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Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 42nd legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.
You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.
Sen. Mike Groene
Column 7/22/21: The Problems with a Nonpartisan Unicameral
I have been asked many times why state legislatures such as Iowa, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, Wyoming, etc are passing legislation addressing the concerns that a majority of Nebraska’s citizens also share, meanwhile Nebraska’s legislature is mute on important issues. They want to know why the legislature has not put a halt to any future attempt to introduce a radical and racist Critical Race Theory from being slipped into school curriculum or why the school health standards are not being tightened up to not allow a liberal State Board of Education commissioner and his activist employees along with a complacent State Board of Education from bringing radical sexual behavior preferences into the classroom. They are curious why election fraud through vote harvesting and voter registration abuses are not being addressed.
They ask, is not Nebraska still a state where the majority still cherishes liberty, honors the tenants of a just God and defends the family as the cornerstone of a democratic Republic? I reply: Yes, easily proven by the election results of who wins statewide and national offices. After all, Trump did receive 58% of the presidential vote in Nebraska. The problem lies in how Nebraska’s unique unicameral form of State government has evolved.
The nature of Nebraska’s Nonpartisan Unicameral is designed to thwart the will of the majority. Today in the legislature there are 32 registered Republicans and 17 Democrats. Although advertised as a non-partisan body, most Nebraskans vote based on party affiliation, assuming the candidate shares their political views. Without the vetting process of a party primary, candidates can claim they are whatever they want and, when elected, vote who they really are. I will say this, the 17 Democrats are honest, they are who they say they are, and they are true to their party’s positions. Today in the legislature there are 22 who would be considered conservative and 17 progressive-liberal. There are 10 who I consider Unicameralist, although registered Republicans, they are truly nonpartisan independents. They have the power in the legislature, unbound by political ideologies, or loyalty to the members of a political party who elected them; they are free to roam free from issue to issue. Their swing votes decide who will be committee chairs by enforcing a secret vote on those selections. Unlike in the other 49 states in the union, where the makeup of committees reflect proportionally political ideologies, they enforce what I have called the country club rule; after an election no senator can be removed from a committee, no matter that the people of Nebraska overwhelmingly support one political viewpoint.
The Unicameralist does not want controversial issues brought out of committee, where they would then have to actually vote and thus show their true colors. They engineer the makeup of committees where the aforementioned issues are assigned; Government, Education, Business and Labor etc, so those issues never reach the floor of the legislature. By using the tools of their trade, vote-trading, Christmas trees (multiple bills combined into one) and compromise, they rule the Unicameral. They throw a bone to the left and the right occasionally to keep the masses at bay, but mostly they focus on expanding government, stronger regulations to protect their trade, and making sure someone else pays the taxes to support their agenda. Meanwhile you are sitting at home reading between the lines written by the liberal press, who are protective of the Unicameralist accomplishments, wondering how in God’s name did that bill pass in the legislature.
As a Nebraskan you do have one tool to bypass the political distortions of the Unicameralist, the petition process. The Unicameralist, in order to protect their power, has placed burdens on the citizens by enacting higher signature and petitioner requirements. With persistence we have been able to overcome them and in the last few years the people have spoken on the death penalty and Medicaid expansion. Presently there are two petition drives planned, legalizing Medical Marijuana and one requiring citizen identification before voting. I assume both will pass with flying colors.
Column 7-15-21: Funding School Construction Equitably
This last session, LB 2 was enacted. It creates a correction to address an unfair property tax burden on ag-land owners. Over the last 25 years ag-land valuations have skyrocketed, simply due to the fact that God makes more humans but He doesn’t make more land. Meanwhile in rural Nebraska, residential and commercial property has increased at a much slower rate, or in some instances stagnated or even decreased. LB 2 addresses this inequity in school bond elections; it attempts to bring back a fair proportionality of who pays when new school buildings are erected.
