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Sen. Rick Kolowski

Sen. Rick Kolowski

District 31

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In honor of our veterans
May 29th, 2013
LB 93 which allows for a Veterans designation on driver license passed on final reading and is on its way to the Governor for his signature.
LB 93 which allows for a Veterans designation on driver license passed on final reading and is on its way to the Governor for his signature. Thanks to all of my colleagues for their support. More than that THANKS to all of our Veterans and service men and women for their service to our country. We live with a multitude of blessings everyday and it is because of our Veterans sacrifice.
Summer Plans
May 22nd, 2013

I have a busy summer ahead of me.

I have introduced interim studies on expanded learning opportunities, school security, college savings plans, teacher education and property tax relief:

Don’t hesitate to contact my office this summer with policy ideas as I would be more than happy to meet with you and discuss potential legislation.

Millard, Westside make ‘America’s best high schools’ list
By Robby Korth

Two Omaha-area districts are leading Nebraska in preparing students for college, according to rankings compiled by national publications.

All three Millard high schools — North, South and West — made the list of “America’s best high schools” released last week by Newsweek magazine. The magazine ranked public schools only.

The Washington Post ranked the country’s “most challenging” high schools, and all three Nebraska schools on the list of 2,054 were from the Omaha area: Millard North, Millard West and Westside.

Newsweek’s ranking are based on six weighted factors: 25 percent, graduation rate; 25 percent, college acceptance rate; 25 percent, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests taken per student; 10 percent, average SAT/ACT scores; 10 percent on average AP, IB and AICE scores; and 5 percent on percent of students enrolled in at least one AP, IB or AICE course.

Millard North and Millard West were the only two Nebraska high schools on the Newsweek list last.

The Washington Post canvassed public and private high schools across the nation. Its rankings are based on a formula that took the number of AP, IB and AICE tests taken by students at a high school and divided it by the number of seniors who graduated the previous year.

Contact the writer:


Miracle Baseball League
May 13th, 2013

I had a wonderful weekend volunteering with my Kiwanis club at a baseball league for children with disabilities. I am inspired by these children and their families. Below is a picture of myself with Bruce Froendt, the founder of this noble cause.


I am please to announce that my bill to help poll workers and voters has passed final reading!

LB 417 supports our volunteer poll workers and our voters by requiring the Secretary of State to publish statewide election guidelines that will create more efficiency, transparency and equity on election day.

Now on to being signed by the Governor into law.


May 8th, 2013

In support of a bill to help keep harmful drugs out of the hands of our children, Senator Kolowski made the following speech on the floor that is worth reading:

SENATOR KOLOWSKI: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning, Senators, and good morning, students, glad to see you here. I want to thank Senator Ashford for his comments concerning this bill and Senator McCoy for bringing this forward. I speak as a former high school principal, with my last 15 years at Millard West High School. I had a file on my desk that I’ll tell you about very briefly, but it was related to the number of student funerals I attended over my 15 years as principal. Auto accidents, alcohol, drug situations, depression, and suicides were part of the reality of life of any high school administrator when you’re dealing with large numbers of students and the issues that we face in our world today. Tomorrow morning I’ll be going to the…to visit with the Catholic Charities program in Omaha that I’m the administrator of record for, and that’s the Journeys program, where 16 students are in a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week drug/alcohol program for the difficulties they’re facing in their lives. I wish I could take every senator from this hall to meet and listen to these students. And in most cases you would not believe the students’ stories, what’s going on in their lives, and what they’ve faced and what they are facing at the current time. The need for problem solving, decision making skills on the part of these students, how to fight peer pressure, to set and make personal goals in their lives are extremely important, and they have great difficulties trying to overcome those things that they had been facing. Those stories those kids would tell you are true. I meet with them every month, a number of hours. And I work with these students, hopefully, trying to get them to a place where they can be released back to their homes, back to their schools, and hopefully will lead a clean life as they move on from the program. We need this bill. We need this bill to pass. It’s a reality that surrounds us in every community, in every town, in every school in this state, and we would be burying our heads in the sand if we would ignore that.

