Candidate for Governor
Running Mate: Al Davis
Tell us about yourself.
I am a Nebraska Native, Born in McCook, raised in rural Adams County and I raised my own family in Sarpy County. We also have a family farm in Clay County, Nebraska. My husband Joe and I have been married for 35 years and we have three adult children and ten grandchildren. We have lived in Bellevue for 30 years. By trade I write business plans and feasibility assessments and help with corporate training. Prior to that I was a director of a Sarpy County Chamber of Commerce.
Why are you running for this office?
It is clear Nebraskans want a governor who will work hard to bring our residents back together by inspiring hope and working to transform our divisions. We can once, again, normalize listening to understand each other when we talk about the issues that divide us. We can extend grace and seek out common interests to build a better Nebraska because when we find our common ground, we are strong. We can start to tear away labels that keep us apart and find ways to generate productive civic action and policies that benefit most Nebraskans, not just a small privileged few. This US vs THEM narrative is killing this country and running good government.
Together our voices are strong. We can work together to make a better Nebraska. Our shared future depends on us. We can work together to heal Nebraska from toxic polarization, one Nebraskan at a time. I know we can make this a reality because I refuse to participate in the rhetoric and was the only candidate who came out immediately with solutions and a platform for all instead to trying to anger the masses or create fear in voters. I believe when candidates do these things, they don’t really have to address the true issues that touch Nebraskans on a daily basis. This negative narrative is meant to distract voters. I bring a more effective type of leadership where we can bring all voices to the table, even when we don’t agree. My track record shows a long history of me doing this very thing.
What would be your top priority if elected?
Protecting Nebraska Ag after experiencing supply chain issues, drought, property rights issues and the recent threats of eminent domain. Provide sustainable tax relief. Implement long-term solutions to the overcrowding in Nebraska prisons. Push forward technology to protect the state from cybersecurity threats and streamline services to the public. Create a K-14 education that allows Nebraskans the ability to receive two years of community college to address workforce shortages. Tackle workforce holistically including childcare, housing, training and recruitment. Make Nebraska better for all.
What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
I served for eight years on the Bellevue City Council as the At-Large (city-wide) representative from 2008 to 2016. I was then elected to serve four years in the Nebraska Legislature in District 3 (Western Bellevue/Eastern Papillion), and re-elected to serve a second term. As a State Senator I have successfully brought forward over 30 items of legislation that has been successfully passed with strong bi-partisan support. While on the Bellevue City Council, I championed efforts that saved our local taxpayers over twenty million dollars. Prior to serving as an elected official, I served for decades as a community volunteer and advocate for a variety of area causes. There are too many to list, but include serving on the Bellevue Public Safety Foundation in support of our first responders for ten years (8 years as chair), serving on the Sarpy County Museum Board, serving as the volunteer manager of the Bellevue Farmers’ Market, facilitating food drives for area pantries and homeless shelters, facilitating events for area Veterans and Military Families, facilitating Period Poverty Drives for area schools and shelters, facilitating events at area assisted living facilities and much more. I believe it is important to serve as a steward in as many capacities as is possible.
Do you support tax relief for Nebraskans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?
I do support tax relief for Nebraskans but feel it is necessary to select methods that are sustainable and will create true relief, and not kick the can down the road as what has happened for several decades in Nebraska. It needs to be tackled in several ways. First of all, Nebraska has passed down unfunded and underfunded mandates to Nebraska subdivisions for decades. Counties are creatures of the state and when we hand down millions of extra costs, they have few choices to balance their budget and unfortunately the choice is to raise property taxes. Yet the state tends to create the illusion that they play no role in raising your property taxes. I encourage you to read my blog on my campaign website, for a comprehensive explanation on this issue. Secondly, we must fully fund our schools as the current TEEOSA formula is ineffective. Lastly, I would insist that Nebraska start implementing what are known as circuit-breaker threshold bills to reduce property taxes for Nebraskans including Nebraska Farms. Targeted tax breaks provide property tax relief when a taxpayer needs it the most and when a property tax bill exceeds a certain percentage of a taxpayer’s income, this is especially effective when Nebraska Agriculture experiences a crisis such as drought or when a family experiences a loss of income. This will set a strong foundation to allow us to address the bigger issue of how we change our overall tax structure.