Adding to the injustice, while small town populations may have declined, farmer numbers have declined even faster. Farmers today are more productive, and in order to be profitable larger farms are a necessity and thus fewer workers are needed. Ag-land owners in most school districts have very little voter representation and are simply out voted when it comes to bond elections. If you have your home in a rural school district, you may have noticed over time that what you pay in school taxes have actually declined–if so, you can thank a farmer, because due to rising farmland valuations the cost of operating your school and paying off existing bonds has shifted to them.
To address the problem, LB 2 lowers the unadjusted valuation of ag-land from 75% to 50% for school bond levies only. Residential and commercial values remain the same at 100%. The effective start date of the legislation is January I, 2022. Ag-land will still be valued at 75% for all present school bonds or any new projects approved before that date.
I was a little surprised to see that the Hershey school district has announced a $17.9 million bond election to be concluded August 10th. I would hope the bond election was not hurried along in order to avoid the effects of LB 2, ignoring the will of Nebraskans to fix an injustice. I make no judgment call on the necessity of the school construction planned to improve the education environment for the children of the taxpayers living in the Hershey district, but I would say that the timeline seems to be inadequate to allow for patrons to ask questions, receive answers and give them time to verify the information given.
Currently ag-land in the Hershey district makes up 53% of the total taxable valuation. After LB 2 goes into effect it will drop to 43% for purposes of new school bond debt. Yes, there will be a slight corrective shift back to residential, commercial and centrally assessed (railroad, etc.) property owners. If someone believes school improvements are needed, I assume they would be willing to pay a fair share. The ability to cause another to pay a larger share should not be a deciding factor.
I see no rational reason to rush the vote. If the election is successful, it will only build animosity between town residents and the farm community. Hurt feelings in a small town can manifest themselves in more places than just the school gymnasium. For the benefit of the community, I believe the Hershey Bond election should have waited until after the first of the year.
In government sometimes when you fix a problem, another is broadened. LB 523 is a sister bill to LB 2 that is still on General file, and it needs to be enacted to plug a loophole in present law. Because ag-land valuations have skyrocketed, many school districts can fund their operations with a levy well under the 1.05 limit. Districts have the ability to levy up to 14 cents for a building fund if their total levy stays under the lid. As long as a school district doesn’t use bonds to pay for a building project the school board–using the building fund–can on its own approve it without a vote of the people. Since LB 2’s 50% ag-land valuation only applies to bond funding, more school districts will be tempted to build schools with general funds where farmland remains at 75% of appraisal. Nebraskans historically have expected to vote on major school construction projects, LB 523 would force all school boards to honor those expectations.
Column 6-24-2021: Spending the COVID-19 Bounty
My time to write columns was limited this year as the legislative session moved quickly with all day bill hearings, followed by all-day floor debate. Responsible senators take time to read bills before they appear rapid fire to the floor for debate; others only vote the issue, vote for a friend’s bill or trade a vote and worry not about the policy content.
Due to the Federal Government throwing common sense and fiscal sanity out the window, they ran their money presses wide open and passed the resulting play money out like parade candy. Like we Americans are known to do, we spent those free-funds and we created an abundance of available sales and income taxes for state and local governments to spend. With a pile of tax dollars available, there were no impediments in the way of line-item budget increases, cutting taxes, or one-time spending projects.
On paper, the legislature did keep the line-item biennium budget increase to 2% annually, a distorted lower number because of four factors. Increased property valuations caused another shift to property taxes as the main source of funding public schools, causing a minimal state aid increase. The Governor returned $55 million to the General fund from his COVID Emergency Program because of the generous influx of Federal CARES Act dollars; he didn’t need to spend state dollars. The federal CARES Act also offset state appropriations for social-welfare programs. Finally, spending funded by transfers from the reserve fund never show up in the mainline budget; i.e. $20 million added to existing workforce housing funds.
