State Sen. Kate Bolz seeking Democratic nod in 1st Congressional District

Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 10:11 AM CDT
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The following responses have not been edited.
Name (also include name you’d prefer to be called):

Kate Bolz

Political Party:


Current or most recent profession:

Social Worker

Tell us a little about yourself:

A proud 6th generation Nebraskan, Kate Bolz grew up on a family farm near Palmyra, outside of Lincoln. She has represented south central Lincoln in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature since 2013.

In the Legislature, Kate works with both Republicans and Democrats to deliver an annual balanced budget that reflects Nebraska’s priorities. Her colleagues elected her to serve as vice chair of the Appropriations Committee, which develops that budget. She is also a member of the Legislature's Executive Board and Retirement Committee. She also serves on several special committees, including as chair of the Economic Development Task Force, and as a member of the Children’s Commission and the Department of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee. In addition to her legislative work, Kate was the Executive Director of the Nebraska Association of Service Providers, an association of community based disability service providers across the state. She is also an adjunct professor at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She is a Meals on Wheels Volunteer at Tabitha, and an active member of both her hometown church, the Palmyra Presbyterian Church, and of First Plymouth Church in Lincoln. Kate earned her bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Why are you running for this office?

I care about my neighbors and my community. My whole career has been focused on serving others. That's why I ran for Nebraska Unicameral Legislature and why I have worked with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to get things done for Nebraskans during my eight years of service. I intend to take my commitment to public service to Washington, D.C. to work for you. Health care and jobs are the focus of the nation in response to Covid-19 and these two issues have always been my priorities. I am committed to prioritizing health care affordability and access, including protecting and growing access to health insurance coverage, affordable prescription drugs, and quality health care services, especially in our critical access hospitals. In contrast, Congressman Fortenberry has voted repeatedly to end healthcare access, jeopardizing protections for 768,000 Nebraskans with pre-existing conditions. I am committed to prioritizing good jobs and growing our agriculture industry. Our nation will require a comprehensive economic growth strategy to get people back to work, including retraining opportunities and infrastructure investments to stimulate growth. Our agricultural industry must be a part of the response, ensuring that producers have resources to weather economic volatility and rebuild global markets. I’m running for Congress because Nebraskans deserve an independent minded leader in Congress that they can trust to put their health care and economic stability first.

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?

Congress must act quickly to pass the next Covid-19 response package, including additional resources for small business payroll protection programs and disaster loans and grants, relief for health care providers and support for suppliers, increased testing, and support for states, tribal governments, and municipal and county governments. Congress must also re-open the Affordable Care Act marketplace to provide access to health insurance coverage. Our Congressional delegation should also push the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services and Governor Ricketts to implement the voter-passed Medicaid expansion initiative as quickly as possible.

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

Thank you to the families and neighbors who support one another, local leaders who solve problems every day, health care professionals taking care of us, emergency responders, grocery store workers, child care providers, teachers, truck drives, and other workers serving our needs.

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

First, our nation needs a comprehensive plan for rebuilding the economy as we address the impacts of Covid-19. This will be an ongoing process. The overall frame must be not only to get people back to work and stabilize businesses, but also to make the U.S. economy even more competitive. There is an opportunity to invest in training and industries that will better position us in a global economy. Strategies should include but will not be limited to:

1. An emergency response that includes ongoing support of workers through the unemployment insurance system, small business payroll protection and emergency grants and loans, and access to health insurance coverage for anyone who needs it.

2. Worker training and re-training that focuses on on-the-job training in in-demand fields like health care, and opportunities for workers to increase their skills through apprenticeships, certificate programs, and higher education.

3. Investments in renewable energy to both create new opportunities for workers and businesses and increase sustainability in our energy system.

4. The agriculture industry must be an important part of relief policies developed in

response to Covid-19, including payments to agricultural producers impacted by the virus and ensuring oversight of prices. We also must expand and make permanent disaster programs and commodity support and federal crop insurance programs as well as

expanding access to capital and loans for small and family owned farms. Additionally, work must be done to open up new markets and lower trade barriers to the world’s consumers.

5. Infrastructure investments, particularly for rural America, including broadband and repair

of roads and bridges. Broadband must be a priority in a technology driven global economy.

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

The high cost of prescription drugs must be addressed. I support policies to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate for lower drug costs, establishing a maximum

out-of-pocket limit for Medicare recipients, and improved drug cost transparency.

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

We need to bring common sense and common ground back to Washington, D.C. in order to protect the health of Nebraskans and get people back to work. I will stand up to special interest groups and partisan politics and instead work in a bipartisan manner to serve the people of Nebraska.

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

First, the Covid-19 global pandemic has illustrated the importance of access to affordable health care. In my Legislative career, I have been a steadfast advocate for health care and will continue to vote to protect access to health insurance, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions. In contrast, Congressman Fortenberry has repeatedly voted against health insurance coverage, including coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and has voted against legislation to address the high cost of prescription drugs. Nebraskans can trust me to fight for their health care in Congress now because I have never wavered from my commitment to health care access and affordability. Second, as a member of the Nebraska Unicameral’s Appropriations committee, I have spent the last eight years ensuring a balanced budget that also funds our state’s priorities - in spite of challenging economic times. As a Member of Congress, I’ll take the same approach to fiscal responsibility. The United States has soared to over $22 trillion in debt over the last decade while Congressman Fortenberry has been in office. Today, in the face of a global pandemic we both carry significant debt and the related economic consequences of recovering from the impact of Covid-19. First, we will need to continue a robust recovery strategy - including infrastructure development and job training. Second, we must develop policies that build on lessons learned. We need to establish debt reduction goals and a national savings strategy for difficult economic times.

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