Weekly Column

Sep 06 2022

Nebraska Travels

Every August, I always enjoy traveling the state to visit directly with Nebraskans. Taking a moment to speak with constituents, listen to their concerns, and talk about how we can best serve them is an important part of my job.

This year, I had the opportunity to travel through the western portion of our state and visit with folks in ten different communities. 

We started our travels in Gordon, where I visited the First National Bank of Gordon. The bank, like many other community banks across Nebraska, does critical work for the region. We also discussed their efforts to spur local economic growth, address affordable housing, and support the next generation.

It was also great to visit in Gordon with leaders at Open Range Beef – a leading provider of organic meat in the U.S. We discussed their collaboration with Nebraska ranchers to get great products to markets across the country.

Next was our roundtable discussion at Chadron State College at the Mari Sandoz Center. We focused our conversation on policies to help underserved communities generate new economic opportunities and retain talent in rural areas.

At another roundtable in Scottsbluff, I sat down with folks for an important discussion on teacher recruitment and skilled workforce training initiatives. I also met with a group of constituents to talk about retirement savings policy.

Making our office accessible for all Nebraskans is important to me. These roundtables and in-person sit-downs, which I do often all across the state, are a great opportunity to connect directly with constituents where they live and work. Meeting with individuals in Nebraska ensures no one feels that they have to travel all the way to Washington to share their perspective.

When I visited both Alliance and Sidney during our travels, I stopped by their state-of-the-art critical access hospitals. This special designation for hospitals ensures there are facilities that can provide rural communities with high-quality healthcare.

In Kimball, I received updates on a number of exciting economic developments. From the CleanHarbor’s expansion project to their new hospital development and the positive impact of the Sentinel (GBSD) project – there is a lot to be positive about in the community.

When I travel the state like this, I’m often reminded of the many dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to document and preserve their communities storied history. This is certainly the case in Ogallala and North Platte, which I also stopped by.

For example, the Petrified Wood Gallery in Ogallala has put together an incredible collection of Nebraska artifacts and art. I appreciated the opportunity to tour their exhibits and see the centuries of history represented there.

Then there’s the Lincoln County Historical Museum in North Platte. They have put together a wonderful and comprehensive exhibit on the history of the North Platte Canteen – a World War II-era effort to offer food and hospitality to millions of service members. Earlier this year, I introduced a bill that would collectively award the Congressional Gold Medal to recognize the many individuals who volunteered or donated items to the Canteen.

Our final stop was at the Nebraska state fair – a wonderful annual tradition. As I said last week, no visit is complete without a trip to the always delicious Beef Pit. I hope folks were able to attend this year.

One common theme I heard from Nebraskans across our great state was the pain of rampant inflation. Family famers and local businesses are seeing their input costs rise, which in turn is making everything more expensive for constituents.

Throughout our travels, I spoke with a number of state press outlets. I always appreciate the important role local journalism plays in our state and their work to keep people informed about the latest developments.

This was another great work period, and I look forward to stopping by more communities soon.

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

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