The legislature wisely spent most of the excess tax dollars for one-time transfers instead of increasing annual programs that must be sustained. $396 million was transferred to the Legislature’s cash reserve fund, bringing the total to $808 million. We increased funds to the property tax relief fund by $63 million, a total of $313 million by 2023. Revenue growth was decreased by $467 million from the expected impact of the newly created Property tax Credit. We transferred another $115 million to address prison overcrowding.
We passed income tax cuts of $95 million, which is estimated to increase by $284 million over the next budget cycle. I supported the two largest cuts, elimination of state taxes on Social Security benefits and on military retirement benefits. I did not support the future $26 million reduction in corporate income taxes. I was not given a good reason why a state with the second lowest unemployment rate needed to cut corporate taxes. Some entity or person must pay taxes to pay for needed public services. When we are collecting excess revenues, I prefer to cut taxes on individuals as the better economic policy. At the moment we are not in need of more urban jobs, but we do need to increase workforce participants to fill existing jobs. There is no better way to encourage people to live and work in Nebraska than to offer them a lower tax burden.
Sales taxes were eliminated on residential water bills, ethanol production inputs, internet infrastructure, and some overlooked farm equipment. We also passed our LB664, which redirected
$8 million in general fund tax dollars–as intended–to rural fire districts who participate in Mutual Finance organizations.
We passed one time spending bills costing $66 million. The largest being LB388, spending $40 million for rural broadband infrastructure. The second largest is the initial $10 million for our LB40, the Nebraska Rural Projects Act. Over the next 10 years LB40 has the potential to put $50 million into rural job creation by funding industrial railroad park infrastructure. Lincoln County, with its ties to the railroad industry, is first in line for the guaranteed $30 million max that any single project can receive.
I believe rural Nebraska fared very well as to where the excess tax dollars will eventually end up. The legislature spent, cut, or put in reserve nearly $1.5 billion in taxes created by the Federal government’s financial reaction to COVID -19. What we didn’t address this year was the effect the Federal Government’s COVID policies have had on your personal freedoms. That is where my focus will be the final year of my term.
This past election cycle, we have had doubt cast on the trust that citizens have in America’s election system. Conspiracy theories range from altered foreign owned voter machines, ballot box stuffing, to outright rejection of legitimate ballots. Is there truth in any of the claims? I do know there is never smoke without fire, and that fire will spread unless you take away the source of the fuel.
Without a detailed long term federal investigation, the country will continue to smolder. I do find it curious that investigations have already been instigated into the January 6th Capitol protests that resulted in five deaths and vandalism. It is my opinion that a traditional American protest turned into a mob scene that escalated into violence. If the enemies of liberty can somehow turn an over-passionate mob scene into an organized conspiracy to overthrow the government, then as a nation we are closer than I want to believe to losing our freedoms. Meanwhile, any attempts to investigate allegations of voter fraud are shouted down by the national press and supported by elected officials who put their politics first. One would think that our federal courts and elected officials would want to assure the people that they can trust our election results.
Early voting is one area where I do believe we have allowed the election process to be distorted, perhaps not fraudulently but unethically. I introduced LB590 to reduce the number of days for early mail in voting from 35 days to 20 and to reduce in person voting at the county clerk’s office from 30 days to 15. The bill had its hearing in the Government Committee on February 18th.
Information on candidate positions can be exposed right up to Election Day, health issues can be exposed, candidates have died or withdrawn from races right up to Election Day. Meanwhile some citizens may have voted a month earlier.
There is a valid reason why our forefathers created voting booths at our local precinct. Voting is an individual right that should be a private decision. No one should be looking over our shoulder or coaching us as we fill out our ballot on our kitchen table. I have no qualms with organizations encouraging voter registration; for example, I have always admired the work of the League of Women’s Voters for having that as their main mission. What early voting has encouraged is the creation of organizations with rabid political philosophies-ACORN was one you may have heard of in past elections-who harvest votes as their mission. They go out in communities to register voters, then encourage them to request mail in ballots and return later to help the voter fill out their ballot. Is it fraud? Legally NO. Is it unethical? YES.
