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Senate

voting info

Bob Kerrey

Kerrey is one of those rare politicians that always says what he thinks and feels. He is on point and has a deep and diverse knowledge base to draw from in order to tackle big issues facing our state and country like Social Security and energy independence without killing the environment in the process. While Kerrey says he supports the pipeline, he does raise concerns of eminent domain, water, climate and asks the fundamental question of "who gets the oil?".

As a Vietnam Vet and Navy Seal, Kerrey represents our troops and military families to ensure they have what they need before, during and after they serve. He supports health care reform and knows pieces of the legislation, like the employer mandate, need a second look to get it right. Kerrey is a big supporter of family farms and ranches and knows they not only feed our nation but can fuel our cars and homes with the right policies in place to support renewable energy and stop subsidies to oil companies. He will be a force to be reckoned with in DC. Folks respect and know him, which is critical to keep Nebraska relevant (and needed) at the national level.

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), Sierra Club

Deb Fischer

Fischer loves soundbites, but if you get beyond those first few sentences there is no depth of policy. Kind of like Sarah Palin, who Fischer lunched with recently, Fischer gets support from Koch brothers' money.  Despite the fact that 94% of Nebraskans have a favorable view of wind, and the district she represented in the Legislature has some of the best wind development potential in the U.S., Fischer has done nothing to develop or support this industry that could be worth billions in economic development benefits and millions in revenue for schools and local governments. At a hearing on wind, she was doing her best to find a problem with this homegrown energy, and testifiers kept having to reassure her they want and need wind.

Fischer wants to expand the use of coal fired power plants, supporting a resource that Nebraskans import from Wyoming at over $200 million per year. Fischer abandoned Nebraskans during the fight to protect the Aquifer and the Sandhills. Fischer said the route through the Sandhills was safe while other public officials questioned the route, eminent domain and how to best protect the land and water. She did not join the 21 bipartisan state senators who sent a letter to the State Department asking that they consider a route that avoids the Sandhills. She didn't even show up to the State Department hearing on the Keystone XL pipeline that was in her district. Her greatest (and worst) contribution to the fight between those of us wanting to protect Nebraska's resources and TransCanada was her 2006 loophole that left landowners vulnerable to TransCanada's threats of eminent domain. Fischer has no new vision for Nebraska.

Endorsements: Nebraska Farm Bureau, National Cattlemen's Association, Nebraska Right to Life, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. House of Representatives

voting info

Jeff Fortenberry (incumbent)

District 1

Fortenberry was a strong voice for Nebraskans questioning various aspects of the Keystone XL pipeline...and then he stopped. Last summer, he was the lone and bold Republican of 24 on a House Committee to oppose an amendment expressing support that the KXL be fast tracked. Fortenberry sent letters to the Secretary of State urging for the Department to conduct a thorough review of the environmental impact of the project and for them to move the pipeline out of the Sandhills and Aquifer, and he commended Gov. Heineman for urging the State Department not to approve the KXL. When it comes to being a New Energy Voter, Fortenberry has voted both for and against tax incentives for renewable energy and supports efficiency. He often voices support for the production tax credit for wind energy. He has voted for investing in homegrown biofuel and yet also voted against eliminating subsidies for multi-billion dollar oil corporations. Fortenberry voted to turn Medicare into a voucher system when he voted for the Ryan budget, a move that would quickly make it harder for seniors to have access to health insurance. Jeff has been a supporter of the local food movement as well as our state's agriculture--he was one of only 13 Republicans to cross the aisle and vote with House Democrats to pass the Farm Bill in 2008.

Endoresments: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), Americans for Legal Immigration, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Right to Life

Korey Reiman

District 1

As a Congressman, Korey wants to create "jobs which advance energy independence through funding light speed rail, wind and solar energy, and clean coal." He believes the government plays a critical role in supporting these industries. Because of Korey's clear support for renewable energy and his belief that the government can play an active role in promoting renewable energy, we think Korey would be a New Energy Voter. Korey has made it a point to discuss issues important to women including access to women's health services like counseling and sexually transmitted disease testing. Korey vows to protect these services (and others) for women. With his legal background, we are confident he would deliver on his promised to "stand up to the special interest groups, from insurance companies to drug companies." No doubt this is an uphill battle; Korey is a leader with values and determination.

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, Laborers

Lee Terry (incumbent)

District 2

When he first ran, Terry promised to only serve 6 years. Nearly a decade and a half later, Terry is running for re-election and has done very little to represent Nebraska during the last 13 years in office. Breaking promises to Nebraskans is Lee Terry's speciality. He has promised to protect Social Security but votes to privatize it every chance he gets. Terry's long list of "accomplishments" in 13 years includes naming a post office and pushing 5 failed and reckless bills to fast track the Keystone XL pipeline. Terry partially justifies his determination to abandon Nebraskan concerns for our state's land and water by arguing KXL is needed to reduce dependence on foreign oil from countries who don't like us. However, he voted against criminalizing oil cartels like OPEC for unfairly colluding to fix oil prices while also voting against American homegrown energy. We find this paradox and others (many are documented on New Nebraska Network) to be quite troubling. For all his work on behalf of TransCanada during these past three years, maybe a better position for him would be on their Board of Directors, instead of in Congress. He could also join a phone company's board since his other big fight was to allow robocalls to your cell phone. While the Farm Bureau, more of an insurance company than an ag group, endorsed Terry, it should be noted that Terry rarely votes for ag and has voted against the Farm Bill every time it has come up. This is shameful for a representative from an ag state.

Endorsements: Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Right to Life

John Ewing

District 2

Ewing has been a public servant for over 30 years, serving as a police officer, minister and currently as the Douglas County Treasurer. Ewing plans to "fight for tax incentives for businesses to hire new employees here in the USA; while fighting to end tax incentives for companies to ship jobs overseas." He also plans on working to expand access to the Federal Pell Grant to help more students afford college. As a Congressman, Ewing told the League of Women Voters he would "vote against any measure that attempts to privatize Social Security and Medicare," a big difference between him and Terry. On energy issues, Ewing agrees with the majority (65%) of Nebraskans that support the Keystone XL pipeline as long as it avoids the Sandhills and Ogallala Aquifer. Unlike his opponent Terry, Ewing believes the pipeline "must be built by organized labor, and the finished product should be placed in the U.S. market." Ewing is also a supporter of our ag industry, voicing his support for the Farm Bill. There is no doubt about it, this is a close race. Ewing will serve as a New Energy Voter and represent the families of our state instead of lobbyists.

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), International Union of Police Associations

Adrian Smith (incumbent)

District 3

Smith is a career politician that most folks in the 3rd District shrug their shoulders when you ask about him. He was called a "timid leader" by a former challenger. The conventional wisdom is he has been there for so long no one without millions of bucks can beat him. That actually might be true, but we want folks to know where he stands which is voting with his party almost 100% of the time. Smith's record for supporting renewable energy sounds good. Rhetorically, he supports wind power and other sources of renewable energy and has even introduced legislation to promote investment for small-scale hydropower energy projects. He has also voiced his support for improving the transmission infrastructure so that Nebraska's vast wind resources can be explored. But, his voting record does not match his rhetoric. He consistently votes against measures that would promote renewable energy; voting against tax credits for renewable energy multiple times, while voting for maintaining subsidies for oil companies. Smith voted against investing in homegrown biofuels but did support Lee Terry's bill to fast track the Keystone XL pipeline approval. Smith also voted against criminalizing OPEC for colluding on price fixing in the oil market, while at the same time using high oil prices as a reason to support the KXL. Smith voted to turn Medicare into a voucher system, which experts say could lead to many elderly joining the ranks of the uninsured.

