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Happy end of August! My staff and I have been taking our time during the interim either to take a breath after a busy session, spend our time in-district to reconnect or attend various educational conferences both out-of-state and in-state. I would love to share some information about some of the conferences I have attended.
Nebraska State Senator Delegation – Strategic Air Command Tour
My office, Lt. Governor Foley, a representative from the University of Nebraska, and other Senators and staff had the opportunity to spend a day at Offutt Air Force base and the STRATCOM headquarters to learn about the structure, operations, and strategic deterrence threats America (and its allies) face now and in the future. This visit reminded my colleagues and me of the importance of both Offutt Air Force and STRATCOM to not only our state and country but the entire world. I am thankful to the Vice Commander of the 55th Wing and Admiral Richards of STRATCOM for the briefings on past and future goals.
48th Annual American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
I traveled to Salt Lake City shortly thereafter to attend the 48th Annual American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Conference. The American Legislative Exchange Council is one of the country’s premier state policy organizations. At this conference, I learned about many different things not only important to the United States, but also to Bellevue. An example of this is attending the Task Force on Homeland Security meeting where I learned about things from surveillance technology to protecting critical infrastructure. It is important to me as an elected official to keep learning so that my colleagues and I can use our knowledge to collectively make every piece of legislation better.
Self-education has been a priority of mine over the interim. State lawmakers bring their own experience, intelligence, and specialty to the Legislature; however, we do not all have expertise in every issue. My goal is to learn as much as I can so that I can serve my district to the best of my ability.
So far, my staff and I have visited two dairy farms to learn about the impact of dairy on the state economy. On Wednesday, we also visited Butler Public Power District to learn more about energy efficiency and reliability. My staff are joining others in the Legislature to tour the four University of Nebraska campuses by the end of November. I also attended Governor Ricketts’ Economic Development Summit in Kearney this summer, where the Governor stressed the importance of a healthy economy to our state.
My colleagues and I are looking forward to tentatively starting our special session on redistricting on Monday, September 13. I want to stress that this date is tentative because of delayed data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The responsibilities of my colleagues and I include redrawing districts for the Legislature, the Supreme Court, the University Board of Regents, the Public Service Commission, the Board of Education, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Nebraska’s demographics continue to shift. That is why we must be successful and productive in the coming month so that the will of Nebraskans are fairly represented in not just our legislative body, but in every statewide body. As Nebraska, and those that reside in it, are continuously changing and growing, it is important to have this process in order to ensure districts are represented equally.
Finally, our home base has moved up to the 11th floor as the Nebraska State Capitol undergoes HVAC renovations. Though we have a beautiful view of Lincoln from the tower, we are now not as easily accessible to the public. If you would like to visit, please call or email us to schedule a time. Our office phone number is (402) 471-2615, and my email address is email@example.com.
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