Sep 06 2017
** Click here to download audio of this week’s column**
Over the month of August, I enjoyed visiting with Nebraskans in many communities across our state. A vital part of my job as your U.S. Senator is listening to your concerns and suggestions about solving the problems facing our country. Families, community leaders, ag producers, businesses owners, and more all took time out of their busy lives to share their input with me. Now, I bring this feedback back to the U.S. Senate with me as we begin the fall legislative work period.
I traveled over 2,600 miles in our state during August making stops from Nebraska City to Chadron, Ainsworth to Red Cloud, and many towns in between. So far this year, I’ve held 16 Listening Sessions in metropolitan and rural communities, from Lincoln and Omaha to Kimball, Ord, and Geneva. These events give Nebraskans the opportunity to share their concerns with me directly and in person. I always start out with a short update on my work in the Senate and then turn it over to local residents for their questions.
Nebraskans are engaged on a number of issues, including the growing North Korean missile threat, our over-complicated, outdated tax code, and burdensome regulations from the federal government. They care deeply about our country, and they want to help make America a better place for our children and grandchildren.
In addition to my Listening Sessions, I hosted several roundtable discussions with Nebraskans. At these meetings, local business representatives and community leaders told me about the different projects they are working on. I spoke to service clubs in different communities, toured businesses, shared meals, and heard from Nebraskans all across our state. All of these were productive discussions about how we can work together at the federal, state, and local levels to pursue smart economic policies that will build and grow a stronger Nebraska.
Another highlight of the month was celebrating our state’s cherished past and its bright future. I toured the new National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud. It is such a treasure for our state to have national recognition for this brilliant 20th century Nebraska author and her impressive works. I also had the great opportunity to celebrate the dedication of the Heartland Expressway in Alliance. This expressway will provide a new pathway for our state’s producers to bring their excellent products to market.
On the topic of transportation, I welcomed U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to Omaha on August 22. We met with Nebraskans to discuss ways to turn infrastructure plans into reality. Secretary Chao and I spoke with representatives from the Nebraska Department of Transportation, leaders from the trucking, rail and aviation industries, city and regional transportation entities, and a number of construction companies that will build these projects about the barriers standing in the way of transportation improvements.
As the month wrapped up, I joined the other members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation at the State Fair for an agriculture listening session hosted by the Nebraska Farm Bureau. Every day, our farm and ranch families roll up their sleeves and work hard to produce the food and energy that fuels our state, our nation, and people around the world. This session was a good opportunity to hear from these folks about what they are looking for as Congress develops the next farm bill. After the session ended, I enjoyed walking around the fair and stopped by the Beef Pit for a delicious beef sandwich.
It was a wonderful and productive month in Nebraska. Thank you to all those who shared their feedback with me. I return to the Senate inspired by new ideas and full of energy to take on the wide array of challenges ahead.
Thank you for taking part in our democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.