About 70 lucky Democrats had the pleasure of hearing Scott Kleeb make his fist official campaign speech this weekend in Scottsbluff at the Gathering on the Great Plains dinner. Kleeb was an overwhelming hit with everyone in the room. He spoke about why he is a Democrat and what changes need to be made both here in Nebraska and in the U.S. It was refreshing to hear what he thinks needs to be done to improve the lives of Nebraskans, and not just hear a list of what is wrong with the leadership in the state. Kleeb has great ideas that we can all get behind. Here is a short excerpt from the speech detailing some of the progress he would like to see in rural areas.
"How do you keep young people in places like Bassett or Beaver City? Jobs. And what do jobs need? All through our history jobs have followed connections and communications. In the 19th century it was railroads and the telegraph. Last century it was roads and telephones. This century, it's airports and the internet.
"This point came slamming home to me recently when a friend visited the ranch I work at south of Dunning. This friend has one of those high-powered jobs back east and he came out to help brand last spring. After two weeks here, just as he was getting ready to leave and go back to his office, he said to me: ‘You know, Scott, all I need to do my job is a cell phone, an internet connection and access to an airport a couple times a month
We now have almost 100 responses to our request to hear your stories and testimonies about why you are donkey instead of an elephant. Here is today's selection including a special post from Nance County Activist Kerry Case. Enjoy!
My name is Kerry Case, and I am the chair of the Nance County Democrats. Growing up, my family taught me how lucky we are to live in a country that celebrates freedom through the civil liberties we all enjoy, from the right to vote, to the right to worship or not worship as we choose, to the right to free speech. Some of my own ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, securing the freedoms that we enjoy today. Looking back, politics seemed very different when I was younger. It seemed that there was a greater degree of acceptance for a wide variety of views, and that diversity was considered strength rather than a weakness.
The Democratic Party has always shared more of the values that are important to me. We are the party of social justice, the party that has shown the most concern about creating equal opportunities and prosperity for all people. The Democratic Party has always been a party of the people, and we the people are better for the work Democrats have done.
We are a party of family values and understand the need for the best schools, affordable health care, jobs that pay a living wage, clean air and water, equality, and religious freedom. In the wake of hurricane Katrina, these ideals are even more important. We are living in troubling times, and many people continue to live in poverty. Americans continue to experience the erosion of some of our most precious ideals, held since the beginning of our nation. We see the erosion of rights that Americans have enjoyed, from women's rights to civil rights. Americans deserve better, and it is our responsibility to create a better future for ourselves, and for our children and grandchildren. That is why I am proud to be a Democrat.
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I am tired of being lied to by our Corporate Government. When I was a child, I remember having absolute faith in the United States Government. Now, every statement that is issued by a government official is subject to question. One tends to look for the "spin" in every response. Now, the Democrats are not perfect either. But traditionally the Democratic Party is honestly concerned with service to others, with caring for those less fortunate in our society, with equality in education, in the job market, in the health care of all Americans. We see too much corporate greed. We see too much outsizing of jobs that force working Americans out of the benefits that the rich among us take for granted. The Democrats are willing to give. It seems the Republicans are all too willing to take, especially from those who can least afford it. The "trickle-down" theory doesn't work; all it does is make the corporate world smug that they are "doing something".
I feel that the neo-conservatives that are currently in power are a threat to our country, and the Democrats are the only viable alternative.
I'm a Nebraska Democrat because I was raised with the basic midwestern values of kindness, generosity, hard work, and taking care of your neighbor. Nebraskans do these things to be good people, but also because we believe the common sense idea that what improves the fortune of our neighbors is also good for the rest of us. The Democratic Party embodies these values, while more conservative parties turn their back on these things that most Nebraskans treasure and are raised to believe. It is my wish that people who share our basic values (and I think this would include 90% of Nebraskans) will realize that it is the Democrats who are more likely to implement them.
