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Senator Tom Brewer
This week we joined Governor Pete Ricketts and Courtney Dentlinger, Director of Economic Development in visiting the Perrin Manufacturing facility in Alliance, NE. Perrin Manufacturing specializes in making auxiliary power units and heating and cooling units for many industrial applications such as what is used in the trucking industry. It is great to see a local business like Perrin grow and thrive.
My staff attended the Community Leader breakfast in Lincoln on Mental Illness Awareness and Suicide Awareness. These are important issues, most especially to veterans and many of the rural communities in the 43rd District who are under-served when it comes to mental health resources.
I attended the McPherson County Farm Bureau meeting in Tryon. I met with a number of citizens from Dawes, Sioux and Sheridan Counties who were all concerned about Property Taxes. This is an all too common event for me and it serves to illustrate the point that this issue continues to be the most important thing in the district, and for the all Nebraskans. It is one of the top items on my to do list. Citizen-lead efforts to do a ballot initiative to put a property tax measure on the ballot in the next election are on-going, and so are efforts to address this problem in the legislature in the next session. My property tax bill remains stuck in the Revenue Committee (LB 576).
I held a Townhall meeting in Gordon at the American Legion. I’m a big supporter of the Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I’m grateful for their continued support. Senator Erdman from the 47th District joined me. Again, we discussed the on-going misery of property taxes, along with the harm being done by Wind Energy in the Sandhills, and the continuing serious issues concerning the “R Line” powerline project. We also discussed the Whiteclay situation since the beer stores have closed. There has been a lot of positive developments and progress made, there is a lot that remains to be done, and there are genuine concerns going forward that I am addressing in working with the Department of Road, the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office and the Attorney General such as traffic safety along the highways. I’ll keep you updated as we move forward.
My Legislative Aide and I, as well as my daughter attended the Annual Pine Ridge Wild Turkey Hunt in Chadron. Deb Cottier with the Northwest Nebraska Development Corporation, along with the many sponsors and organizers of this event did an incredible job. The many landowners who guided the hunters were the very best ambassadors Western Nebraska could ever ask for. Senator Justin Wayne from Omaha, Senator Suzanne Geist from Lincoln and Senator Lou Ann Linehan from Elkhorn joined us and we were able to share the incredible beauty of the Sandhills and the Pine Ridge area with them for the first time. My Eastern Nebraska colleagues had never seen this part of Nebraska, and had never participated in a Turkey Hunt before. (One had never used a shotgun.) This was the first time I attended this outstanding event, and I will do my best to have as many Senators as possible, (including the Governor), in joining me next year in showcasing our part of Nebraska to them.
I toured the new Box Butte General Hospital in Alliance. I was very impressed by the dedicated and professional staff, and so happy to see such a state-of-the-art healthcare facility in Western Nebraska. Like many other healthcare providers in Nebraska, they face serious challenges, namely they have a very hard time getting paid. Recent changes in how the State performs MEDICAID reimbursement and the multiple layers of bureaucracy and the confusing labyrinth of procedures and rules often results in claims going unpaid altogether or only partially paid. I’m very glad the CEO Lori Mazanec and her staff took the time to show me their exceptional facility. I appreciated hearing their concerns and I will be talking with the Department of Health and Human Services about this to learn more of the details of this complicated problem and helping to find a solution.