Meet State Senator Jerry Johnson, District 23

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There is concern that ours has become a government of political parties - and not a government of, by and for the people. One viewer writes, I'd like to know what each candidate is going to do to help reduce partisanship and work with the opposite party to get things done in our country.

Q: Do you believe it's possible for Democrats and Republicans to work together efficiently and effectively? And if yes, how would you work to make that happen?

A: I have been successful in my business and city government careers by being a Consensus Builder and Building Relationship and I believe that can be accomplished in the Unicameral. People have different views in business, life, and politics which creates different side and labels us, thus we have Democrats and Republicans. I will us my Consensus Building skills in the Nebraska Unicameral.

Many Nebraskans tell us the Economy is their #1 concern. They are worried about staying employed or finding work, keeping up with the cost of living, and supporting their families. One viewer simply stated. "If we don't fix the economy, it really doesn't matter what your opinions are on anything else."

Q: How do you propose to improve the U.S. economy and increase the number of jobs for Nebraskans?

A: I agree that the economy & jobs are Nebraska Citizens Top 2 concerns. Most people also state that their concerns are reflective at the federal level. Smaller, more efficient government, lowering taxes and reducing regulations would help stimulate our local economy.

Agriculture is Nebraska's #1 industry. With the current proposed Farm Bill in limbo, there is much uncertainty about how it will affect the future of our farmers and ranchers.

Q: What do you believe is holding up a decision on the new Farm Bill and what do you think it will take to get it passed? What is the one thing you would definitely like to see included in or eliminated from the Farm Bill?

A: Our resources include water, rich farm ground, maintaining Family Farm Ownership and favorable marketing opportunities. Livestock friendly policies that allow us to produce food and protect our neighborhoods, grain markets through renewal energy plus global markets are vital, and educating our consumers the need and value of livestock & grain production to continue to provide food for our growing population. Renewable fuels are valuable to Nebraska’s economy and are needed to reach the government mandates for lowering on dependence on oil.

Federal Healthcare Mandate
It's been called many things: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obama's Healthcare Plan, and even "ObamaCare". Most agree it has been both controversial and confusing. Even the Supreme Court struggled with the plan's constitutionality.

Q: What is your solution for making certain Nebraskans have quality, affordable healthcare for themselves and their families?

A: The November Elections will undoubtedly affect how we move forward in managing healthcare so Nebraska needs to be prepared. Healthcare, regardless of the election results needs to set it was a high priority in the 2013 Legislative Session. I am not versed well enough at this time to propose the solution.

Civil Rights/Social Issues
Equal Rights, Same Sex Marriage, and the Separation of Church and State are all civil rights issues that tend to inspire strong feelings from those on all sides of the issues.

Q: Do you believe equal rights should be equal for everyone regardless of religion, race or sexual orientation? What is your stance on legalized abortion? How important do you think social issues will be in this election?

A: I believe we should have equal rights regardless of our religion or race but struggle with sexual orientation. Marriage is between One man and One woman and we need to find a way to provide equal rights to those persons that remain single.

Illegal Immigration/Amnesty
One of the most divisive issues in Nebraska is immigration. There are many strong opinions varying from immediate deportation for those here illegally to amnesty for all.

Q: Where do you stand on current immigration policies? Do you favor providing healthcare and other benefits to families who are here illegally?

A: If the Federal Government could, or would enforce the current immigration polices I believe state and local governments could manage the issue of illegal members of our society. I do not support providing funding for families who are here illegally.

More than 300,000 of Nebraska's residents are school-age children. They account for about 16% of the state's total population.

Q: What do you believe are the greatest challenges facing Nebraska's Education System, and how would you work to meet those challenges?

A: Developing stability in the funding of State Aid to Education and the timing of that certification. B. Too much emphasis on “state testing standards and assessments” Teachers have to teach to meet standards so you are average with all schools in the state and nation. With each district having different levels of low income/poverty/diverse backgrounds, it makes it difficult to teach evenly so the “test scores” look good. Local school districts need more control and flexibility.

Pipeline Controversy
The controversy over where, or even if, to build the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is primarily centered here in Nebraska. Many believe it's the solution to ending dependence on foreign oil, while others say it's not worth the cost to the environment or their property.

Q: Do you think the pipeline should be built? Why or why not?

A: It seemed like the pipeline was moving forward until people felt the concern dealing with the environmental issues. I support the pipeline and feel it will be safe and there will be enough checks and balances that it will not endanger our environment.

Special Interest Groups
Many residents have a negative perception about the political influence of Special Interest groups and "big money". They worry many of our elected officials are out of touch with the average citizen. According to the latest census, the median household income in Nebraska is about $49,000 per year, which is lower than the national average.

Q: How would you assure Nebraska's low and middle income families that you have their best interests at heart?

A: Super PAC’s are truly Special Interest Groups and I oppose them but I believe the Nebraska based organizations that work with the legislature have the best interest of all Nebraska citizens in mind provide a needed service to our governmental process and are concerned about the low and middle income families.

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