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 believe that it is not only possible for Democrats and Republicans to work together, it is necessary to serve the best interests of the people of Nebraska. I bring a genuine commitment to working with my colleagues, listening to all parties involved, understanding the facts, and bringing together diverse interests to solve problems together.
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 believe there are both short term and long term solutions. In the short term, we can target our current Department of Labor and Education resources to train and educate workers for the science and technology jobs that are in the greatest demand. We can also increase existing tax credits for small business owners to help them expand. We can continue building our relationships abroad to build global markets. In the long term, we can make strategic investments in research and manufacturing in industries such as agri-science to develop a competitive niche in the global 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: Farmers and ranchers are facing ever increasing regulation. I trust that Nebraska farmers have the consumers best interests in mind. I think that we should reduce regulations and instead focus on expanding exports and growing innovative agribusiness. I think that building our capacity to produce renewable energy could leverage our strengths, such as wind and bio-fuels, and grow our economy.
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 first step is to implement a health care exchange that is specific to Nebraska. This health care marketplace should provide information so that people can find and get health insurance options that meet their needs. I also think that our state can pilot programs to incentivize positive outcomes for patients, rather than continuing our current system of paying for services, which frequently becomes duplicative and costly.
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 do not believe that discrimination of any kind is acceptable. The legal status of abortion is not something that can be changed in the Nebraska Legislature, but in the past there have been bills that had my support because the intent was to protect women and babies. I think that social issues and family values will always be important in Nebraska, but this election year, I think the economy is a priority to people in District 29.
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: The federal government must act on border security and reform our broken immigration system. Nebraska should continue to implement proven state level options like using the E-verify system to check worker employment status. Hospitals currently bear the burden of providing medical care to people without access to other resources, therefore, fiscally responsible choices, such as providing prenatal care to avoid costly neonatal services makes sense.
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: I think the greatest challenges facing Nebraska's educational system are keeping our quality high while also meeting the needs of all children. We can do this best by targeting resources directly into the classroom such as by retaining teachers with strong skills and maintaining reasonable class sizes.
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: I think that the pipeline can help us manage our nation's need for oil and gas and bring jobs, but that strong safety and liability protections should be put into place. We should find a route that avoids the Ogallala aquifer.
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: I come from a middle class, hard working family. I have earned the support of Lincoln's teachers and firefighters because I will represent the interests of Nebraska's working families. Also, my career in the non-profit sector illustrates that I have a genuine commitment to and understanding of Nebraska families.