LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) The following responses have not been edited
Name (also include name you’d prefer to be called): Jeff Fortenberry
Political Party: Republican
Current or most recent profession: U.S. Congressman
Tell us a little about yourself: I began my public service with a background in economics, public policy and small business. Before being elected to Congress, I was a publishing business executive and Lincoln City Council Member. I have a bachelor’s degree in economics and two master’s degrees, one in public policy. My wife, Celeste and I live in Lincoln, where we have proudly raised five daughters. In Congress, I serve in a leadership position on the Appropriations Committee as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Agriculture and lead numerous initiatives in healthcare, agricultural policy, and international security.
Why are you running for this office?
I believe that public service is an honorable and noble pursuit. Government has a decided role in creating the conditions for opportunity, justice, and peace. A truly good society depends on the willingness of persons to protect each other, care for the vulnerable, and take responsibility for family life and culture. Government sets the guardrails for a just and orderly society.
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?
Working rapidly and in a bi-partisan fashion, we passed the CARES Act with my support in Congress to support healthcare and protect the economy. Much of my time has been devoted to the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program for small business, solving problems for families, protecting our food supply, and developing a strategy for rapid deployment of testing in Nebraska through our excellent healthcare infrastructure.
What is your message to the people of this district and all Nebraskans during this time of crisis?
The suffering is great and the uncertainty is real. Our goal is to protect health, to protect families, and to protect small business. After we fight our way through this as a country, I believe we must strengthen our national security, stop devastating healthcare costs, and build a new vision for jobs, our environment, and our communities. We are here to help.
How will you support the economy now and after social distancing requirements end?
One clear consequence of the virus is the need for better coordinated health care structure. We are also highly vulnerable to unbridled globalization. Much of our medical supplies come from China. China’s interest in controlling information, rather than the spread of the disease shows the need to confront these realities and reset the conditions for our own security. Drugs and critical medical supplies should be Made in America.
What other issues facing voters are most important to you as a candidate?
My policy priorities center on national, economic, and family security. Supporting military readiness, veterans, and authentic diplomacy keeps America strong and safe. Restoring small business gives access to meaningful work and opportunity. I will continue leading bi-partisan initiatives to stop escalating health care costs, to properly steward our natural resources--and do my part to heal social fragmentation.
Why do you consider yourself the best person to address the needs of voters in Nebraska’s First Congressional District?
It’s about caring for people and getting things done. I believe Nebraska, with our unique cultural heritage of personal responsibility, hard work, and commitment to family and community, has much to give our country by way of example. Government exists to serve the people and governing requires many difficult decisions on complex matters. Our country is in grave need of creativity, imagination, and commitment to the ideals which bind us—a 21st century policy architecture with a strong vision.
What separates you from your primary challenger(s)? What about your potential general election challengers?
Elections are about choice. There will be a sharp contrast in this election about who best reflects Nebraska’s deep values, about who can deliver smart and effective government, and about who can problem solve in an imaginative way.
Is there any other message, statement or concern you’d like to address?
Go Big Red!