maria will consult with my office as she crafts model legislation of her own.
Nationwide Policy Exchanges
The Nebraska Legislature is a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Council of State Governments (CSG). These bipartisan organizations offer education forums, leadership training and networking for legislators and staff from all U.S. states and territories. These legislative membership organizations often provide stipends and fellowships for state policy makers who participate in their leadership and training programs.
Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature Galen Hadley appointed Lincoln Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, Bellevue Senator Sue Crawford and me to represent Nebraska again this year at NCSL’s Family Opportunity Leadership Seminar. Senators Pansing Brooks, Crawford and I will work under the direction of NCSL staff to enhance a state action plan to address critical issues for working families in Nebraska.
Last year I was appointed to serve on NCSL’s Budget and Revenue Committee, the Legislative Effectiveness Committee, and the Labor and Economic Development Committee. I will participate again this year in policy discussions with my fellow committee members at meetings in Chicago and Washington, DC.
This spring I was invited to become a member of NCSL’s Task Force on Immigration and the States. The Task Force was created in 2005 to advance national immigration reform and to share best practices among states in managing immigration. NCSL has support from the MacArthur Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts to focus on the fiscal and economic impacts of immigrants at the state level. The invitation to join the Task Force was based largely on my background in economic research. To date the Task Force has meetings and site visits scheduled in Minneapolis, Detroit and Chicago. (All funding provided by NCSL’s Task Force on Immigration and the States.)
I received a CSG fellowship for the 22nd annual Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development (BILLD). I will meet with 32 lawmakers from Nebraska, ten other Midwestern states and four Canadian provinces in Madison, WI. BILLD is presented in partnership with the University of Wisconsin’s School of Public Affairs. In addition to providing leadership courses, BILLD analyzes a variety of issues including the economy, education and corrections policy. (All funding provided by CSG.)
District 20 Neighborhood Associations
As the map of District 20 indicates, many home owners have banded together to form neighborhood associations to share ideas and work cooperatively to make their community a better place to live. In 2016 I met with the Skylark/Cryer Association in July, the Loveland Association in August and the Westgate Association in October.
The Loveland Association’s meeting notes below reflect issues that neighborhood associations can address.
Main Topics Discussed:
Membership in a neighborhood association is voluntary and open to anyone who lives in the area. If you would like to join an association or start one in your area, please call or email my office to request contact information.
Students Are Delightful Guests
District 20 teachers and parents encourage students of all ages to tour the Capitol and visit the legislature to enhance classroom learning. The legislature supports the state’s fourth grade curriculum with a publication entitled Unicam Kids. Meeting and talking with these young constituents is truly a highlight of my role as a state senator.
Saluting 2016 AKSARBEN Scholars
I joined the AKSARBEN Foundation and other invited guests to honor this year’s AKSARBEN scholarship recipients at the Fort Omaha Campus of Metropolitan Community College. What a great honor it is for all of these scholars to be recognized for their outstanding performance by such a fine organization.
The Nebraska Environmental Trust 2016 Grantee Seminar and Luncheon
This annual event is a wonderful opportunity to meet grant recipients and learn about their environmental projects.
The Nebraska Environmental Trust was established to conserve, enhance and restore the natural environments of Nebraska. A prosperous future requires a sound natural environment. The Trust complements existing activities, stimulates private investment and emphasizes long term gain. The Trust also leads in the development of a vision of Nebraska’s future environment, and collaborates with public and private efforts to achieve that vision.
A Great Friend…What a treat to share memories with Chuck Hagel and receive a signed copy of his book America: Our Next Chapter. A staunch Republican yet a “hero to liberals” (Time), Secretary Hagel asked tough questions and delivered straight answers to America’s most pressing problems. The book is a serious, honest, and ultimately optimistic look at our nation’s future, from an American original.