Retired educator Neal Clayburn seeking primary nod for 29th legislative district

Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 3:55 PM CDT
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The following responses have not been edited.
Name (also include name you’d prefer to be called):

Neal Clayburn

Preferred political party:


Current or most recent profession:


Tell us a little about yourself:

Neal Clayburn and his wife Shelley raised their family in Lincoln. Shelley is a teacher at Rousseau Elementary and Neal is a former teacher who also coached wrestling, football and track in Nebraska. He served in the U.S. Navy and was a summer program director for the Boy Scouts of America. Neal worked as the Executive Director of the Lincoln Education Association from 1991–2006 and served as Associate Executive Director of the NSEA until he retired last year. He is a lifelong advocate for children and education.

Neal has deep roots in Nebraska. After having the unique distinction of securing the nomination on both the Democratic and Republican tickets, Neal’s great-great grandfather Henry Clayburn served in the Nebraska Legislature in 1915. Neal’s grandmother was born in a sod house in Nebraska, and his grandfather was a professor at Peru State College.

Clayburn currently serves on the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America Cornhusker Council, the International Committee of the Boy Scouts of America, participates in the South Downtown (SODO) community engagement activities, is a Life member of the National Eagle Scout Association, and is a Leadership Lincoln graduate with Class XIII. Neal is a Legacy member of the Nature Conservancy and a member of Nebraska Conservation Voters. He holds a 1st Degree Black Belt from the American Taekwondo Association, has coached baseball and football for the YMCA Youth Programs and served as president of the Southwest High School Athletic Boosters. He is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the Sesostris Shrine, the American Legion and the Scottish Rite.

Members of Trinity United Methodist Church, Neal and Shelley have two adult sons and a daughter in law. Nick is a math teacher at Lincoln High School. Nathan is a Postdoctoral researcher at Amherst College, while his wife, Caitlyn Parmelee is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Keene State College.

Why are you running for this office?

I have always been interested in public policy and the legislative process. I retired last fall from the Nebraska State Education Association as a negotiator, organizer and advocate for teachers. The skills I used professionally will help me be an effective legislator for Nebraska. I believe I can make a difference for the people of the 29th District.

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? Yes, I support the actions taken by the State and local government to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. I do believe the legislature should take action to make it possible for them to vote and take action remotely, as long as there is transparency and the ability for the public to provide input. What is your message to the people of this district and all Nebraskans during this time of crisis? We need to listen to the medical professionals and scientists and follow their recommendations. How will you support the economy now and after social distancing requirements end? We need to look at policies that help will provide a positive business climate and create jobs. We also need to look at broadening the tax base and lowering tax rates. What other issues facing voters are most important to you as a candidate? I am concerned about ensuring funding for our public schools as well as making mental health services widely available. I also believe we need policies that protect the environment, move towards renewable energy, and apply science to deal with the issues and problems raised by climate change. I want to look at policies that create jobs for working families and give all Nebraskans access to health care. Why do you consider yourself the best person to address the needs of voters in your legislative district? I believe my community involvement; my professional experience and my education have well-prepared me to be an effective legislator. How has your experience prepared you for this job? I have experience as a negotiator, organizer and advocate which will serve my 29th District constituents well. For the last ten years I have served as Chairman of the Board of the Educators Health Alliance, which provides the health insurance programs nearly 80,000 educators and their families. I know how important access to health care is. During my tenure with EHA we aggressively managed the program and never had a percentage premium increase in double digit and in two of the years we had a 0% increase in premiums. I also have extensive experience in community service through Scouting, Leadership Lincoln, YMCA programs and other groups. Raising our two boys with my wife Shelley has also provided me with valuable experience and understanding. What separates you from your primary challenger(s)? What about your potential general election challenger? I have the experience and skills to get to work immediately and effectively for the people of the 29th District. I am familiar with the legislative process and am collegial, which I believe is essential to effectiveness in our nonpartisan Unicameral Legislature. Is there any other message, statement or concern you’d like to address? Decisions today affect not only our daily lives in the short term, but also the world we leave for our children and grandchildren in the years to come. We need policies that build a good infrastructure for strong economy with good jobs. We need State support for education so we have great public schools for every child that prepare them for the jobs of the future. We are stewards of the environment and should pursue policies that protect the environment as we secure the resources that are necessary for a strong economy. The only way we succeed is to work in a non-partisan fashion, as Nebraskans, to build a future that works for all Nebraskans. We need to get this right. Find your Nebraska Legislative District here.

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