Fort Report: Straight Talk from Nebraskans

Jul 7, 2017
Fort Report

No matter how busy the calendar in Washington, or how tumultuous the political climate, it is a July 4th tradition for Representatives to have time back in the district to listen to constituents. As always, I had a number of excellent visits and conversations during this July 4th work week. Perhaps the highlight was the July 4th Seward Parade. The community of Seward does a tremendous job as America’s “Fourth of July City.”
Here’s the good news. From health care clinics to manufacturing facilities to social service agencies to international businesses, a lot of local innovation is occurring.  People from the line worker to the CEO are all pulling together in exciting new initiatives.
Here’s the tougher side.
People are anxious. They care about the kind of environment--physical and moral--that we will be leaving our children. But, perhaps most significantly, they want Washington to work again. They are Nebraskans. They don’t think in a Republican or Democratic way. It’s not about being Left or Right.
Here’s what they are saying:
“We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
“Create jobs, lift people up.”
“The Congress is so dysfunctional. Learn to negotiate.”
“I don’t care about Republicans or Democrats. It doesn’t matter. We need to work as one hand for the people and this country. We have faith in you and your team to help.”
“No fair trade with China. It harms our manufacturing jobs.”
“My daughter can’t afford the $100 premium for Obamacare and has to pay the penalty. We need to eliminate the penalty for not having insurance.”
“I don’t like the federal government forcing me to do anything!”
“People are becoming too reliant on government.”
“Work toward solutions—not just being right.”
“Keep America first before corporate greed.”
“If we keep jobs here and people are working, we won’t have to worry about healthcare.”
“We need continued collaboration – pharmacy, mental health, and physical health all together.”
“We need to look at root causes so we can overcome generational poverty.”
“What’s going on in Northern Iraq with religious minorities?”
“Current situation is trying to force people to do things against their beliefs. We need conscience protection.”
“I am concerned about the level of government-by-Twitter and shouting at town hall meetings. We need assurance that there is a depth of thinking in Congress.”
“How can House deal with an issue when another crisis always happens tomorrow?”
“We all want to matter.”
“There is a direct correlation between self-worth and poverty.”
“You better come home early tonight, or you will be in trouble! It’s your anniversary.” (Call from one of my children).