We have always made allowances for those who cannot get to a voting precinct on Election Day. The ability to vote by absentee ballot and voting a few days early at the county clerk’s office are both legitimate extensions of the right to vote, but with freedom comes personal responsibility and one should be expected to make an effort to vote on Election Day. By allowing long pre-election voting periods we have extended the harvest season for unethical political groups to influence election results.
As time goes on, this issue will continue to degrade our election process. Political parties and special interest groups will have no choice but to join the door to door pre-election harvest of votes.
Column 1-28-21: Assault on Political Free Speech
On my office wall I have the Mark Twain quote “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” It is there to remind me that many times, legislation that is intended to offer security to one often restricts the freedom of another, which also reminds me of the oft repeated Ben Franklin quote “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Thomas Jefferson paraphrased the same thought by saying “any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
The national political conversation has swung towards the pursuit of restrictive security policies at the cost of liberty. Even though the COVID-19 vaccine has arrived and we are quickly reaching natural herd immunity they continue to push for restrictive facemask policies, ignoring the fact that virus infections have spread at an exponential growth rate despite present mandates. Presently many are pushing for vaccination mandates, even for those who have acquired natural immunity, restricting personal health choices, parental rights, religious freedom, the right to associate with whomever we choose, and place restrictions on where we wish to gather. As a local example, LB447 was introduced in the legislature this session. The bill removes a parent’s right to exempt their children from vaccine requirements when enrolling them in a childcare facility. By the discretion of the Health and Human Services Department, the COVID-19 vaccination could easily be required in the future.
Censorship of political speech is being administered by mega-worldwide internet venues. Publishing companies are creating a blacklist containing the names of former Trump administration officials, agreeing not to publish their works. Our new president is being advised to have groups who disagree with his administration’s agenda be investigated by federal agencies. This legislative session, LB637 Has been introduced to give more power to regional health department bureaucrats , thus taking away the ability of local elected officials to balance individual freedom and public safety, a trend that mirrors the socialist model of the European Union where faceless bureaucrats embedded in government agencies manage the lives of Europe’s citizens.
During the presidential inauguration week there was a State Patrol SWAT team of 20 or so officers stationed at the Capitol. The National Democratic Party hired four private security contractors to roam the halls during the week. Why? Because of political fear mongering and of a rumor that the property damage done at the U.S Capitol two weeks prior by protesters, could happen at state Capitols across the country. Of course the Capitol was peaceful, with a few demonstrators on the streets outside, which is not uncommon for a society that embraces free speech. So why did a few state senators push for such drastic security measures? The simple answer is the old political axiom, perception becomes reality. The press reports the presence of SWAT teams and the perception to the public is that a threat was averted, when no such threat ever existed. By creating the perception that certain political views are a danger to society, those who wish to oppress your freedom can pursue restricting your liberty through measures they claim will secure your safety.
The assault on the political free speech of your elected officials is not only happening in Washington. This session, a rule change was proposed by a senator to silence free speech on the floor of the legislature. It effectively employed the old political ploy of throwing mud (accusations) at a political opponent and when put in a position to defend themselves, some of the mud may stick; again perception becomes reality. The proposal failed, but the fact it existed had a chilling effect on free speech in the legislative chamber.
We live in troubled times, where attacks on liberty are driving the prevailing political winds. Since I have been a senator, I have had two credible death threats, have had disgusting packages delivered to my home containing candy formed in the shape of male genitals, middle fingers, etc. I have received hate mail and slanderous distorted emails have been sent to other senators attacking my free speech rights. I have had thoughts of quitting, but I always come back to John Adams’ “liberty, once lost, is gone forever.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 402-471-2729
Thursday the legislature will be debating proposed changes to the rules that they operate under. The rules Committee chaired by Senator Clements is bringing three proposed changes to the floor. Two are minor changes, the other is to require that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited as part of the opening of each legislative day. Presently it is an afterthought done before the legislature starts its day. There will be floor amendments introduced, debated on, and a recorded vote taken. A floor amendment will be brought to require a recorded vote for Chairmanship of committees. Presently in the proceedings of the Unicameral, this attack on open-government is the only dark moment when the lights of transparency and accountability are shut off and the people are denied the right to know how their state senator voted. This unethical practice began in the 1970s– prior to then, chairmanship votes were public and recorded.