By the grace of a loving God, and fortunate birth, I am a Nebraska Democrat. In the fifties, before massive media, we had big extended Families. Our farm, because we had the best chicken, beef, fresh garden stuff and the big front porch, was a great gathering place. Uncle Les cussed FDR, called him a red. Grandpa talked about meeting Buffalo Bill, and Hoover was "that short sighted bragger." The WW II Pacific vets loved Truman. Farmers spoke reverently of Bryan and Stevenson. Us kids mainly listened, and ate pie, cheating at rummy. Our time would come.
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I believe we owe it to our fellow citizens to help those in need and to provide for a future for all Nebraskans, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, beliefs, or socio-economic status. I hold a Ph.D. today because of the Great Society programs which helped my family in times of need during my childhood. I'm proud to say I am a product of Head Start, of WIC, of Pell Grants. And I feel it is my responsibility to make sure that we either have a society in which these programs are there to help others, like they did my family, or better yet, a society in which they are no longer needed. I teach and do research today not for the money, God knows I could make much more working in private enterprise, but because I want my daughters and their friends to have a future of equality, education, and promise, not the future I currently see of poverty, discontent, in-equality, and global strife. This is why I am a Nebraska Democrat.
Here are today:s "Why I Am A Democrat" selections. These responses were also featured in an email we sent out to all Nebraska Democrats. Remember, if you haven
Yesterday, we posed a very simple, yet complex question to Democrats across the state: Why are you a Nebraska Democrat? What drives you to keep fighting for the Democratic Party, our candidates and our values?
The response we received was overwhelming and more stories and testimonies are still flowing in. We want to share some of the stories with you. Keep checking back because we will be posting new testimonials regularly. Please share your story if you haven't already. You can share it here or by clicking on this link www.nebraskademocrats.org/purpose
WHY AM I A DEMOCRAT?
*I was born a Democrat.
*I believe in a quality public education for all of our citizens.
*I believe in access to quality health care for all of our citizens.
*I believe the right of all our citizens to a decent living wage.
*I believe in the right of our citizens to organize in the terms and conditions of employment, and the obligation of Government to aggressively enforce this right.
*I believe in a free society, in the civil liberties built into the United States Constitution, and the obligation of Government to aggressively enforce these civil liberties to protect the rights of our citizens. I believe our civil liberties are something precious, not simply an abstraction.
*I believe in faith, but also in the protection of separation of church and state as embodied in the United States Constitution.
*I believe in national security, and the need to use military force when necessary.
*I believe in the value of financial responsibility, both by private persons, private enterprise and Government.
*I believe in honesty, both by private persons, private enterprise and by Government.
Nebraska Democratic Party Chairman
I'm a Democrat because I believe in a level playing field: equal opportunity for all. Those of us who are blessed with good fortune must be willing to help support the basic safety net that allows less fortunate citizens to have the opportunity for decent health care, a good education, and of course, basic food and housing. I believe if we provide this support, then the ability and will to work for a better life will follow. As an economist, I believe that "trickle down" economics has a limited impact. We need a fair tax system and those at the top of the income and wealth scale do not need further tax breaks. Taxing high-income dollars is nowhere near as painful to those citizens as the same tax on low- and middle-income dollars.
When I registered to vote at the age of 18, I registered based upon my presidential candidate preference, George McGovern. Since 1974, I have come to realize that the differences between the two parties are about ethics and whether you pander to the corporations & wealthy elite OR whether you represent all people before yourself, friends, and family.
I am a registered Democrat because I believe in the democratic principles that the United States was founded to uphold. There are times that I do not agree with the entire party platform…but I prefer a party with ethics to one without which says one thing while doing another. There is no room for hypocrisy in the United States.
Nebraska Democrats understand the ultimate responsibility of Americans is to all people, not just those with money or power.
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I believe government can and should help the helpless, be a voice for the voiceless, and strive to improve the lives of all people (not just those who can pay the campaign costs). I believe in science over political strategies, tolerance over religious judgement, and in an individual's choice in deeply personal decisions over state interventions. I believe in education and its fundamental capacity to improve lives. I believe public policies should never favor business at the expense of community or the environment. I believe in diplomacy over warfare.
I am an educator, a single woman of modest income, and self-supporting through three college degrees. How could I not be a Nebraska Democrat?
