Babs Ramsey running in Democratic primary to take on Fortenberry in congress

Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 10:27 AM CDT
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The following responses have not been edited.

Barbara “Babs” Ramsey

Political Party:

Democratic Party

Current or most recent profession:

IT Services

Tell us a little about yourself:

I grew up on a family farm in Northwest Iowa. At an early age I was feeding livestock, cleaning henhouses, and learning the hard work that goes into farming. For many years, I was a member of 4-H, showing pets, exhibiting art, and doing presentations annually at the Iowa State Fair. In 2012, I graduated with a degree in Information Technology. My internship led me to a job as a Technical Sales Engineer with a company that worked with county and city governments. This job took me all over Iowa and Eastern Nebraska. It allowed me to meet with government officials and constituents from rural and urban areas. I spent a lot of time listening to them. Often, I had to present researched technical ideas at public meetings. I also learned the hard facts of budgeting for local governments. In 2014, I was named to the MSPmentor 250 list for my work in government. I currently work for a non-profit hospital. In 2017, I moved to Bellevue with my fiancee, two sons, two dogs, and my cat. I immediately fell in love with Nebraska. I have spent my life listening to the concerns of those around me, and implementing practical solutions to help them. Through community action, government work, and non-profit service, I have always put the interest of my community first.

Why are you running for this office?:

Since the 2016 election, I have felt a strong urge to expand my service within my community. I have watched these past three years as the America we know and love devolve into a place of intolerance, and fear of the other. I have witnessed environmental protections be rolled back in favor of corporate interests. I have watched protections for the LGBTQIA2S community be challenged at the highest levels of government. I have witnessed women’s rights be challenged by legislation, blocking the right to choose and enabling businesses to fire unwed women. I have watched as families, who are seeking refuge from gang violence. be separated at the border. In the last year alone, I have watched our current delegation do very little to help Nebraskans. We have seen them vote against raising the minimum wage, vote against the Equality Act, vote against gun reform, vote against equal pay for women, and vote against helping families at the border. Growing up on a farm in rural Iowa taught me the value of hard work, of helping others. That in this nation, we must work together. That notion is clear, now more than ever. I will work to reform our healthcare system. I will work on behalf of our farmers, and fight for the family farm. I will work to advance the cause of women’s rights. I will work for immigration reform. I will work to protect our communities from gun violence. I will work to expand LGBTQIA2S rights. I will work for environmental protections. I am running to represent Nebraska’s first district, because we deserve a bold voice in Washington.

Do you support the actions taken by federal, state and local government officials to combat the spread of COVID-19? What, if any, changes would you propose?:

Public health is critical. That’s incredibly evident. At the federal level, we’ve seen a botched rollout of measures to support our communities. States and municipalities are seeking much needed support from the federal government. In most cases, they’re not receiving it. We needed preventative measures in place. We needed firm leadership to flatten the curve, and we needed it early on. What we’ve seen thus far has been something entirely different. Fortunately, many of our communities across this district have picked up the slack. While cities across CD1 have responded, I believe Lincoln has stood as a shining example of taking firm and aggressive action. Our best effort now is to support the direction of public health officials, follow the guidelines in place to the best of our ability, and support our neighbors.

What is your message to the people of this district and all Nebraskans during this time of crisis?:

While this moment is impacting each of us uniquely, it’s important to remember that we are in this together. There’s never been a more pronounced example of the idea that we are one people, one nation. Remember that some of us are able to thrive in this moment, we are financially secure. Others are struggling to make ends meet, to avoid evictions and job loss. Our healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, and other essential laborers are on the front lines keeping this country alive. Now, it is our job to set our differences aside and come together for the sake of our community, our neighbors, and to protect the most vulnerable among us.

How will you support the economy now and after social distancing requirements end?:

There are several policies that I have advocated for that will not only benefit our economy outside of this crisis, but would be beneficial right now. We need to support our laborers. Numbers blue-collar workers are being laid off. We need a national Homes Guarantee and to put a pause on rent and mortgages, as well as foreclosures and evictions. We need to implement a permanent universal basic income, to provide a social safety net to the most vulnerable among us. We need to redefine the economic status of gig workers — the ones who are delivering groceries and takeout to your doors. We need to implement a higher minimum wage. If we are going to declare our grocery store clerks as essential workers, then we must pay them as such. We need to implement Medicare-For-All. It’s clear that we cannot have a health insurance system that ties your ability to receive treatment to your employment status.

What other issues facing voters are most important to you as a candidate?:

I have presented a plurality of policy positions throughout the course of this primary race, some of which are listed above. Beyond these, I have always talked about taking action on climate change. Nebraska is no stranger to the devastating impacts of climate change. Our homes, businesses, and livelihoods are dependent on a more stable climate. We need to fight for the family farm. We have to battle back against the tariffs that have wreaked havoc on our local farmers, stand up against corporate agriculture companies, and get our farmers back to the fields. We must implement rural broadband. Yet today, internet access is not guaranteed in every corner of this nation. Those living in rural areas are most vulnerable. We need to revive the Community Broadband Act and declare the internet a utility. This will reverse the disastrous FCC classification, and allow municipalities to create their own internet service provider.

Why do you consider yourself the best person to address the needs of voters in Nebraska’s First Congressional District?:

Prior to social distancing guidelines, I traveled all across this district. I have continued meeting and speaking with voters — virtually. I have heard the very real concerns of those in our district who are struggling. Each and every policy I have proposed has been a direct result of these conversations. It’s clear that our district is in need of leadership. We need a representative in Washington who will stand up to the special interests, take on the status-quo that has left so many of us behind, and fight for meaningful policy reform.

What separates you from your primary challenger(s)? What about your potential general election challengers?:

My primary opponent has continually failed to address the multiplicity of issues impacting our district. She has no policy platform, no plan. When we are set to elect a representative to serve us in the highest levels of government, we need someone we can count on. Without the transparency of her platform, that will be difficult to do. Empty platitudes and vague rhetoric just won’t cut it anymore. This district demands and deserves leadership. We won’t get that with Sen. Bolz. My opponent has taken money from big pharmaceutical companies and the health insurance industry. She has taken money from TC Energy and supports the Keystone XL Pipeline. She has been endorsed by the NRA and she supported the abortion reversal bill in the legislature. What separates me is that I’ve only taken money from Nebraskans. I’m not beholden to the special interests. My policy platform is based on the concerns of the people of this district, the folks I’m asking to represent. It’s clear that Rep. Fortenberry is no better. He supported President Trump’s disastrous trade deal. He has an 18% lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters. He voted against raising the minimum wage. He continually voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He’s done very little to stand up for Nebraskas first district. As usual, he’s only most visible during election season.

Is there any other message, statement or concern you’d like to address?:

Our district deserves leadership. We deserve representation at the federal level. We need someone in Washington who will stand up for the little guy, who will fight for those who have been forgotten. I’m a working mother. I’m a middle-class laborer. I grew up on a family farm in rural America. The chips have always been stacked against me. But every time I’ve faced an obstacle, I’ve fought back. Here in Nebraska, that’s what we do. When the odds are mounted against us, we fight back. We deserve a representative in Washington who embodies that spirit. We will never agree on every issue. But here’s the one promise I have made: I will always put Nebraska’s First, First.

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