10/11 Sits Down With US Senator Deb Fischer

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This week watch exclusive interviews with US Senator Deb Fischer as she talks about how she's getting along so far and if she's keeping her promises to Nebraska voters.

Bridget Fargen traveled to DC to follow Senator Fischer around and will bring you the story you'll only see on 10/11.

As Senator Fischer settles into Washington, she's meeting with the Small Business Administration and making connections with other Senators.

Sen. Deb Fischer said, "One talent that I have is, that I've always tried to focus on relationships and develop good relationships with my colleagues so that when you have those contentious issues that come up you have a solid base of friendship and then you can work from that then."

Senator Fischer's only officially been in office a month, after being sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden on January 3rd. And she already knows there's a lot of pressure--from balancing and debating a budget to being a role model.

She told 10/11, "I know when we campaigned we had a number of men and women, fathers and mothers who would bring their daughters up and want pictures with me during the campaign and then it really kind of hits home that I guess you're a role model out there and it's overwhelming that people view you that way, but it makes it even more important that I do this job well."

Her advice for those young girls she took a picture with or anyone with aspirations of a career in politics, "I always say to younger people and older people, do what you love, and you're going to be successful then, and most importantly you will be happy."

Senator Fischer said it's an honor to be apart of a record 20 women in the Senate, but she doesn't want the it to define her.

"I usually try to move that conversation, because yes I'm a woman, a mother, a grandmother, but I'm also a Nebraskan and I'm from rural Nebraska, I'm a rancher I think geography, I think you're profession all plays into who you are, the person you are, how you make decisions, so I think it's more than gender, it's where you're from, it's how you were raised, I grew up in Lincoln, all that has a play into the person I am today and how I will represent the state."

As for a typical day in Washington, she works out of a small, temporary office and her time is scheduled in blocks.

Pointing at a typed out schedule Fischer said, "Right there is my typical day, we don't have too many breaks, it just is one meeting after another. It goes on, there's a second page."

Being a US Senator, Fischer knows her job isn't 9-to-5.

She said, "I've learned my staff it's not a normal job, last night I left at 7:45 and a lot of the staff they were still here."

In fact, she told 10/11, it's her staff that's made her transition so easy.

Sen. Fischer said, "We've been very fortunate that we've hired good people to work for the citizens of Nebraska so we have good staff here who understand the process, we're fortunate we have a few Nebraskans who came out and joined the staff."

But it's not all easy.

Sen. Fischer added, "Well there's long days and just trying to make sure that I have all the information I need so I can make good decisions."

She knows Washington is a bigger stage, but she told me she feels confident in our nation's capitol.

"Definitely a bigger stage, that's for sure, but no I haven't really gone to any other Senators for advice."

Sen. Mike Johanns her colleague in the Senate added, "She knows the legislative process, it's interesting to me, I observe her on the floor and she's not a rookie, she comes here with a lot of experience a lot of background."

And while she's happy in Washington, there's one thing she misses about Nebraska.

"I'm a new grandmother, we have our first grandchild a little girl Rachel, was born December 8th and so I haven't seen her since we came back new years eve so we're looking forward to going back to Valentine, going home for her baptism in early February, so being a new grandparent, all the grandparents out there understand that you want to hold that little girl as much as possible."

In the coming weeks and months, Senator Fischer and her fellow Senators have a big job ahead, she said, "We need to pass a budget."

Back in October, before she was elected, 10/11 asked her to share one campaign promise she could keep in her first 30 days in office. This is what she told us.

"We need to accomplish a lot in Washington, DC, I want to look at passing a budget in the United States Senate, first of all, it's been four years since one has been passed, we need to do that right off the bat. Then we need to address all the problems we're looking at, we need to address government spending, regulations, the tax code, deficit, trade, Obamacare, the list goes on and on."

During the sit down interview in Washington, 10/11's Bridget Fargen showed her that video clip and asked if she thinks passing a budget is a promise she'll be able to keep.

"I hope so, as I said earlier working with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid it seems now that we will see a budget come forward to the Senate, that has to happen and hopefully it will and when it comes forward, I hope that will be able to have amendments, I hope that we'll be able to have debate, we haven't seen a lot of that in the United States Senate in the last four years."

Until a month ago, she was an outsider looking in, so what does she think is stopping the Senate from passing a budget?

Fischer told 10/11, "I'm going to be blunt, it's the Democratic control. It's the leadership of Harry Reid. He determines as the majority leader what the agenda is, what bills are brought up for votes, we haven't really seen any votes brought up on tough issues in the past four years.

With the budget her top priority, Senator Fischer told 10/11 she's been working on a plan to cut spending, so we wanted to know specifics.

She told us, "We have to look at really what are the drivers of the spending, part of it is discretionary spending, those programs, but that's a small part, we need to look at Medicare, Social Security and how those programs can be secure and safe, but everyone understand that we also need to reform them too. Defense spending--we've seen almost $500 billion dollars in cuts already, could there be more cuts, you know that will need to be discussed as well."


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