That this is even an issue has always amazed me. How can any elected official be against transparency? Nebraska citizens agree-I have never received so many personally written emails pleading for support on an issue. They demand to know how their senator votes, they demand that the legislature uphold the edicts of our state Constitution. Article III sec. 11 clearly states “all votes shall be viva voce” (meaning voice vote not written). In the same section the Constitution does allow for secrecy in the proceedings of the legislature, allowing for debate on a matter not be entered in the journal or the doors of the legislative chamber may be closed if the business at hand “shall be such as ought to be kept secret,” but never does it allow for secret written votes as is done for the election of committee chairs, even if the debate on a matter is deemed to require secrecy, the vote on it is not, as the Constitution states “…and the yeas and nays of the members on any question shall at the desire of any one of them be entered on the journal”. The Constitution is clear, there is no way around the requirement that all votes shall be voice votes and able to be recorded by the request of a member.
So why in the past when this matter has come to a vote, has a majority of senators continued to support an obviously unconstitutional practice that blocks the people’s will for transparent and accountable government? The answer lies in the dark side of human nature, a secret vote allows one to accomplish personal vendettas, it allows a senator to trade votes that differ from the wishes of their constituents, and it allows liars to profit from their lies. Human nature does not change with elected office, if anybody needs the guidance of transparency, it is a politician.
As a sidebar, in my election for Education chair, the first round vote was 24-24 with one casting a blank ballot. I had believed I had the 25 votes needed, of course due to secret ballots one individual was able to lie and hide behind the senators who kept their word. In the second round of voting, the old unicameral inside joke that “the only day of session when there are not 49 senators but instead 50” came to fruition. 50 ballots were cast, my opponent received 25, I received 23 and there were 2 blank ballots cast. Ironically mirroring what is happening on the national level, and again proving why the legislature should have the integrity to return to a voice vote for chairmanships. Transparency deters bad behavior.
As the 2022 elections loom around the corner for Nebraska’s governor and other state and local offices, the vote to change the rule on chairmanship votes will tell voters a lot about the character of state senators who may be seeking other offices or reelection. If a senator does not support public votes on chairmanships, a voter should have legitimate concerns on what other issues will that candidate rationalize that for their own good, it is best to keep citizens uninformed.
I will vote for transparency; secret government actions breed suspicion, not trust.
Contact; email@example.com 402-471-2729
As you may have heard, I am no longer the Chairman of the Education Committee. The political winds that have changed Washington have also altered the direction of the Nebraska Legislature and the loss by conservatives in two very close legislative races this past November laid the groundwork for my loss. There are always those in the political world who have no core values and they drift between political alignments that will benefit their lust for political victories and to satisfy their simple greed. Due to secret chairmanship votes, two senators who told me they would vote for me, did not. I have always opposed secret votes in government, mainly because I hate to see the distrust it builds among colleagues and it allows liars to profit from their lies.
For four years I successfully plugged the hole in the dam that held back the secular humanist assault on the few parental rights and religious freedoms that remained in our government funded and controlled public schools. Prepare now to see legislation pass in the next two years that will inject psychologist, mental health therapist and social workers as authoritative figures between parents and their children in public schools. Prepare to see programs put in place that will give credence to already existing policies that teach children to identify themselves not as a fellow human being with the same God given rights but instead by their physical or psychological identity: race, biological sex or a perceived sexual preference. Last, but not least, prepare to pay higher taxes to fund the influx of all the new authoritative figures it will take to further divide your religious and moral influence from your children. Personally I am glad I’m on a new path, like a good soldier I did my duty, but the personal attacks I received and having to listen to the lobbyist of the Education establishment as they spoke of your children as if they were government chattel to be managed and formed into the image that is acceptable to government overseers, wore on my ability to be civil.