Endorsements: Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Right to Life

Mark Sullivan

District 3

Mark is a fourth generation Nebraska farmer, now farming on the land previously owned by his father and grandfather. He has been a big supporter of Nebraska ag, urging his opponent to pass the long overdue 2012 Farm Bill. While Adrian Smith has done nothing to help landowners on the pipeline, Mark thinks the use of eminent domain by a foreign oil company is wrong. He sent us very detailed answers to questions about energy. Mark supports many forms of renewable energy, especially ethanol and biofuels, as well as wind and solar. Mark is just the kind of New Energy Voter you look for supporting energy conservation and efficiency. Mark believes it is important to keep the production tax credit for wind energy in place so that the renewable energy industries can develop. Sullivan also notes the need to expand the energy infrastructure (i.e. transmission lines) in order to take full advantage of Nebraska's wind and solar potential. Sullivan illustrated the benefits of this infrastructure in a useful metaphor: the way to stimulate the economy is not through wasteful spending, once you spend wastefully, the money is gone. But building infrastructure is like a savings account--the money is put away for us to keep benefitting from it. His positive energy stances and experience as a farmer make him a great fit for the energy-rich third district.

State Legislature

voting info

Jerry Joy

LD 1

Jerry falls in line with the 65% of Nebraskans who favor the Keystone XL pipeline if the Sandhills and Aquifer are avoided as best as possible by the route. He opposes TransCanada's use of eminent domain and says that TransCanada's new route must not abuse it. When it comes to renewable energy, he supports wind but says the key energy source we have is nuclear energy, which makes sense given Cooper Nuclear is in his district. He promises to bring a bi-partisan approach to the legislature. Jerry says education and child welfare are the major issues he will tackle in the legislature with an emphasis on early childhood education. He believes in the strength of family farms and supports I-300, the Nebraska ban on corporate farming.

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Dan Watermeier

LD 1

Unfortunately, we do not know where Dan Watermeier stands on the KXL or energy issues because he says nothing about those issues on his website or facebook page. He hasn't emailed us or called us back either, which we think shows he must not find these critical issues all that important. Dan did not respond to the Vote Kids questions either. This speaks volumes on how he will treat constituents.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau, Right to Life, NRA

R. Paul Lambert (incumbent)

LD 2

Sen. Lambert was appointed by Gov. Heineman in October 2011, has no campaign website and rarely updates his Unicam website. We are happy to say he isn't completely Heineman's puppet--he voted to override the Governor's veto of the legislature's city tax measure which was a good vote. He cast a bad vote when he threw "Nebraskans under the bus" by undoing all the work from the Pipeline Special Session in order to exempt TransCanada from following new pipeline siting rules. He does believe abortion should be legal in cases of rape and when a mother's life is at risk.

Endorsements: Right to Life, Nebraska Farm Bureau

Bill Kinter

LD 2

Bill's website makes it crystal clear he wants to cut taxes, and we agree with his proposal to eliminate taxes on military pensions. He supports "school choice" which sounds great but really means going to a voucher system and cutting money from public schools. Bill doesn't seem to think we need both community colleges and a university system. He doesn't provide a lot of information on energy issues, but he does subscribe to the "Drill, baby, drill" philosophy. He does not believe abortion should ever be legal, even to save a mother's life.

Endorsements: Right to Life, Nebraskans United for Life, Nebraska Firearms Alliance, Students for Concealed Carry, Republican Liberty Caucus

Scott Price (incumbent)

LD 3

Scott Price's major focus seems to be on the economy, as is every other candidates' focus this election cycle. While we definitely think work on the economy is necessary, we have a big problem with his major economic goal: BUILD the Keystone XL pipeline. That's right, he is so enthusiastic about it that he wrote BUILD in all capital letters on his website. He voted to "throw Nebraskans under the bus," undoing the work from the Pipeline Special Session and exempting TransCanada from Nebraska law. Although he was elected to work for Nebraskans, his record shows he's done a whole lot of work for TransCanada.

Endorsements: Nebraska Farm Bureau, Right to Life

Suzanne McNamara

LD 3

Suzanne McNamara is someone who is on the side of Nebraskans, through and through. Disappointed with how the legislature undid the progress made during the special session by passing LB 1161, Suzanne says that if the Keystone XL pipeline comes before the legislature again, she will "stand with the voices of environmental protection, clean water, and protecting the rights of property owners against eminent domain by private (and foreign) corporations." If, in the end, the KXL does get a presidential permit, McNamara will fight for the work to be reserved for Nebraska Unions, not out-of-staters. When it comes to the development of renewable resources like wind and solar power, McNamara is in "full support." She will definitely be a New Energy Voter in the Nebraska Legislature.

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Heath Mello (incumbent, Running Unopposed)

LD 5

Although Mello has not been a super vocal opponent of the KXL, and did have one bad vote (for LB 1161), Mello's record shows that he has been a strong proponent of "new energy." He has co-sponsored legislation to help public power invest in renewable energy and supports solar, wind, biomass and hydro-electric power as well as energy efficiency. Mello also believes that we should expand our utilization of compressed natural gas in vehicles as an alternative to foreign oil. In the wake of NPPD's $1.5 billion plan to retrofit Gerald Gentleman station, he sent a letter urging NPPD to delay the decision so that the public could weigh in. Mello sees himself pushing for more policies that promote energy efficiency. He is a young leader, and we look forward to seeing more strong vision and solutions.

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), AFL-CIO, Right to Life, Nebraska Farm Bureau

Jeremy Nordquist (incumbent)

LD 7

Nordquist has a strong record for supporting renewable energy sources. While he did have a bad "yea" vote on LB 1161, his record shows that he supports new energy. He co-sponsored a bill to incentivize public power districts to invest in renewable energy and has proposed legislation to advance the availability of alternative transportation fuels like compressed natural gas and alternative energy sources like wind power. His goal is to develop "a comprehensive approach [to alternative energy] that also prioritizes job creation in Nebraska." Nordquist stands up for health reform and state-based exchanges more than any other senator--often being the lone (and brave) voice pushing back on Gov. Heineman.

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), Right to Life, Nebraska Farm Bureau

Christopher Geary

LD 7

While Geary had positive responses to our inquiry about his stances on renewable energy, arguing that steps need to be taken to reverse global warming and stating his support for renewable fuels, Geary's actions suggest otherwise. Geary's Facebook page shows that he supports building the KXL--having posted a status that laments President Obama's denial of TransCanada's permit. His Facebook shows that he is also seemingly against green jobs, something that definitely conflicts with his response to our renewable energy inquiry. When checking out his website, we are greeted by a woman posed seductively holding Geary's blackbelt (he is a martial arts instructor), which is more than a little distasteful. Delving into his past reveals that he had a restraining order placed against him by a former martial arts student and that the Florida State Attorney's office put out a warrant for his arrest after he fled to Omaha, Nebraska.

