Omaha World Herald: Nebraska Lawmakers Sing Praises of the State on Capitol Hill

Mar 3, 2017
In The News

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate offered an official happy birthday to Nebraska on Wednesday as the state hit the big 1-5-0.

Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, both Nebraska Republicans, sponsored the resolution that passed unanimously. They also delivered lengthy odes to the Cornhusker State on the Senate floor.

There was talk of Chimney Rock, of wagon ruts across the prairie, the Homestead Act, winding trails and trout streams, of night skies filled with stars.

Fischer quoted Willa Cather and pointed to Standing Bear’s fight for civil rights.

She said Nebraska’s story is the story of America and noted that Nebraska’s statehood initially was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson over voting rights for African-Americans.

“By bringing Nebraska into the union, our country turned away from slavery forever,” Fischer said. “We turned towards the truth about humankind: That everyone is precious in heaven’s eyes. By making Nebraska a state, America reached for a future more closely aligned with that truth.”

The Nebraska senators talked up the state’s metropolitan areas, its advanced medical capabilities and booming businesses, its unique State Legislature and its love of college football.

Sasse said Nebraska looks back on a history “built by grit” — reflected from the homesteaders who settled the state to the high-caliber teams that have played at Memorial Stadium and the fans who have cheered them on.

“Today we celebrate all those things that make Nebraska special — hard work, resolve, and love and care for our neighbors,” he said.

On the other side of the Capitol, Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., offered his own commemoration of the day.

“From the Sand Hills of western Nebraska to the many neighborhoods of Omaha, one can see each day the evidence of the extraordinary industriousness of my fellow Nebraskans,” Bacon said.

In another floor speech, Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., said celebrating the 150th anniversary honors the legacies of pioneers who took great risks to pursue opportunity.

“The pioneer spirit is still alive and well today, which is one of the many reasons the Good Life is such a great place to live,” Smith said.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., said Nebraska has a special place in America’s history.

“We rightfully pride ourselves on the values of hard work, community life, and the stewardship of our resources,” he said in a statement. “The mystique of the Great Plains, the nobility of the family farm, and the vibrancy of communities create the conditions for the Good Life. Nebraska is a great place to live, work, and raise the family. Our story is one of strength and dignity, and I’m proud to celebrate our 150th birthday.”

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