After what I have experienced and learned about the Education establishment’s agenda for our children, I have advice to anyone who believes family should be the ones to guide the way their children should go. Unless you know the beliefs of your child’s teachers or the character of the school board members, get your children out of public schools. Tuition at a private school or hiring a tutor will provide greater returns in your children than saving for a family vacation to Disneyland. I plan to return to my populist conservative roots and be the voice and eyes of the average Nebraska citizen. Around the legislature there is a collegial movement meant to control the free speech of senators and to control the message that the public hears coming out of Lincoln. I believe my first responsibility is to you the citizen. Collegiality to me is fulfilling my duty to inform you of any cronyism, vote trading or incestuous committee deals that I see happening in the legislature. Practices that are intended to advance legislation that does not represent the will of the majority of Nebraskans or may harm the rights of the minority.
I am again free to be an advocate of truth and honesty and focus on being a protector of your liberty. I must say, I find my new situation, to be an exhilarating feeling of freedom.
Contact Senator Groene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-471-2729
Column 12-17-20: Policy vs. Politics in the Legislature
Sometimes one wonders if elected office is worth the time and stress. I have a passion for truth and honesty, I also advocate for open, transparent and accountable government, traits and beliefs that often do not mesh with political expediency.
Having been on the Education Committee for the past six years, the past four as the chairman, I thought I would look back at some of the highlights that may have warranted the time and headaches.
2015-16 biennium-session: Senator Sullivan was the Committee Chair; she, a registered Democrat and I a Republican, became allies on most issues. Committee Priority LB959 came out of committee with the minimum 5 votes needed. Besides other improvements to the school funding formula, we eliminated a provision that required schools to maintain a minimal tax levy in order to receive their income tax allotment, justifiably rewarding school boards who control their spending.
2017-18: My first term as Education Committee Chairman. Committee Priority LB512 was passed, it included a provision to limit early retirement bonuses given to school employees to $35,000; previously, bonuses over $100,000 were being seen. The Committee amended into the bill legislation introduced by progressive Senators Pansing Brooks, Wayne, Walz, and Morfeld, disproving any claims that as chairman I do not work with senators who may have different political philosophies. The Committee also advanced Pansing Brooks’ LB645 and 1052 to include dyslexia as a consideration for special education help.
In 2017 we helped Senator Linehan pull LB651 out of a locked 4-4 Committee to the legislative floor; it required schools to assess student reading skills annually through the third grade and, if found deficient, work with parents to create an individual reading improvement program. In 2018 the legislation was then amended into Committee Priority LB1081 by a 33-0 vote.
When Appropriations Committee Chairman Stinner requested the Education Committee cut state aid to schools to match the Appropriation Committee’s budget, we, unlike in the past, made sure all schools were treated equally with the enactment of LB409.
2019-20 biennium session: 35 bills came out of committee; 27 were advanced to General File, 7 were amended into other bills and one was brought out by pull motion. 19 of those were introduced by senators with progressive leanings and 16 by senators who would be considered conservatives. I fail to see any political bias in those numbers, and am proud of my work to try to keep the committee non-partisan.
Passing good legislation takes time, an example is Senator Slama’s LB399–the civics education legislation. The bill began in 2016 as an effort by then Senator Krist to require the civics portion of the United States naturalization test be a prerequisite to graduation. Over the next 3 years it evolved into a comprehensive redo of state statutes requiring that certain history, civics and social studies standards be taught and assessed in our public schools. In 2019 the Committee was finally able to get it over the finish line with the Governor’s signature on it.
