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The month of August, filled with fairs, the start of school, area sports and the anticipation of harvest season, was also a busy one at the Legislature. Even though we are not meeting in session, there is plenty of work being done.
I was able to attend two leadership events that will be helpful to me as I represent you in the Unicameral. The first was the Global Leadership Summit hosted by the Reformed Church in Firth. Even though I was only able to take in the first day of the conference, it was good to meet with fellow residents of southeast Nebraska and hear world class speakers. The next day I was off to Minneapolis as a Fellow in the 2019 Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development (BILLD). As one of 36 selected to participate, it was a great experience. Meeting other state representatives and senators from 11 Midwestern states and Canada gave me the opportunity to hear about the issues they are facing in their states and provinces, which are very similar to Nebraska. The speakers were top notch and they kept us very busy with presenters and workshops.
With little time to spare, I returned to Nebraska to go on a tour of the Beatrice State Developmental Center and the Lincoln Regional Center with members of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee. I was able to share some insight about BSDC with my colleagues on that committee, and get a firsthand look at the Regional Center for myself.
Norris Public Power hosted a tour of their Centerville operations facility in late August. We had a good discussion with NPPD administrators about a number of matters regarding public power in our state.
Listening sessions continued with different sectors of our state’s economy and those receiving state funding. Senators DeBoer, Brandt, Friesen and myself have been meeting with various groups and then discussing what we hear. There will be more of those in the next couple of months.
In late August, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce had a statewide tour with a stop in Beatrice on the 27th. Governor Ricketts and I both spoke about the impact of business incentives on our budget and the state’s economy, as well as the ongoing need for property tax relief.
Related to this, I was part of a joint hearing of both the Revenue and Appropriations committees about the business incentive proposals pending before the Legislature. Good questions were asked, and I continue to see the need for a link between property tax relief and tax credits to businesses.
On the last day of the month, I invited Senator Megan Hunt of Omaha to join me for a live broadcast on KWBE Radio. We discussed some of the similarities and differences in our districts and how we approach being a state senator. I appreciated Sen. Hunt coming to Beatrice for the program.
Following the radio program, a number of urban senators were invited to Senator Tom Brandt’s farm near Plymouth. I spoke to the group about the challenges facing agriculture and helped show off the good life in our area.
A number of interim hearings are scheduled for the month of September, including one that will take a look at my funding proposals for the SIM-NE project that trains rural EMTs. As we move through the fall months, we senators will be firming up our ideas for legislation to be introduced in January, as well as looking at any adjustments that need to be made to the budget given current economic conditions in the state.
My office is staffed year round, so contact me at any time, I appreciate hearing from you. 402-471-2620 and firstname.lastname@example.org