Sara Howard

LD 9

Sara is the daughter of the former state senator representing District 9, Gwen Howard, a reliable voice for kids and families. Sara has not given us a stance on the KXL pipeline but in the field of renewable energy, has views that we support. She favors "multiple forms of sustainable energy but believes Nebraskans would greatly benefit by increased use of wind power." Sara says, "We need to ensure that laws and tax policy encourage development and use of wind power by individual users and our public utilities." It sounds like she would be New Energy Voter in the Legislature.

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Erica Fish

LD 9

Erica voiced her support for renewable energy and energy efficiency to the Omaha World-Herald, saying that Nebraska needs to find and promote the source of energy that is best suited to the state. She fails to mention energy on her website while giving very little information on other policy issues like education. If elected, Erica would serve with her step-father, Mark Christensen. Since she hasn't emailed us or called us back, we don't know if she would follow Christensen's footsteps in the legislature on KXL--but we can't help but speculate. Christensen not only abused landowners during the Special Session hearings, he also took full credit for watering down Sen. Sullivan's pipeline liability bill and sent a letter of support for KXL to Sec. of State Hillary Clinton.

Endorsements: Right to Life, Nebraskans United for Life, National Federation of Independent Business

Brenda Council

LD 11

While Council cast a bad vote when voting "yea" on LB 1161, we applaud her for being vocal about her concerns on the Keystone XL pipeline. She signed onto a letter sent to Sec. of State Hillary Clinton urging the safety and siting of the KXL pipeline to be fully explored and for the State Dept. to consider a route that avoids the Sandhills and minimizes exposure to the Aquifer. She has voiced her support for "forms of sustainable energy that provide the highest efficiency, lowest cost to consumers, and have the greatest potential to continue providing energy," as well as those that "present the greatest potential for creating employment opportunities for residents." She sponsored a bill to help urban farming and healthy school lunches. Council has been a strong voice for families and kids. With recent news of Council illegally using campaign funds, we hope she gets the help she needs.

Endorsements: AFL-CIO

Ernie Chambers

LD 11

Ernie is known for keeping the legislature accountable. He is often described as the "second house" of the unicameral for his ability--as one person--to shed a bright light on issues and the hypocrisy of some elected officials. Ernie continue to speak out against "voter ID" bills that will limit the number of Nebraskans voting. While he was forced to leave the unicameral because of term-limits (see NY Times profile), after sitting four years out, he is ready to get back in and continue fighting for fairness. Voters in LD 11 have two great candidates to choose from.

Tanya Cook (incumbent)

LD 13

Tanya has a strong record of being a New Energy Voter in the Legislature. In the realm of renewable energy, Cook co-sponsored legislation that works to develop wind energy and create green jobs in both her district and across the state. Cook also introduced legislation that promotes energy efficiency (and saves home and building owners up to 30% on energy costs) by updating Nebraska's energy code to correspond with national building standards. Tanya Cook signed onto a letter to the State Department urging that KXL alternative routes avoid the Sandhills and minimize risks to the Aquifer and that the safety and siting of the KXL pipeline be fully explored. She did, unfortunately, side with the majority of our state's legislators in voting to exempt TransCanada from the law governing new oil pipelines made during the Special Session.

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), AFL-CIO

Timothy Ashford

LD 13

Ashford has very little information online and has not responded to our requests for information as to his stances on the KXL, eminent domain, or renewable energy. He is a criminal defense lawyer and is known in the community to work on reducing crime.

Charlie Janssen (incumbent)

LD 15

Charlie Janssen's legislation has made the news a lot...because it usually involves some sort of oppression or a question about its legality. He has a history of getting his legislative ideas from ALEC, an ultra-conservative organization known for giving "model bills" written by lobbyists to state legislators. For example, instead of rocking the vote, Janssen prefers to block the vote with his voter ID legislation. Instead of waiting to see where the court case questioning the constitutionality of Arizona's SB1070 "Show me your papers" went, Janssen went ahead and introduced a copycat bill here. Both of these controversial bills were defeated in the Legislature. On KXL, Janssen has fallen for TransCanada's propaganda, saying KXL will create "a lot of high-paying jobs." Janssen doesn't understand the opposition either, telling KMTV, "There's a lot of misinformation out there getting people up in arms, but the people most affected, 95 percent of them, have already signed easements." Too bad the misinformation he is talking about is coming from TransCanada. It's no surprise that Janssen voted to "throw Nebraskans under the bus" by voting for LB1161, which exempted TransCanada from the laws established for oil pipelines during the special session.

Endorsements: Nebraska Farm Bureau

Mike Petersen

LD 15

Mike is a young, working-class candidate--in fact he is a full-time student at Midland University and works full-time. He has set himself up as a clear change from the incumbent Janssen, saying he would have voted against both Janssen's voter ID bill as well as his Arizona copycat bill. He also stands with the 65% of Nebraskans who are for the Keystone XL pipeline but would like to see the route moved out of the Sandhills and out of the Ogallala Aquifer. Mike supports more wind and biofuels development.

Endorsements: United Food Commercial Workers Local 293, Nebraska Education Association, Hispanic BAR Association, Equality Nebraska Association

Dave Bloomfield (incumbent)

LD 17

Dave Bloomfield is a "strong conservative voice" in the Nebraska Legislature. He falls in line with Gov. Heineman on many issues, including refusing to implement the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion and believing that "the greatest danger to our way of life is not the current drought" but regulation proposed by groups like the Humane Society of the United States, which he says would destroy animal agriculture. He has taken an interest in the KXL, signing on to a letter to the State Department urging the full exploration of the safety and siting of the pipeline. One bright spot in a long list of extreme-right positions.

Endorsements: National Federation of Independent Business, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), NRA, Right to Life

Van Phillips

LD 17

As long as changes are made to the route to avoid Sandhills and Aquifer, Van believes the KXL should be built. As for eminent domain, he doesn't have a problem with it as it has pertained to the pipeline. Phillips thinks we need to continue to look for renewable energy to fill our energy needs, but doesn't think the State Legislature should take a huge role in promoting renewable energy. Rather, Van believes the best way to promote renewable energy is through private-public enterprise. Van spent over 31 years serving as a school superintendent.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau

Jim Scheer

LD 19

Jim served as Norfolk's mayor for two terms and as a school board member before running for legislature. His poor answers to the Vote Kids project left us thinking he will NOT be an advocate for families and kids. If he wins, he has big shoes to fill since Jim is running for Speaker Flood's seat. Jim has not responded to our calls and emails about where he stands on the pipeline, but it is our hope he picks up where Flood left off--putting into place strong laws to protect property rights and correct the unconstitutional LB 1161 which gives TransCanada a free pass on siting laws. We hope Jim gets a website soon to communicate with voters.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau

William Goodpasture

LD 19

Being hung up on is not a professional way to be greeted by someone running for office, but that is exactly what William did when we called wanting to talk about where he stands on energy issues. He resigned one seat he held because the state was investigating whether or not he actually lived in the correct district and then was arrested earlier this year.

