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(Pictured: Republic of Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Industries and Cooperatives Peter Munya and me)
CELEBRATING ENTREPRENEURSHIP AT THE ZABUNI COFFEE AUCTION
On November 19th I had the privilege of attending the Zabuni Specialty Coffee Auction in Grand Island. Created by Laban and Cora Njuguna, the auction changes the way specialty coffee is supplied and traded by allowing coffee makers to create direct trade connections with buyers. Premium coffee beans are sourced from small family farmers in Kenya and are then sold to coffee roasters, who roast the beans and sell them to customers in Grand Island.
This event, which spanned over two days, provided a wonderful opportunity for local businesses and customers to buy premium coffee beans while supporting and creating connections with small Kenyan farmers. I highly enjoyed meeting with the Njugunas and members of the Kenyan Parliament, and I look forward to seeing the Zabuni Specialty Coffee Auction grow and become a long-term, established business in our town.
(Pictured: Co-chairs Sen. Tony Vargas and State Court Administrator Corey Steel, me, and other members of Nebraska JDAI)
A PLAN IN THE WORKS: REDUCING JUVENILE DETENTION
Every month I attend a meeting hosted by the Nebraska Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI). The goal of Nebraska JDAI is to find ways to reduce the use of juvenile detention while providing alternative, more effective interventions. Youth who are placed in detention centers (rather than at home or in an alternative supervision program) prior to their court date are more likely to be found delinquent by a judge. Sending a juvenile to a detention center before they go to court can have very serious impacts on their success as engaged, hardworking citizens in their communities; which is why we need a better solution.
At this month’s meeting, the Nebraska JDAI team unveiled and implemented their 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. I am eager to see how the plan will unfold, and I want to thank the co-chairs and Nebraska JDAI members for their hard work. Their plan will go a long way in improving the juvenile justice system in Nebraska overall.
HONORING OUR VETERANS
On November 11th, we took time to honor the individuals who sacrifice everything to keep our country free and safe. While Veteran’s Day has passed, it’s important to remember that we shouldn’t take just one day to honor our servicemen and women. By volunteering, endorsing causes that support veterans and veteran-owned companies, or simply taking a private moment to be proud of our country, we have multiple opportunities everyday to pay tribute to our veterans.
I understand the importance of making sure veterans are supported as they reenter their communities; that is why I have endorsed legislation in the past that provides them with the assistance. Last year I voted ‘yes’ on bills such as LB223, which provided a state-sponsored life insurance program for members of the NE National Guard, and LB6, which changed residency provisions for those on active duty and their dependents for college tuition purposes. I will continue to support our veterans in both a personal and professional capacity, and encourage all of us to find ways to give back to those who fight so that we may live in freedom.
(Pictured: President of the Holland Children’s Institute and Movement, Andy Holland, and me at the Honor Roll Awards)
ATTENDING THE HOLLAND HONOR ROLL AWARDS
The Holland Children’s Movement is an organization that aims to ensure Nebraskan children and families are included in the state’s budget and policy decisions. In October, I attended their Honor Roll Awards ceremony, which pays tribute to state senators. According to the organization’s 2019 Legislative Scorecard, I earned a 100% score in support of children and families. The score is based on votes I took on bills that pertained to early childhood education, quality health care, and economic opportunity.
I am looking forward to crafting and introducing legislation this session that serves Nebraskan families. Until then, I want to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me at (402) 471-2617 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading,