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Why Are You A Democrat? (Day 5)

In these daily posts, folks have been bearing their souls explaining why the Democratic Party is the only Party that truly resonates with their values and ideals. Here are today's batch of posts, including a special one from activist Monie Brownson. Her participation and support over the years has been steadfast.

I'm proud to be a Democrat, and I appreciate what the Democratic Party has done for millions of people in this country. My association with the Democratic Party has been formed by my early life experiences and influenced by my grandparents. Growing up in Big Sandy, Montana, with one grandfather who was a Democratic state representative and two other grandparents who emigrated from Canada, profoundly affected my interest in government, politics, and world affairs. Early on, it was deeply impressed upon me that it's vitally important to be a good citizen, to support your government, to learn about your government officials and to always vote.

Starting in the 1950's, I promoted the education of voters by posting campaign materials of all the political candidates in my six-lane bowling alley. My active participation in Democratic politics includes work with my late husband Jim Brownson on the campaigns of Senator Max Baucus and Governor Ted Schwinden, my experience as Democratic Committee Woman for eight terms, and my activity as a delegate for Gary Hart at the State Convention. My first political event in Nebraska came when I marched in a parade for Senator Bob Kerrey. One of my proudest moments was being elected as a voting delegate at large to the National Democratic Convention in Boston during July 2004, an experience that I shared with my granddaughter Kendra Brady.

Although I belong to several organizations, I give the Democrats more time when needed. And now is that time. This country was built on a middle class, but the Bush administration has worked to cause bitterness and divide the classes. If our country and government don't exist on a successful basis, nothing else will matter. Throughout history, the Democratic Party has made much of the progress for the common man. Democrats are positive and caring people, who have experienced many hardships. We know that life isn't always easy. But we persevere -- this is why I am proud to be a Democrat.

E. Ramona "Monie" Brownson
I am a democrat because I am my brother's keeper.

I am a Nebraska Democrat because I believe that being a Christian is not only talking the talk but it means that you are walking the walk because I believe every word of Matthew 25:32-46

I am a democrat because I believe what Jesus taught and that is to give with your heart expecting nothing in return.

I am a democrat because I believe it is moral to help the poor, sick, elderly and young. It is moral to be good stewards of the land and sea. It is moral to love my brother as I would love myself.

It is moral to be tolerant. I am a Nebraska Democrat because I know that it is right to show love patience and tolerance. That it is right to expect transparency and accountability in our elected officials.

I am a Democrat because being progressive isn't just a political choice but it is inherently who I am as a person. I am a Democrat because I know no other way to be.
-Robin Quarles
I have always been a Democrat because this is the party that cares about what happens to people and focuses considers issues affecting families, children, the economy and jobs, health care, the environment and our quality of life in general, for us now and for the next generation. The Democratic party reaches out to all people, from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, and a wide range of persoal values. It is the party of inclusion, not exclusion. Individual Democrats may differ on individual issues but we know that our core values are centered in the community and the people who make up that community.
-Kathryn Bellman
To say I was born Democrat is to over-simplify. I was born poor. My first generation Irish-American parents struggled to make a living on a farm in South Dakota through the depression and the drought years. They ended up owning the farm. In 1948, thanks to the REA, we got electricity. Years after I left home, they got an indoor toilet. I was baptized Catholic and raised Christian catholic by New Deal Democrats. The family discussions at every meal involved religion and politics. The two were intertwined in a belief system based on the beatitudes.

Part of maturing is to review again the tenets learned as a child, to sift and to refine. The process is enhanced by education, both formal and experiential. I find these many years later; I have not thrown the baby out with the water. The adages of my father have become my "truisms." "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer" (in Republican years). "It is preferred to perk up rather than to drip down" (democracy comes from the people for the common good, not imposed by the few to enhance themselves).

I believe in inclusion and compassion for all without regard for race, color gender, religion, national origin or sexual preference. I believe in creating opportunity for those who otherwise lack it. I believe in equal opportunity for all in regard to immigration, medical care, education, housing, employment and a just wage.