Endorsements: Right to Life

Ken Haar (incumbent)

LD 21

Haar worked tirelessly these last four years as if he had a mandate to protect the state's natural resources. As a member of the Natural Resources Committee, he led the charge against TransCanada and the Keystone XL Pipeline, including two sign-on letters to Sec. Clinton, several hearings and education forums all culminating in a Special Session and a bill that rerouted the XL Pipeline around a large portion of the Sandhills. Ken's numerous achievements include the passage of a bill that created a statewide net metering standard for Nebraska, which will make it easier for towns to install and operate wind and solar energy systems. While serving on the Education Committee, Ken promoted green schools in Nebraska, and introduced a bill that created a program called Wind for Teachers, which allows for wind and solar leases on school lands in Nebraska that will generate revenue for teacher performance pay. Ken is a member of the Nebraska Farmers Union. A strong believer that "education is the great equalizer," Haar will continue to fight for kids, families and schools.

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), Sierra Club, AFL-CIO, Laborers, Lincoln Education Association, UTU, Teamsters, UFCW, SEIU, AFSCME, Nebraska State Education Association, Nebraska Professional Fire Fighters Association, Lincoln Central Labor Union

Mike Hilgers

LD 21

Hilgers moved into this district right before the filing deadline raising plenty of eyebrows that he was asked to move into the district for the sole reason of challenging Haar. Mike focuses more on the wedge culture issues of "traditional marriage" and being "100% pro-life" rather than new energy to move Nebraska forward.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau, National Federation of Independent Business, Right to Life

Vern Barrett

LD 23

Vern is a pro-life Christian who intends to represent all of his constituents, but views the disenfranchised as most in need of a voice. For Vern, being a Christian means loving his neighbors—all of them. Vern is worried about the impact that climate change will have on Nebraskans whose livelihood is so dependent on our delicate land and water resources. "Climate change is here," says Vern. He believes it's time to encourage tough choices, beginning with supporting renewable energy. In 2011, Vern testified to the Natural Resources Committee in opposition to the routing of the Keystone XL Pipeline through the Sandhills. He is a member of the Nebraska Farmers Union. Vern has worked together with Republicans and Democrats to find common ground to affect real change in rural community development. Read an in-depth New Energy profile

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Jerry Johnson

LD 23

Jerry is an extreme-right candidate. By stating "oil and water don't mix," Jerry tries to make those opposed to the KXL pipeline seem as though their concerns are unfounded when in fact the chemicals--like benzene--mixed with tarsands quickly contaminate water. Jerry is 100% behind the pipeline and says without the "emotionally charged" opposition, the pipeline would have already been able to go forward. Jerry seems to have forgotten TransCanada has had to change their route twice because of water and soil risks. Jerry is not a fan of homegrown energy either. He thinks those industries do not need subsidies (yet what about all those oil subsidies?). If a woman gets pregnant after being raped, Jerry does not think she should have access to abortion.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau, Right to Life

Kathy Campbell (incumbent, running unopposed)

LD 25

Campbell has done a lot of work for vulnerable Nebraskans, most recently passing a bill to streamline child welfare, making the system more efficient through evidence based programs and practices. She showed concern for Nebraskans when she signed onto a letter to the Sec. of State urging the State Department to fully explore the safety and siting of the proposed KXL pipeline and to consider a route that avoids the Sandhills and minimizes exposure to the Aquifer.

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, Farm Bureau, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), Nebraska State Education Association, Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA), Nebraska Cooperative Council, Nebraska Association of Social Workers, Nebraska Nurses Association, National Federation of Independent Business/Nebraska, Nebraska League of Conservation Voters

Colby Coash (incumbent)

LD 27

Coash won our first ever Bold Badge, given to officials showing "Bold" leadership. The badge was given for his progressive stance on immigration reform, when he opposed Senator Janssen's Arizona copycat bill. However, Colby disappointed many Nebraskans when he held an event with Ted Nugent after he threatened the life of President Obama and spoke about reckless gun "rights." He voted for Janssen's "voter ID" bill, a bill so bad the Journal Star said they should "leave the bill in the trash." Coash has shown his concern for Nebraskans by questioning the Keystone XL pipeline, first sending a letter to the State Department urging a thorough review of the safety and siting of the pipeline, as well as being one of five Senators to sign on to a bill requesting that the State Department not make any decision on the KXL until Nebraska's legislative session was over. Coash does not believe abortion should be legal when a woman gets pregnant because of rape. He also joined the extreme right to say Dreams should not get in-state tuition rates. We wanted to see bold leadership from Coash and he failed to deliver.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau, Right to Life

Kyle Michaelis

LD 27

Kyle has been an outspoken and thoughtful progressive for years. Much like Bold Nebraska, Kyle's New Nebraska Network has been an online hub for "progressive political change." He has called out Nebraska officials, like Lee Terry, for recklessly promoting the KXL from the beginning--even the original route through the heart of the Sandhills. Terry's actions, Michaelis said, were "intended to silence the voices of our landowners, our elected officials, and everyone who cares about protecting our state's most precious natural resource." Michaelis has promised to champion renewable energy in the State Legislature and has wrote about the need for Nebraska's Public Power districts to transition to more renewable energy. Kyle is a true leader that will not compromise his values. Kyle will work for middle class families and young people.

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Kate Bolz

LD 29

Kate is a breath of fresh air bringing her background at Nebraska Appleseed with low-income families and her legal eye to Nebraska politics. She will focus on policies that affect our families and take a hard look at why we have seen an increase in child abuse. Bolz agrees with the 65% of Nebraskans who support the Keystone XL pipeline but don't want to see it cross the Sandhills or the Ogallala Aquifer. Noting her own stake in her family's farm, Bolz believes in having "fair policies to protect landowners from unfair eminent domain practices." Kate supports development of renewable energy "both for the positive environmental impact and for the potential economic growth it could bring to our state."

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, Lincoln Education Association, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Larry Zimmerman

LD 29

Larry falls in line with the 65% of Nebraskans who want to make sure the pipeline route avoids the Sandhills and Aquifer. Zimmerman says that the new route that has now officially been submitted by TransCanada will have to be thoroughly looked at to ensure that it is appropriate. When it comes to eminent domain, Larry has used it before as a public official for the Southern Platte Natural Resources District--but he made it clear he doesn't like it and thinks it should be used as a last resort. Larry says it is unfortunate when eminent domain has to be evoked, and that he hopes TransCanada would make many more concessions to property owners in the new route before resorting to eminent domain. On the topic of renewable energy, Larry believes it should be looked at but has concerns that our renewable energy options would not be dependable. Therefore, he supports the continued use of coal and natural gas. He is opposed to in-state tuition for Dreamers.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau, Right to Life

Rick Kolowski:

LD 31

Rick is a strong advocate for renewable energy believing we have to invest in all sources of energy. Kolowski also sees energy and fuel efficiency standards for motor vehicles, housing and buildings as an important component to reducing our energy reliance. If elected to the state legislature, Rick has pledged to focus on economic development by "aggressively recruiting" jobs related to wind generation, solar energy and other forms of renewable energy.

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Acela Turco

LD 31

Acela is opposed to in-state tuition for Dreamers. She immigrated to Virginia with her parents from Cuba. After working as a paraeducator in Omaha, she was appointed to several commissions by Gov. Heineman including one dealing with the Nebraska Supreme Court, which we don't quite understand. If a woman is raped and gets pregnant, she does not think an abortion should be legal. Acela believes in "school choice," which is a feel good word for taking money from public schools and giving it to private schools. She says nothing about the pipeline or homegrown energy.

