THE HILL: A Matter of Priorities

By U.S. Senator Deb Fischer

June 25, 2013

Recently, a great deal of attention has been paid to the question of whether or not women should – as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg put it in her recent book – “lean in” more in the workplace. A separate piece in The Atlantic magazine prompted women across the nation to ask, “can women have it all?”

In other words, can women achieve the pinnacle of success in both their family lives and their careers?

While the discussion of finding the balance between work life and personal life is certainly important, this question, in my view, misses the point.

No person – man or woman – can have it all. We make choices, set goals, and strive mightily to achieve them. Sometimes we fall short, but with the right mix of grit and grace, we can succeed with whatever path we choose. It’s a matter of setting priorities.

I am often asked by the media if my being a woman sets me apart as a legislator, or impacts my legislative priorities. My response is always the same.

Yes, I am a woman, but I am defined by more than my gender. I am a wife of 41 years and a mother of three sons. I am a daughter and a grandmother. I am a person of faith. I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I was a school board member for many years. I am a rancher from rural Nebraska, but I was born and raised in the city of Lincoln. I served for several years in the Nebraska State Legislature – the nation’s only non-partisan, unicameral state legislature. I am a commonsense conservative and I am a Republican.

In short, I am more than my gender, and I suspect the vast majority of American women feel the same way. My collective experiences make me who I am and guide my decisions. 

My time in the Nebraska State Legislature was a very important step on my path to the United States Senate. My service there taught me the importance of building relationships and seizing opportunities to work across party lines. At a time when the political climate in Washington seems more polarized than ever, these are critical skills needed to avoid gridlock.

My perspective as a U.S. Senator is also grounded in my proud background as a lifelong Nebraskan. I am fortunate to come from a state that enjoys the second lowest unemployment rate in the country. Like 45 other states, Nebraska is legally required to balance its budget, but unique to Nebraska is a constitutional prohibition from incurring state debt greater than $100,000.

Rooted in sound fiscal footing and commonsense policies that limit government spending to the amount it takes in, Nebraska’s economic success is no accident. My campaign for the U.S. Senate was focused on bringing these desperately needed conservative principles to Washington.

The American people – hardworking men and women – deserve a government that fosters opportunities to achieve the American dream by encouraging individual freedom, personal responsibility, and free market policies. Americans know that economic growth comes from a sensible regulatory environment that allows businesses to expand, thrive, and create jobs for the 21 million Americans who remain unemployed, underemployed, or have given up looking for work.

I believe in order for our country to change course toward renewed prosperity, we need a limited government focused on fulfilling its core responsibilities. These include Congress’s first constitutional charge: providing for the common defense. A limited government must also keep its promises to veterans, who have risked life and limb in defense of freedom.

A limited federal government has a duty to fund critical needs, such as maintaining a modernized infrastructure and providing essential disaster relief funding in a fiscally responsible manner. These are the values – Nebraska values – that I bring with me to Washington. And importantly, they are the values promoted by the Republican Party.

The Republican Party is open-minded and inclusive. It supports policies that promote strong families, strong wages, and a strong America at home and around the globe. American women are tough, intelligent, and capable. Regardless of political or ideological persuasion, we are smart enough to see through the smoke and mirrors – the pandering of politicians to so-called “women’s issues,” all while ignoring the kitchen table topics of providing for our families, or purchasing a home, or affording college. 

The vision of a limited, but responsible federal government isn’t a radical new concept. It’s tried and true – and it’s the Republican vision for a more prosperous America. Realizing this vision is a matter of doing what hardworking women across the country do at home and at work every day – it’s a matter of setting priorities.


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