As I got on the plane to return home to Nebraska yesterday, I had to maneuver with baggage in one hand and dinner in the other to get to my seat. After I was settled, the nice lady next to me politely said, "There must be an easier way." I replied, "Yes, I agree." I don't think she was referring to my seating struggle.
A medical doctor once asked me in a public forum if healthcare is a right. I paused, having not fully considered the question, and I've thought about this for a long time since. Fast-forward to last Monday’s town hall in Lincoln where I asked those gathered the same question. Is health care a right? Most in attendance boisterously said yes.
I once drank some Russian vodka. It was not ordinary vodka; it was special vodka laced with pepper. I rarely drink vodka. However, given my circumstances and in deference to my host, I decided to take it. It was very nasty.
For 150 years, Nebraska has held a special place in the history of America. Nebraskans take justifiable pride in the values of hard work, community life, and the proper stewardship of our precious resources. The mystique of the Great Plains, the nobility of the family farm, and the vibrancy of our people create the conditions for “The Good Life.” Our story is one of strength and dignity.
On my desk sits a pile of letters approaching one foot high. I have to be honest. I am behind, because every letter you send to me, I review.
Underneath the dome of our nation’s Capitol hang eight large paintings representing scenes from America’s beginnings. One painting depicts George Washington resigning his commission before the Continental Congress. The painting occupies a pride of place in our Capitol because it shows an extraordinarily profound and historic shift in the understanding of power.
Going through my mail this week, I read a publication from the Great Plains Trail Network, a dedicated group of people who enjoy, promote, and foster the growing network of hiking and biking trails in Lincoln. They provide an extraordinary service to our community.
On the wall outside my office hangs a framed copy of one of the first pieces of legislation I worked on. The bill increased the number of Iraqi translators who could come to the United States. Serving alongside our troops, these translators had put themselves and their families at grave risk in service to our country.
Our soldiers know this feeling all too well. Perhaps you have experienced it too. You are in a far off place with no one familiar around you, and then you see it and experience an instant feeling of connection—an American flag. At that moment, the flag is more than a piece of cloth with colored stars and stripes.
When presidents give their inaugural addresses, we are accustomed to lofty narratives, to visionary ideals, to sweeping language. President Trump spoke differently. The only sweeping thing in his speech was his reference to the wind-swept plains of Nebraska. Of course I perked up in my seat.