Endorsements: Nebraska Farm Bureau, Right to Life

Les Seiler (incumbent)

LD 33

Seiler was just appointed to the Legislature when former senator Utter passed away. Les doesn't support state funding for the development of any energy source and that includes traditional sources like oil, gas and coal. He doesn't support state funding for improvements to Nebraska's energy infrastructure, like transmission lines, and he doesn't support state funding for open space preservation. He also opposes enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change. There is one thing he does support, though: the Keystone XL pipeline.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau

Marvin Butch Hughes

LD 33

Butch has a lot of questions and thinks it is irresponsible for our elected officials to let those questions go unanswered before making a decision on the KXL. What exactly will be going through this pipeline, and why hasn't anyone told us? What level of chemicals will be in the pipeline? What exactly is tarsands? Why does it take 1500 psi to pump this stuff through a pipeline, when almost any other pipeline uses 300-400 psi? It's already pretty much common knowledge that the oil won't be coming to the U.S., so why would we allow the pipeline to come through just for export? These are questions that we have been wanting for a long time, and we are heartened that as a public official, Hughes would ask these questions. As for eminent domain, Butch Hughes thinks it's wrong for a private entity to have eminent domain powers over another private person, especially if that private entity is foreign. Hughes would bring a new approach to developing wind energy if elected to the legislature. He thinks the most important thing the state legislature could do for renewable energy is expand the transmission grid so Nebraska can access its wind and get its power to other places. Butch is the Adams County Farmers Union president.

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), Right to Life

Mike Gloor (incumbent, running unopposed)

LD 35

Mike is a perfect example of a true non-partisan state senator. There is a reason he is running unopposed: he is representing the increasingly diverse district very well. Grand Island's latino population is becoming a voter bloc and meeting the needs of new and old families can be a balancing act. We are confident with votes like protecting prenatal care and making sure the Dreamers can have access to in-state tuition that Gloor will meet that demand and exceed expectations. Gloor signed onto a letter sent to the Sec. of State urging that the State Department consider a route that avoids the Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer. We look forward to his work on reforming child welfare and the state's Medicaid program over the next four years.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Galen Hadley (incumbent)

LD 37

Hadley got a 100% rating from the League of Conservation Voters and didn't bend over backwards for TransCanada. He signed onto a letter sent to the Sec. of State urging that the State Department consider a route that avoids the Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer, and he called for the Department to "fully explore the safety and siting" of the pipeline. Hadley has been a teacher and an accountant and on the board of the Kearney art museum. He's a well-rounded politician who cares about our state's health care and family ag businesses.

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), Nebraska Farm Bureau

Josiah Woodward

LD 37

Woodward supports the Keystone XL pipeline as long as it doesn't go through the most vulnerable parts of the Ogallala Aquifer. He believes this new route will be "perfectly safe." Unfortunately, he doesn't see anything wrong with eminent domain being used by private oil pipelines. There is not much on Joe's website, but we do know from articles that Joe would not have voted for prenatal care.

Beau McCoy (incumbent)

LD 39

Beau McCoy proved to be in TransCanada's pocket during the special session. He so strongly believed in TransCanada's lies that the Keystone XL pipeline "will bring quality jobs to Nebraska and ease reliance on oil from the Middle East," that he did not give testifiers at the Special Session a fair hearing. In fact, he flat out harassed landowners and the Cornell University professor who presented a well-sourced and peer-reviewed study that proved KXL would only create a fraction of the jobs TransCanada and their allies claimed. Any elected official that questions landowners' and citizens' motivations about why they would testify in support of protecting their land and water needs a harsh second look by voters.

Endorsements: Nebraska Farm Bureau, Right to Life

Judy Domina

LD 39

Judy is a grandmother on a mission to improve government services for families; a former educator who wants to increase funding to schools; and a businesswoman with the desire to help small businesses thrive. She is a true nonpartisan who seeks to find common ground with her constituents, intending to vote based on facts. She wants the electorate to know that if they contact her with a problem she will personally work with them to find a solution. This is a stark difference than her opponent McCoy who bullied citizens when they testified in a hearing on the pipeline. Judy believes Nebraska's most valuable natural resource is water and she will fight to protect that resource. She support the development of renewable energy like wind and solar. Judy is a Nebraska Farmers Union member. She can be found at pipeline events in the Sandhills, in Lincoln and in Omaha. Other than Ken Haar, she is the most visible supporter of citizens and landowners who have major concerns with the pipeline.

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Kate Sullivan (incumbent)

LD 41

Kate stood up to TransCanada and did a lot of work to protect Nebraskans. She introduced legislation to hold TransCanada responsible for all spills, even if they were the fault of a third party--an important measure that would have done a lot to protect landowners years from now as soil erodes and a tractor might hit the line, leaving them financially responsible. Although her bill got watered down before passage, Sullivan pledged to "continue working on legislation that provides power and duties to state government for regulating oil pipelines." She was one of the five state senators who wrote a letter asking that the State Department not make a decision on the KXL until after Nebraska had concluded its 2011 session to allow protections to be put in place. She is supportive of renewable energy and the wind farm near Petersburg, voicing her excitement for the jobs the wind industry could bring to our state.

Endorsements: FL-CIO, Farm Bureau, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), Right to Life

Brook Curtiss

LD 41

Curtiss was a member of the GOP Resolutions Committee that proposed a resolution supporting the building the Keystone XL pipeline. Brook does support the three ethanol plants and the "coming soon" wind generation farms in his district. Citing an example of a new grocery store owner in Petersburg who was able to open his business because of the new customer base brought by the nearby wind farm, Brook sees the wind industry as an "essential part of the Nebraska economy." He is also a strong supporter of ethanol, noting that 10% of the workforce in his district's Plainview has been put into "good jobs with benefits" because of the ethanol industry. Curtiss is way out of the mainstream with his view that abortion should not be legal even when a mother's life is at risk.

Al Davis

LD 43

Al believes the development of alternative energy must be encouraged "as long as this development does not drive up the cost of energy used by consumers." Davis also sees the construction of more transmission lines as important to the longevity of the industry, and we agree 100%. Unfortunately, Davis is a huge proponent of coal and sees coal as being the "primary driver of America's electrical grid for the forseeable future." He supports further development of coal, even though Wyoming will be doing the developing and benefiting the most financially. Davis does see the need to overhaul the child welfare system in our state. He is a Farmers Union member and an advocate for family farms.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

John W. Ravenscroft

LD 43

Coal and ethanol are the two sources Ravenscroft cares about when speaking of energy. We agree with his stance on ethanol--it's an "important segment of our farm economy and cattle industry." But we think we can do better than coal. It may be an "efficient and abundant means of generating electricity," as John says, but Nebraska has more to offer in the form of wind and other renewables. The coal we use isn't even Nebraskan. John did not respond to any of the "Vote Kids" survey questions. The proposed pipeline enters the state and the Sandhills in his district, yet has nothing on his website about the concerns.

Endorsements: Right to Life

Sue Crawford

LD 45

Sue strongly supports renewable energy, noting that Nebraska ranks high in wind, solar and biomass potential. Crawford would "support efforts to create incentives and investments that encourage growth in green energy" because she believes investments in renewable energy "will create jobs and economic development opportunities in urban and rural communities across the state." Sue "will work with other Senators and advocates to watch over the implementation of environmental, property rights, and fiscal protections established in the special session." Crawford knows the importance of protecting landowners and holding TransCanada (and future pipeline companies) responsible for leaks and safety issues in state pipeline approval policies. A strong advocate for education, Crawford teaches at Creighton University. Crawford will work with the community to grow small businesses that support military families in her district.