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I believe in equal rights for all human beings, regardless of their social class, race, sexuality or age.
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I believe that all Nebraskans children deserve an outstanding education.
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I believe in responsible leaders who help the needy, not ones who only help their ‘friends'.
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I believe in a fair, unbiased judicial system; one that does not bring in personal religious beliefs and apply it to others with different views.
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I want leadership that will spark our economy, not put out the fire.
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I believe that Nebraska can stop the ‘Brain Drain' of young professionals by changing the archaic practices of our current government.
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I believe in an open and honest government.
Last night Amanda and I met with the Sarpy County Democrats.
Burke Summers, the County Chair, has been doing great things in Sarpy County and has really turned the party around from a "social club" to an active membership where almost 30 people turned out for the meeting.
Burke gave updates on events in the party and in the labor movement. Amanda and I spoke about what the party is doing and about our upcoming training in Scottsbluff on Saturday. There is still space to attend -- you can RSVP here
We heard from people interested in running for local offices in Sarpy County and about some tasks the party is going to undertake in the coming months. It is great to see such an interest from people of all backgrounds, ages, and professions.
Thanks again to Sarpy County for inviting us to your meeting!
2004 NDP JFK Award Winner Mark Martinez Honored.
Mark was honored recently by the Mexican American Commission as Hispanic Man of the Year for his dedication and service to the Latino Community. He has served many organizations including St. Stanislaus Catholic Grade School, the Chicano Awareness Center, the Omaha South High School Curriculum Accreditation Advisory Committee and the Latino Police Officers Association.
Mark will be speaking at the Hispanic Democrats Open House on September 27th at 5:30pm in Omaha. You can RSVP for the event here
Chuck Hagel made a big stink today about opposing Senator Nelson's legislation stopping the U.S. from importing Japanese beef. What happened when the vote went to the floor? Hagel was one of only 26 Senators to vote against it. Nelson's amendment passed with a large bi-partisan margin of 72-26.
Of course, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns isn't too fond of the legislation either. He wants to ease the ban on Japanese beef even though the Japanese still refuse to import American beef. Nelson's amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill will stop Johanns from spending money on efforts to resume imports of beef from Japan.
Once again, it's nice to see who actually stands up for Nebraskans on issues important to our economy.
This message is from an email our State Chairman, Steve Achelpohl sent earlier this morning.
Dear Nebraska Democrat,
Democrats have a long and proud history in Nebraska--but these days people call our home a "red" state. Pundits and Republicans say that what we do doesn't matter, that Nebraskans don't want a choice. They think what we stand for doesn't count.
It's up to us to prove them wrong.
Our 93 County Strategy brings people together to build a powerful statewide organization. Each of us has to contribute to the goals and ideals that we stand for--not just the mechanism for achieving them.
Every Nebraska Democrat needs to be clear about what we're fighting for. Where do you want to take our state? What drives you to keep fighting for the Democratic Party, our candidates and our values? Why are you a Nebraska Democrat?
I want your answer:
We're going to create a permanent archive of these statements so that every Nebraskan knows exactly what we stand for and what we want for our state and our country.
This week, I'm going to put my own answer up on our website and we will be adding others daily. Going forward, we'll be showcasing statements from Democratic leaders and everyday Democrats across the state.
Take a moment and join them now with why you are Nebraska Democrat:
We're building a testament of purpose by candidates, volunteers and new voters that will make clear to everyone what Nebraska Democrats are fighting for.
We must stand for our common values--not only against someone else's. We will bring a positive message to everyone in Nebraska--and offer the inspiration and leadership our state sorely needs.
You're a part of it, and I ask and hope that you speak up now to tell the world why:
Together we're going to win--and we're going to win with pride.
Chairman, Nebraska Democratic Party
UNL Young Democrats President and ASUN Senator Matt Schaefer took his displeasure directly to the source on Friday: Regent Dave Hergert. Schaefer recently proposed a resolution unanimously passed by the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska asking Hergert to step down. At Friday's Board of Regents meeting, Schaefer had harsh words for Hergert, who still refuses to resign.
"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is--to be prepared" -- George W. Bush