With the support of associations representing school boards, school administrators and teachers we introduced LB147 as an effort to create comprehensive school employee training for behavioral awareness, de-escalation and intervention. A funding source was proposed through state lottery fund resources. We defined what is expected of school personnel when students or others are threatened with harm by an aggressor. We clarified legal and employment protections they had when it was necessary for them to do the right thing in their role as custodial caretakers of our children. Due to a locked 4-4 committee, the legislative body pulled the bill from committee, and this past year we fell one vote short of the necessary 33 votes to overcome a filibuster. The refined legislation will be back next year; as I said, good legislation takes time and sometimes extraordinary effort.
Presently, hardcore politics is ruling the day, and I may or may not be Chairman of the Education Committee next year. I prefer to be Chairman but in two years, when done with my stint in public service, my family, friends and foes will know I left with my principles and integrity intact.
Contact Senator Groene: email@example.com; 402-471-2729
The Facts on the Dustup Over my COVID Infection
Friday Oct. 23 I attended a special HHS committee meeting in Lincoln and returned the next Tuesday for an Education Committee hearing, staying the entire week to work on legislation. I was informed on Friday the 30th by the Director of HHS that two of the testifiers on the 23rd tested positive for COVID. That same day one of my staff texted me they were in quarantine because a close contact of theirs had tested positive. The following Monday I tested for the virus, Thursday I received a positive test result. I have recovered fully from minor flu-like symptoms. My HHS contact tracer agreed that with the timeline of my illness the most likely source was from my staff on the following Wednesday or Thursday after the Education hearing. Monday Nov. 9th the Chairman of the Executive Board informed me that rumors were rampant that I had COVID and was planning to come to the Legislative Summit that week.
To correct the rumors, I sent an email to my fellow senators explaining as best I could without involving others the details on my contracting the virus and to say I would not be attending the conference even though my quarantine was over.
The attacks on me originated from one statement I made, “I finally got my wish and contacted [sic] COVID…. As I suspected it would happen.” I based my preference to be done with COVID on CDC information. It became an issue when a senator who is antagonistic towards me Tweeted out my email to his followers and friends in the Lincoln press, making false accusations that I was irresponsible and knew I was infected when I attended the Education Committee hearing, I neither knew nor was I infected at that time. Hate emails from his followers ensued along with biased news articles.
I have based my response to COVID on CDC studies and statements.
–CDC stated from the beginning the need to slow down the infections in order to match hospital capacities and to allow time for new treatments to be developed. Social distancing was advised as the best precaution but when in close quarters a mask could give additional protection. I have emphasized social distancing. New treatments, including the recently released Bamlanivimab, have drastically reduced hospitalizations in proportion to infections. Evidence shows that infections have skyrocketed as more and more people have let their guards down when relying on unreliable masks.
–CDC’s and Fauci’s eventual goal is to reach herd immunity through natural infections in combination with the event of a vaccine. From historical virus outbreaks, I knew I would eventually come in contact with the virus and I was not at high risk for serious illness due to my strong immune system and having no serious underlying conditions. I did not pursue the virus; it found me and no other cases have been traced to me. By definition, all who have contracted the virus are now part of herd immunity.
–CDC Director Redfield repeatedly has referred to a 10 state study showing actual COVID cases are at least tenfold over the number of positive tests. Today that would be over 123 million, nearly 40% of the population, making the death rate .21% (not tenfold). Anecdotally from what I have heard from constituents I would agree with the CDC estimate.
–The vaccine will go first to healthcare workers, those who have comorbidities and older citizens–individuals who have an increased chance of serious illness when combined with COVID. Remaining citizens will have to rely on natural immunity or isolate until the vaccine is universally available later in 2021.
What I went through was a shaming; I was told I was selfish, irresponsible, and ignorant besides many other colorful terms. Why haven’t we heard from the millions who have successfully endured COVID and why have they avoided getting tested for COVID? My experience may explain it: they were either asymptomatic or out of fear of personal attacks and shaming from an ignorant mob who are told by Twitter, the internet and a biased press what to think in lieu of how to think. America is troubled!!!!
Contact Sen. Mike Groene: firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-471-2729