Endorsements: AFL-CIO, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Richard Carter

LD 45

Carter's main agenda is to cut taxes and "eliminate job-killing regulations." While we support his proposals to stop taxing military pensions and eliminating taxation of senior citizens' social security benefits, we don't appreciate his over-the-top rhetoric. We don't know if he would be a New Energy Voter in the legislature because he never emailed or called us back to tell us his stances on renewable energy or the Keystone XL pipeline, and he has no mention of energy issues in his website.

Endorsements: Right to Life, NRA, Nebraska Farm Bureau

Ken Schilz incumbent, running unopposed)

LD 47

Schilz says, "Water is our most valuable resource," and "We can do more to manage the sustainability of the Aquifer." But he doesn't seem to think twice about putting it at great risk with the pipeline. As a member of the Natural Resources committee in the Legislature, he helped water down all legislation meant to hold TransCanada accountable and protect Nebraska's land and water. He went so far as to send an obviously form letter (we still don't know who wrote it for him, but the same language was used a lot it seems), in support of the Keystone XL pipeline to the State Department. He does get points for co-sponsoring legislation to provide an incentive for Nebraska's public power districts to invest in renewable resources, but his actions surrounding the Keystone XL have been so disappointing, we can only hope his second term is a little more balanced with less chumming around with TransCanada lobbyists.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau

John Murante

LD 49

John has very little information as to his stances on his Facebook or his Twitter feed, and his website has not been working. He has not returned our email or call. The only solid thing we know is that he would have voted in favor of Sen. Janssen's voter ID bill, legislation that has proven to block the vote for minorities, young voters and the elderly in other states.

Endorsements: Right to Life, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Chamber of Commerce

Frank Wellenstein

LD 49

Frank has conflicting ideas. On the one hand, he is a "strong supporter of renewable energy, as that is our future," and says it is time "we get away from fossil fuels once and for all!" But, at the same time, he says the Keystone XL pipeline needs to be built ASAP! The contradiction is clear, which makes us question whether Wellenstein would be a New Energy Voter or not.

Endorsements: Right to Life

Public Power District

voting info

David Dowling

NPPD 11

David sees possibilities in exploring wind power. He has said the three most important issues in the race "are maintaining a high standard of service to the patrons of the service areas in Nebraska, to continue to promote economic development in the rural communities in Nebraska, and to pursue wind energy and any other energy options that may help contribute to providing the most cost-effective service to the residents of this state." Dowling is a solid candidate, and we support his ideas. What separates David from his opponent, Fred, is that Fred has experience in energy, while David does not. Another thing working against David is that once redistricting has taken effect next year, he will no longer be living in this district.

Fred Christensen

NPPD 11

Fred embodies New Energy voters. He is a farmer and served on his local energy board for years, giving him the experience to take on a bigger role with NPPD. Christensen was a leader in getting wind turbines in his community. In the New Energy Voter in-depth profile, Christensen talks about stewardship of the land and implementing concrete steps to get Nebraska on a renewable energy path. Christensen told the Norfolk Daily News, "I believe Nebraska should be a model in new energy development, while locking in long-term energy rate savings for years to come. If we start to implement renewable energy sources into our portfolio, we will keep our state amongst the lowest in energy prices, yet amongst the top in local economic development and job creation. We can no longer afford to sit and watch all other states in our area surpass us." Read an in-depth New Energy profile

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), AFL-CIO, Laborers

Bruce Tegtmeier (incumbent)

Norris 11

Bruce currently serves on the Norris Power Board. He didn't want to respond to our questions unless his opponent also responded because he didn't want to have an unfair advantage in this guide. We find this admirable but unfortunate because we want voters to be informed when they go to the voting booth. We appreciate the phone visit and that he returned our call.

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Wesley Siebenneicher

Norris 11

Wesley did not return our calls.

Mike Cavanaugh (incumbent)

Metro

Mike has represented OPPD since 1994 and has done little to bring "new energy" to Nebraska during his tenure. Cavanaugh sees his obligation as bringing consumers low rates. We give him credit for helping to usher in an energy conservation program, but he has mostly toed the line since being on the Board. He has pitted being an environmental steward against providing inexpensive service, and we don't think it's a zero-sum game. He does not mention wind power as an alternative energy source to coal and nuclear and doesn't give any new ideas for broadening public education efforts to conserve energy. When confronted with the risky situation of the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant (which is still closed down), Cavanaugh acknowledged the need to earn back the public's confidence after the recent NRC actions and Missouri River flooding.

Sandy Dodge, Jr. (incumbent)

Metro

Sandy has served on the OPPD board since 1994 and might be better known for his huge real estate business in Omaha. After the shutdown of the Fort Calhoun nuclear station, he acknowledged the need to create a more transparent culture with the public, recognizing the need to regain the public's trust. Dodge seems to be supportive of renewable energy and reducing our dependence on coal. He thinks that all clean energy options need to be vigorously pursued, while also providing low-cost energy to ratepayers. He puts natural gas at the top of his list of energy alternatives, followed by wind, solar, and methane gas. Dodge told the Omaha World Herald that he would like to see carbon emissions reduced "in the long run," and in a cost-effective way. His site is the only one we have seen with a Spanish version, which we think is a great step to include Latino families. Dodge is headed in the right direction and we want to see more concrete steps towards homegrown energy.

George Mills

Metro

George would not put reducing carbon emissions nor developing alternative energy sources as a top priority if it would mean raising rates. This is short-sighted. He sees educating the public about energy conservation as important and correctly believes wind is the alternative energy source best suited to the Great Plains region. He thinks OPPD needs to be more transparent about the Fort Calhoun plant. Mills is a former Douglas County Commissioner.

Tom Barrett

Metro

Tom is all about energy conservation, saying, "The cheapest electricity produced is electricity saved." We like his emphasis on energy efficiency and think the OPPD board needs a champion of homegrown energy. Barrett has a long history of public service as a staff member of OPPD and aide to former Congressman Hoagland. Back in the day, he worked with Outward Bound, a program for at-risk kids. If elected, Barrett would be a strong advocate of educating customers on energy conservation, providing programmable thermostats, supporting energy audits and insulating older homes.

Gary Hedman

Southern 4

Gary is a huge supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline, weighing into the Merrick County Board's decision to support the pipeline and sending literature (paid for by taxpayers) to support the pipeline. Hedman is not a supporter of wind energy. Back in 2005, he wrote a letter to the Grand Island Independent complaining about the subsidies given for renewable energy. Hedman was the president of Southern Power and retired/resigned that position to run for the board. He speaks of "causes" wanting new energy and tries to confuse the public by wrongly linking net metering with utility-scale wind farming. Nebraskans currently spends over $200 million per year for Wyoming coal. We think getting behind our own homegrown energy is a cause Hedman should pick up, but we're not holding our breath.

Dan Davis

Southern 4

Dan has been a farmer in the area since the 70s. He wants to ensure that rates are kept low and that service meets the expectation of customers. As a former school board president in Wood River, Dan knows the importance of public service. While we have not interviewed him, we certainly know that new energy is needed for Souther Power and we look forward to seeing Dan lead.