The Democrat party is the party who cares about people, fairness, justice and equality. My Irish roots are of a rebel clan and I will press on to my dying day for a system of fairness, social justice and peace. I choose to live in Nebraska and that makes me a Nebraska Democrat.
-Peg O'Dea Lippert

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Why Are You A Democrat? (Day 4)

More and more stories and testimonials keep flowing in. Here are today's selections:

I am proud to be a Democrat in Nebraska because it represents a candle burning in a dark room. Here in Nebraska, there is a lot of resistence to progressivism and change, but the Democratic Party stands as the protectors of progress and the group that looks to change things for the better. That is why I am a Nebraska Democrat.

-Chris Cooper
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I believe in the following principles:

Freedom of religion and the separation of church and state.

Freedom of speech and the right to speak out against your government if they are doing a poor job.

Freedom to protest in large groups, in public, if we so desire, because our Administration is incompetent and someone needs to speak out!

I believe that our military forces should be used ONLY when our soil is under attack, not to fight someone else's war, or to make my corporate friends rich with oil profits! Shame on our government for sending our men and women into harm's way for no apparent reason that can be based on fact.

I believe in public education. I myself am a teacher and I know how important this is for our future. If private school vouchers become common practice, we will see a new aristocracy born in this country, and only the poor and downtrodden will remain in public school, with little or no funding from our Federal government.

I believe in the sanctity of our environment. If we are not stewards of our land, who will take care of it for our grandchildren? Their grandchildren? Do we want our future generations growing up in a world that is devoid of natural beauty, exotic animals, diverse biomes, or clean air? We must protect our natural resources, or our own Earth will surely perish!
I believe in alternative forms of energy and relying less on oil and fossil fuels. I think it is our duty to reduce carbon emissions and create new job markets that will lead us into the future!

And finally, I believe in the United States of America, and every person's right to be free, regardless of their race, religion, sexual preference, social status, or gender! I believe we are a planet of individuals, who need to pay a whole lot more attention to each other, and build some bridges between our vast land of nations. Only cooperation and teamwork will take us into a better tomorrow!

-Shelly Whitman
I am a Democrat because I believe that God blesses makers of Peace.

I am a Democrat because I believe that lifting up the least among us elevates us all.

I believe we have the sacred duty, as citizens of this nation and this world, to be careful sewards of God's creation; and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

-Heidi Heidemann
I am Proud to be a Nebraska Democrat because our party stands up for working families each and everyday; our party strives to protect and improve public education from kindergarten through college; and our party finds commonsense solutions to help small businesses succeed. This is the party that believes government can and should be a positive force in people's lives.

-Danielle Nantkes

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Scottsbluff Grassroots Academy

Our State Central Committee meeting in Scottsbluff was topped off by another of our Grassroots Academy trainings.

This time, we were lucky enough to have two talented folks fly out from the DNC in Washington, DC to echo the messages of Governor Dean: Parag Mehta and Brad Martin.

After a brief welcome from our State Chair, the Scotts Bluff County Chair, and our Executive Director, Brad gave us an in-depth look at the DNC State Partnership Program and outlined ways that Nebraska is benefiting today.

Parag posed the kinds of questions we all need to be thinking about to help elect our Democrats: Where do we find volunteers? What kinds of things can volunteers do? How can we reach out to new people? Ian gave a tour of what the Nebraska Democratic Party can do to help elect candidates and strengthen our local parties. Because of that, two new people volunteered to chair in their communities!

Our training was a great success -- filled with people from all across the state.

Thanks again to everyone who made the trip to Scottsbluff this weekend! It was great to see all of you!

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"All I need is a cell phone, internet connection and an airport."

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

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Why Are You A Democrat? (Day 3)

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".

-Lois Mertes
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.
-Alan Meyer
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.

-Steve Hollister
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.

-Mike Shambaugh-Miller

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Why Are You A Democrat? (Day 2)

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

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Why Are You A Democrat?

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


*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.

-Steve Achelpohl
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.

-Joyce Gleason
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.

-Debora McGee
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?

-Lori Umstead
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.

-Robert Gittins

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On the Road - Sarpy County

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!

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2004 NDP JFK Award Winner Mark Martinez Honored

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

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Hagel Makes a Stink, While Nelson Gets Work Done

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.

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