Weekly Column

**Due to the state work period, there is no audio of this week’s column**

Recently I have been traveling the Good Life. As you might imagine, I always treasure these opportunities to visit with Nebraskans.

During the first week of a two-week state work period, I met with many people, organizations, and businesses in eastern Nebraska to find out how I can best advocate for them in the U.S. Senate. I’d like to share some of what we discussed with you. 

On Wednesday, March 31, I stopped by KLIN in Lincoln to talk with Jack Mitchell about the importance of bipartisanship in the Senate. Nebraska has a long tradition of respecting the rights of minority views in the Unicameral, and I have been concerned about recent attempts in Washington to abolish the filibuster, the greatest protection the political minority has in Congress. 

As old as Nebraska’s tradition of bipartisanship is, the filibuster is even older. It would be a mistake for Democrats to abolish it the moment they find themselves back in power. The federal government could learn from how we do things here in Nebraska.

That same day, I also talked with UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green and the Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), Michael Boehm. They have exciting plans for UNL, and Innovation Campus in particular. I talked about the great work going on at IANR and Innovation Campus in my last column, and I look forward to working with UNL to help them achieve their goals.

On Thursday, April 1, I drove up to Blair, where I visited a few local businesses, including Blair Meat Market and Prairie Star Botanicals. Also among my stops were Bra-Ta Boutique, an adorable clothing store named after a combination of the names of the owners’ two children, Braden and Taylor, and Butch’s Deli, where I had the best chicken salad sandwich. And I stopped by the Washington County Food Pantry at Joseph’s Coat.  Denise Goddard and her team of wonderful volunteers have done an outstanding job of caring for their community over the past year during COVID-19 and are wonderful examples of neighbor helping neighbor during tough times. It was an honor to talk with them about their work.

One of my favorite visits was to The Chocolate Season, a chocolate and coffee shop in South Lincoln. I loved the chance to try owner Erika Jensen’s products and I learned a little about the innovation and science involved in her delicious creations. We talked about how the pandemic has affected small shops like hers. Like many small business owners, she had to rethink and replan her business model last year, and she’s looking forward to making 2021 their best year yet.

I believe that maintaining an active, open dialogue with Nebraskans from all walks of life is one of the most important things I can do as your U.S. senator. While on the road in the state, I tour schools and businesses and I often meet privately with individual Nebraskans about challenges they may be facing. Building and maintaining good relationships is also why I have written this column nearly every week for over 15 years, starting my first week in the Nebraska Legislature. These columns are my way of keeping you up to date on my work – but also sharing the treasures and hidden gems of our state and showcasing the entrepreneurship and creativity of the work of our people.

I also want to remind you that if I don’t get the chance to visit with you in person when I’m in the state, please know that you can always reach out to my staff. We have offices in Scottsbluff, Kearney, Omaha, and Lincoln. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.