Nebraska has consistently recorded one of the lowest unemployment rates during the pandemic. How would you continue the streak as governor?
I think it is very important that we point out that our unemployment rate is actually only those who are looking for a job. We can continue to keep Nebraskans employed and recruit new workers by restructuring our development strategies such as tapping into the talent pool of retired Nebraskans, continue to remove licensure hurdles to employment, support K-14 education that allows all Nebraskans the ability to receive two years of free community college or certification classes, encourage “grow where you are” programming in areas such as healthcare helping those already in the system such as housekeeping, intake, etc. go up the ladder to become nurses/techs/nursing assistants and more, grow programming that allows high school students to earn certifications and college credits while still in the K-12 system. Nebraska needs an inclusive economic development plant to move forward in dynamic industries to recruit from historically overlooked communities and provide good paying jobs. Nebraska must work on affordable housing options, invest in broader childcare options and create a welcoming environment for all.
What plan do you have to make housing more affordable for Nebraskans?
Nebraska continues to invest millions of dollars into workforce and affordable housing in both rural and urban Nebraska. In order to move this forward in a timelier manner, it is necessary to find creative ways to make this happen. Working together with local government tools such as inclusionary zoning and changing building codes to make it easier for stakeholders to rehabilitate older buildings, and create additional funding models. Nebraska can continue to embrace programming such as revolving affordable housing loan funds for affordable housing projects with a focus on transportation allowing those who live in this housing to have easy access to things like bus service, bike paths and walking paths when available. Nebraska needs to help local communities access tools such as buy-down programs that allows the fund to cover the difference between market rate and affordable rent and allows for more attainable housing units for the public. Nebraska is missing out on building artist communities, much as they have in Iowa. These development often work on a bonus equity basis where its residents build equity of up to $10,000 over a period of ten years and can then use those funds for a down payment on a future home. Lease to purchase programs also provide options for families to go from renter to home owner after 10-15 years. There are many creative options that do not involve taxpayer dollars, but do involve good legislation at the state level.
How would you address concerns from business owners across the state dealing with supply chain issues and labor shortages?
I feel I did address the labor shortage issue when speaking about the unemployment rate on an earlier question. With that said, one of the more simple ways to address our supply chain issues is to buy local. When you make your supply chain local and reshore, you bring your supply chain closer such as using local supply centers. In a global economy, many have sought their products using cheaper labor overseas. If we tap into our local power, we can be more resilient and source from multiple locations instead of one, encourage our businesses to hold inventory as safety stock, build back up capacity, clearly map out your supply networks utilize AI, when possible, to save money and time and make sure our infrastructure has continued investment because in a global society it is paramount that we have the ability to get from Point A to Point B, have easily accessed transportation systems such as rail or air and have appropriate access to broadband for all.
As governor, how would you address overcrowding within the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services?
Nebraska can’t build its way out of this crisis. It needs to be a multi-faceted approach. Although it is clear that new facilities are needed, we must work on decarceration strategies because the vast majority of those who are incarcerated will one day be our neighbors and rehabilitation is key to helping them integrate into our communities and become good citizens. Nebraska needs to work on Justice Reform that uses evidence-based practices and works toward successful reentry and integration into their communities. Continue to support pre-trial or deferred prosecution programming using problem-solving courts such as drug courts, veteran’s courts, and other focused courts that are combined with treatment options, incentives, drug testing and aftercare. Grow our centralized reentry planning using trained specialists with of being released instead of jamming out with now programming. Project our cost savings to our taxpayers using effective programming instead of only incarcerations to educate the public on the importance of protecting the public through rehabilitation.
Do you believe Nebraska’s elections are free, fair and secure?
Based on the data and science provided by our Secretary of State’s office and our local election commissioners, I do believe our elections are free, fair and secure.