Natural Resources

voting info

Note: Most of the NRD positions only have one candidate running. We only listed races where there were at least two people running for the same position.

Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District For Board of Directors
Subdistrict 1

Scott Japp (incumbent)

1

Scott supports renewable energy. As an NRD director, Scott doesn't believe he would have a role in promoting renewable energy because the state statutes don't include that in the prerogatives of NRDs. Other NRD candidates disagree with this stance. Scott supports the Keystone XL pipeline, but believes it should not go through the Ogallala Aquifer. He would prefer that the KXL follow the same path as the Keystone I pipeline. When it comes to eminent domain, Scott is largely against its use. He believes that in order for eminent domain to be used, an entity would need to obtain authority through the county or the city.

Chris J. Koenig

1

Chris supports renewable energy but is concerned about the practicality of it. For example, Chris believes wind is a great source, but that it cannot be a stand-alone energy source without batteries to store its energy. Chris is not sure if he has a role in promoting renewable energy "because that isn't really the goal of the NRD." As a member of the NRD Board of Directors, he wants to ensure that the NRD would stay focused on its protocols that are outlined by the state statutes. Chris supports the Keystone XL pipeline, provided it would be done in a responsible manner: designed and constructed properly and meeting the environmental needs of the area. Chris is totally against eminent domain being used by a private entity against Nebraska landowners, and he believes that eminent domain was never intended to be used by private entities.

Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District For Board of Directors
Subdistrict 5

Rich Tesar

5

Rich is for renewable energy where it is feasible, and he does not believe it can be a short term solution. Rich believes energy like wind and solar still need to prove their viability. He supports a wide variety of energies, including coal, nuclear, and natural gas. Rich is in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. He thinks it is being handled well and he has faith in the political entities overseeing pipeline development. Rich must not read the papers on citizens' concerns and the ongoing lawsuit challenging the process. When asked about his stance is on eminent domain being used by private entities against Nebraska landowner, Rich said that the question was too vague. We rephrased the question and asked if he supports TransCanada's use of eminent domain. Rich said he does support TransCanada's use of eminent domain against Nebraska landowners.

Brad Dunbar

5

Brad is running for the NRD board because of his interest in and experience with water. He graduated from the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy, and has worked closely on issues relating to the Missouri river. Brad sees renewable energy as being "positive for the world as a whole," especially in Nebraska. Brad noted a wide variety of renewable energy sources that Nebraska could utilize, including ethanol, geothermal and wind. He believes economic development is a major benefit of developing renewable energy. Brad believes Natural Resources Districts need to be open to using natural resources (including energy) in a way that will benefit the people, so he sees the NRDs having a role in promoting new energy. Brad supports KXL, but believes that the path it takes needs to be closely watched and that following the same path as the Keystone I is a good idea. When it comes to eminent domain, Brad believes that it has its place, but that "we need to be very cautious when we use it" so that it benefits all people involved. As a member of the NRD board of directors, Brad will be watching interlocal agreements closely and making sure NRD funds are being used appropriately when entering into these agreements.

Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District For Board of Directors
Subdistrict 7

Jim Powers

7

Unfortunately, Jim never returned our calls to discuss his stances on energy issues and eminent domain.

Patrick Leahy

7

Patrick has been working on issues relating to the environment and regulations for the past 6 years. Patrick believes that the "the more renewable energy, the better." Ideally, said Patrick, our community and country would be self-sufficient when it comes to energy and that low cost alternative energy solutions should be promoted. Patrick believes that since the NRD's task is to watch over natural resources, it does have a role in promoting smart energy use and smart conservation where natural resources and energy intersect. He believes the NRD should explore the partnerships that could occur between the NRD and those in the community who are involved in conservation and energy production. Patrick said If the KXL route were to change and go through Patrick's NRD, it would be imperative that the NRD Board does its own independent study of the possible ecological impacts the pipeline would have in the district in order to protect the district's natural resources. Patrick believes eminent domain should always be a last resort. He said it is very concerning when a private entity (like a private oil pipeline) has the power of eminent domain because there is no way for citizens to hold that private company accountable--there is no one to vote out of office. He spent a long time visiting with us and we think this is a very good sign he will serve the people.

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

Lower Platte South Natural Resources District For Board of Directors
Subdistrict 9

Brian Koerwitz

9

Brian thinks developing renewable energy is a wise decision and that it is necessary to wean ourselves off of our reliance on foreign oil, as long as it doesn't have a negative impact on the economy. He believes the NRDs have an interest in promoting renewable energy sources, and he would support doing so. Brian supports KXL as long as proper safeguards are in place--he recognizes the concerns with the route and the environment. When it comes to regulating pipelines in order to protect water, he thinks it should be done at the state level so the regulations are uniform. He believes that what sets him apart as a candidate is his concern for the environment and awareness of environmental policies.

Milt Schmidt

9

Milt is for renewable energy and really likes wind. He pointed out that as one travels across Iowa, it's obvious they are taking advantage of the resource and we are not. He believes it is important to develop alternatives especially because fossil fuels are a finite source. He believes the NRD would have a role in promoting renewables because NRDs have an interest in conservation. Milt is especially interested in this conservation aspect, and is an advocate of teaching children conservation in terms of both energy and water. Milt would like to have the jobs the KXL would create, but he is really hesitant about what it could do to our land--especially if it were to leak. He definitely doesn't want the pipeline going over the Ogallala Aquifer. He does not support eminent domain being used by private oil companies.

Public Service Commissioner

voting info

Note: The Public Service Commission is a critical board that governs policies around pipelines, cell phones, grain bins, railroads and more. It is unfortunate that both incumbents this year do not have challengers. We hope in future years citizens will look at this critical office and run.

District 1

Frank Landis (incumbent, unopposed)

1

This will be Frank's fifth 6-year term as a Public Service Commissioner. While Frank chose not to answer any of our questions about the pipeline or renewable energy, he was one of the more engaged Commissioners during the hearings on the pipeline regulations that the PSC is currently reviewing. It is unfortunate that TransCanada is currently exempt from the Commission's rules due to the passage of LB 1161. Frank seemed to agree with many citizens who testified on the critical importance of an oil pipeline company disclosing what's called the MSDS, a document that lists the chemicals and makeup of pipe contents and what to do if you come in contact with the substance (especially if you are a first responder). We hope to see more leadership and proactive regulations to ensure all types of pipelines are properly sited and managed in our state since we had no regulations in place for oil pipeline routing and siting until citizens pushed the issue.

District 3

Tim Schram (incumbent, unopposed)

3

This will be Tim’s second 6-year term as a Public Service Commissioner. He was unable to answer our question regarding his stance on the Keystone XL pipeline because he felt the issue could still come before the Public Service Commission (and we hope it does since they have good rules that will be approved soon and which TransCanada is exempt from right now, thanks to LB 1161). We understand that if Tim stated a position prior to a hearing it could disrupt the objectivity of the process, and we appreciate his efforts to keep the process as clean as possible. Tim stated in our conversation that all forms of renewable energy should be analyzed, and that economics will determine if the U.S. utilizes renewable energy. We hope to see more leadership and proactive regulations to ensure all types of pipelines are properly sited and managed in our state.

