In Nebraska, the Legislature has a Democrat heading its Appropriations Committee and a Republican in the Governor’s Mansion, yet agreement was reached on key spending elements and the Legislature’s session ended on time. Meanwhile, in Kansas, one party (the GOP in this instance) is in firm control of the executive and legislative branches, yet the budget debate among Kansas leaders was marked this year by rancor and uncertainty. Kansas lawmakers went well past their deadline for ending their 2013 session (the state House and Senate exchanged 11 different budget plans without agreement) before finally agreeing on a budget; the session staggered to a close on June 17 at 2:15 in the morning. This is a positive reflection on the Nebraska way of working together to get things done.
Nebraskan William Jennings Bryan was the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party three times (1896, 1900 and 1908). One of his central themes was the enduring importance of the farm economy to our country’s future. Something to ponder in light of many Democratic members of the U.S. House literally applauding the failure of the latest farm bill.
Kudos to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who spoke at his alma mater, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and visited Offutt Air Force Base in a return visits to the state. It’s good to see him maintaining his ties to Nebraska.