I am please to announce that my bill to help poll workers and voters has advanced to select file!

LB 417 supports our volunteer poll workers and our voters by requiring the Secretary of State to publish statewide election guidelines that will create more efficiency, transparency and equity on election day.

You can view the progress of this bill and any other bill of interest to you by going to this URL:


Millard West debate coach named educator of the year
By Haley Dover

A Millard West High School debate coach has been named educator of the year by the National Debate Coach Association.

Fred Robertson was one of four finalists for this year’s award, the only one from Nebraska. He was nominated by former students and fellow debate coaches from across the country.

Robertson flew to Nashville, Tenn., with his wife to accept his award on April 13.

“The debate community is really special group of people, and it means a lot for me to get that from fellow coaches nationally,” he said.

Robertson, who has been coaching debate for 28 years, said he has always enjoyed working with people in the beginning stages of debate.

“It’s rewarding to work with kids who get to top national levels,” he said. “In debate you are competing with the smartest kids, and if you get to that top level where you are competing nationally, it’s rewarding.”

After 34 years of teaching, Robertson plans to retire at the end of this academic year, but not until he takes four students to the National Forensics League National Tournament in Birmingham, Ala., in June.

Congratulations to Jeff Slobotski and his company Silicon Prairie for their accomplishments!

Jeff is a former Millard West graduate and as a student he was extremely articulate and high achieving.

By Emily Nohr
World-Herald Staff Writer

Silicon Prairie News didn’t have a single employee when the group organized the first Big Omaha conference on innovation and entrepreneurship five years ago. This year, 10 people are on staff.

“We’re not only shaping and forming the startup community, but we’re also a startup ourselves,” said Jeff Slobotski, who co-founded Silicon Prairie News with Dusty Davidson several years ago. “We’re in this, too.”

Looking back on growth in the startup community is part of this year’s fifth annual Big Omaha conference, set for May 8-10 at Kaneko, 1111 Jones St.

Last year, the event sold out, drawing about 650 entrepreneurs, designers, technology professionals, company executives and others. About 700 are expected this year.

Big Omaha will kick off at 8 p.m. May 8, with a public opening party with the Kauffman Foundation. It will close with another public party with Hudl at 9 p.m. on May 10.

Sandwiched in between are two full days of speakers, nine of whom have been announced so far. They include Marc Ecko, founder of venture innovation company Artists and Instigators; Tony Conrad, founder of; Catherine Rohr, founder and CEO of Defy Ventures; and Gentry Underwood, co-founder and CEO of Mailbox, an inbox app acquired by Dropbox.

Others are Ben Milne, founder and CEO of online payment network Dwolla; Megan Casey, founder and CEO of Pack, an online community that creates profiles of dogs; Anil Dash, co-founder and director of advising company Activate; Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of and; and Dave McClure, founding partner of accelerator program 500 Startups.

Antonio Neves, founder of THINQACTION, will serve again as the conference’s emcee.

Slobotski said the conference is about more than connecting locals with others involved in the startup community. It’s about showing people outside of Omaha what the city has to offer, he said. Last year, the event brought in people from 30 states, and Slobotski is anticipating a similar turnout this year.

“That’s what I get excited about,” he said. “It’s not just an Omaha thing. It’s not just a Nebraska thing. It definitely brings folks in from across the country. Some folks come in not knowing what to expect and get to see the Old Market and Kaneko and are continually blown away.”

A ticket is $399 plus a fee for startups/entrepreneurs and $599 plus a fee for corporations or established companies. For more information, go here.

NET State of Education Pic

Watch Senator Rick Kolowski LIVE on NET2 @ 8pm on Thursday, April 18 as he discusses the State of Education in Nebraska.

Sen. Rick Kolowski

District 31
Room #1018
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2327
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