I'm running for the Nebraska legislature because since I was a teenager my dream has been to serve in public office, so that I could fight for the interests of regular, hard-working folks.
I have lived almost my entire life in Nebraska, and growing up was not always easy. I was raised as the only child in a single parent household by my mom, who despite being in a wheelchair since before I was born due to a car accident on her way home from work, always worked her hardest to make sure I had everything I needed. I cannot even begin to understand how difficult this must have been, and I will forever be grateful to her for all she did for me.
From the ages of 4-13 my grandfather Fred lived with us after the family farm burned down. My grandpa was the toughest, hardest working man I have ever met in my life. He dropped out of elementary school to go to work on the family farm. He served on the front lines during the Korean War, and after he returned home, he worked long, hard hours in a factory to take care for my grandma, their four kids, and the family farm. Sadly, he passed away in 2013 after a seven month battle with cancer. My grandpa was a stoic man, and although I was never close to him as a child, as an adult I respect him greatly.
The struggles endured by my mom and grandpa stuck with me from an early age. They are the two most honest, hard-working people I have ever met, or expect to ever meet. Seeing their life long financial struggles, while difficult, helped me to appreciate and understand the hardships that too many people have to undergo. I credit growing up in these circumstances as one of the three defining reasons for my intense passion for public service.
The second reason was the Iraq War. When the war began I was too young to understand the situation. As I grew older I was appalled by the lies we were told about the war. We were told that Iraq had nuclear weapons that they were involved in 9/11. Those were lies. Iraq had no part in 9/11, and they had no nuclear bombs. Thousands of Americans who signed up to defend their country died because of lies. My grandfather fought to protect our friends in South Korea from North Korean aggression. These soldiers were being sent to fight to steal oil for corporations, and to pad the bottom line of defense contractors.
The third reason was the financial collapse of 2008. I recall developing an unusual interest in politics since I was ten, 2008 cemented that, and made politics my primary interest. I remember being enraged at the destruction caused to the lives of so many good people, because of the actions of a small, greedy and corrupt elite, who instead of being punished for their actions, were rewarded whereas millions of regular people had lost their life savings, their homes, their futures, everything. From 2008 forward I knew what the great mission of my life was.
No individual and no family should have to deal with both the loss of a loved one and be forced into inescapable debt for the rest of their lives, simply for trying to save their own life, or the life of someone they love.
Protecting our most vulnerable should be our highest priority, which is why I believe that Nebraska should ensure that children, seniors, veterans, and the disabled have 100% paid healthcare for anything not provided by the Federal Government.
Nebraska should join with other states that have legalized medicinal marijuana. In addition to bringing in revenue, as well as decreasing the number of people we put in jail, this would provide people a safe, alternative treatment to the dangerously addictive opioids that are killing 60,000 Americans every year.
Nebraska needs to begin putting high emphasis on treating mental illness. This is an issue we see play out almost daily with addiction rates soaring, as well as a shocking increase in the number of mass shootings.
Nebraska is known for having some of the most affordable schooling in America, but I believe we can go farther, and so we should lead the charge for affordable college across the country and move to abolish tuition fees at colleges, as well as trade schools.
This will make Nebraska a beacon, a place with a thriving economy where people can hone and apply their talents and passions without having to worry about crushing debt.
We should also protect our public schools and resist the attempts at privatization by charter school favored by corporations and the special-interest elite.
Middle-class people and small businesses are being squeezed by today’s tax code, which helps the ultra-wealthy at the expense of regular people. Because of this, I believe that we need to increase the amount of taxes paid by the rich in order to finance a tax cut for workers and small businesses.
Nebraskan taxpayers should not have to subsidize multi-billion dollar corporations who refuse to pay their workers a living wage. I believe we need to implement a corporate living wage, which will show that in Nebraska we expect a fair day's pay for a fair day's work.
I believe that Nebraska should take a cue from North Dakota and open a State Bank of Nebraska. This bank would be owned by Nebraska and would be responsible for investing in Nebraska by providing low interest loans to small businesses, as well as individuals.