State Board of Education

voting info

District 1

Lillie Larsen

1

Lillie has dedicated her life to education. She served on the Lincoln Public Schools Board for the past 12 years as well as on the Board of Directors of the Nebraska Association of School Boards. She's also a former public school teacher, a much-needed perspective for the State Board of Education. Lillie's focus on dropout rates and emphasis on giving special attention to individual student performance in early childhood and lower elementary education is needed for the critical position she would hold in setting policy.

Endorsements: Nebraska State Education Association, NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), AFL-CIO

Bob Van Valkenburg

1

Bob's primary experience is in business, not in education. On his blog he states "concerned citizens need to put a stop to liberal educators and ‘left leaning' social scientists using our children as laboratory subjects for their own personal experimentation," which is very extreme ideology. Bob is a former small-business owner and an Army veteran with 31 years of active and reserve service. We would like to thank Bob for his service to our country. He does believe that state funding for education is a top priority, but that is about it for common-sense proposals. We are very concerned by his blog postings, for example this post stating once "Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their condition."

Endorsements: Nebraska Right to Life

District 2

Mark Quandahl (incumbent, running unopposed)

2

Mark is a former state senator (district 31) and chairman of the Nebraska Republican party. He was appointed to the State Board of Education in 2009 by Gov. Dave Heineman.  Because he is running unopposed we have not gone too in-depth on his stances, but we have included links to his website and social media. As with some other positions in our state, we hope to see more challengers in the future, especially to these political appointments made by Gov. Heineman.

Endorsements: Nebraska Right to Life

District 3

Tom Schommer

3

Tom's experience lies in business, not education. He cites this business experience as a major factor qualifying him for the state board of education, but we don't think our state's education system should be run like a business. Folks who support vouchers and taking money away from public schools usually say schools should be "run like businesses." He has experience on various boards, but his only service related to education was on the Norfolk Public Schools Advisory Council. If elected to the state board of education, Tom said he will "lean heavily" on the past President of the Board, Jim Scheer (currently running for the state legislature). Unfortunately, Jim Scheer's responses to the Vote Kids project demonstrated a severe lack of knowledge about programs affecting kids and a clear desire to defer responsibility for improving the lives of our children to the federal government. This makes us believe that he would not be such a great source of advice.

Endorsements: Nebraska Right to Life

Rachel Wise

3

Rachel is both a classroom teacher and administrator. Her family has farmed for generations bringing a welcome perspective for our rural towns. Rachel was the only candidate to mention a site we adore, NElovesPS. We look forward to her tenure as a board member.

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union)

District 4

Rebecca Valdez (incumbent, running unopposed)

4

While serving for eight years (2003-11) as the executive director of the Latino Center of the Midlands, Valdez joined the State Board of Education in 2009. Valdez supports the idea of a statewide plan "that [would get] families, schools, businesses and policymakers together," saying that "businesses should be encouraged to provide four days per year in order for workers to participate in parental involvement activities."  She supported a requirement that students say the Pledge of Allegiance recognizing that "America is a melting pot of races and ethnicities," and that "the common thread is we're Americans."

Endorsements: Nebraska Farm Bureau

UNL Board of Regents

voting info

District 3

David Copple

3

While David is on the wrong side of many issues, he does support adult stem cell research. He does not support embryonic stem cell research. He opposes the Nebraska DREAM Act, which passed the Nebraska Legislature in 2006, as well as UNL's "Plus One" domestic partner benefit proposal that recently passed with the current Board of Regents. David discusses making college affordable for families, which is a great bright spot.

Endorsements: Nebraska Right to Life

Jim Pillen

3

Jim opposes progressive policies. He is against the Nebraska DREAM Act, which allows in-state tuition rates to young people whose parents brought them to the states when they were children. This law was passed by the Nebraska Legislature in 2006 and we are certain Jim would try to end this much needed policy. He is against embryonic stem cell research, a critical area of study that leaders from Nancy Reagan to Mr. Obama support. Jim has been active in the community, serving on the Board of Columbus Community Hospital. He is also active in factory farming, so much so that several articles are written on the controversy of his hog operations.

Endorsements: Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Right to Life, Nebraska Pork Producers Association

District 4

Larry Bradley

4

Larry Bradley was raised by Oglala Lakota since the age of two and originally got into politics because the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Nebraska Department of Roads went onto the Santee Sioux Reservation in 2003 and collected a Plesiosaur without consulting the tribal council. Bradley worked for the American Indian Center and was the Commander of the American GI Forum, a civil rights group for Mexican-American Veterans over the last 5 years. Bradley does oppose embryonic stem cell research and we would encourage Bradley to support the science on this issue. He served on the Environmental Quality Council and taught environmental geology at UNO for the last decade. Larry has also served on the Papio-Missouri River NRD over the last 4 years. During his NRD service he advocated for clean air, clean water, conservation measures, recreation trails, and flood control. Bradley has also voiced opposition publicly on the risky Keystone XL Pipeline.

Endorsements: NEBFARMPAC (Nebraska Farmers Union), Nebraskans United for Life, Nebraska Latino Democratic Caucus

Bob Whitehouse (incumbent)

4

Bob supports embryonic stem cell research, a critical area of study that leaders from Nancy Reagan to Mr. Obama support and he voted on the right side of this issue as a current Regent. Bob also voted this year to approve "Plus One" benefits, a proposal brought by the students of UNL that would enable the partners of university employees to receive health benefits and life insurance.

Endorsements: Sarpy County Republican Party, Nebraska Republican Party, Omaha Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Nebraska State Education Association

District 5

Lavon Heidemann

5

As a senator in the Nebraska Legislature, Lavon voted against the Nebraska DREAM Act and voted "not present" for important bills relating to education in our state, including the School Property Tax and Learning Communities Bill (LB 641) and a bill setting guidelines on Standard Academic Testing (LB 653). Not a good sign of leadership. Lavon opposes the use of embryonic stem cell research, a critical area of study that leaders from Nancy Reagan to Mr. Obama support.

Endorsements: Farm Bureau; Nebraska Right to Life

Mike Jones

5

Mike, a former teacher and rural community leader, supports embryonic stem cell research, and believes any changes to the university's policies toward embryonic stem cell research should be made by the Legislature. As a member of the UNL Board of Regents, his primary focus would be on the Innovation Campus Initiative, which focuses on food, fuel, and water, three areas in which Nebraska is a leader and could be an innovator for other midwest states to follow.

District 8

Hal Daub

8

Hal is a former Omaha mayor and Congressman. Recently, Hal ran to return to the Mayor's office but lost. He also ran for US Senate but dropped out to clear the field for Mike Johanns. Hal largely avoids giving his opinion on the use of embryonic stem cells for research, saying the issue is settled. He can also been seen on stage with tanning bed lovers as a PR stunt to oppose health reform.

Endorsements: Nebraska Farm Bureau

Ann Ferlic Ashford

8

Ann is a lawyer and human resources executive whose father served on the Board of Regents and whose husband, Brad Ashford, serves in the State Legislature. Ann supports embryonic and adult stem cell research. She said it's important to explore potential life-saving cures. Ann sees a huge need to connect young students to the college experience so they can see it is possible for them to attend higher education and to ensure college is affordable.

Endorsements: Nebraska State Education Association, Omaha Federation of Labor, Nebraska State AFL-CIO