By STEVE ERDMAN
People enter into politics for a variety of different reasons, and those reasons end up defining that Senator’s personal political philosophy. For instance, some come into the Legislature with a single focus, such as to improve education or health care. Others come to do the bidding of the lobbyists. Still others come to impose their worldview on society. To the contrary, I believe the primary duty of a state senator should be to act on the best interest of the people of the State.
For this reason, I have tried to focus my attention on what I believe Nebraskans need most. What I hear from people all across the State of Nebraska is that they need property tax relief and agricultural land valuation reform most. For this reason, I have made these two issues my highest priorities as a state legislator. As a result, this year many with destroyed property from the blizzards and floods will get property tax relief because I was able to successfully pass a bill with a provision for property tax relief for those with destroyed property.
What I like most about being a Nebraska state senator, though, is actually helping people. Besides writing bills, serving on the Appropriations Committee, and speaking on the floor of the Legislature, being a Nebraska state senator allows me to serve Nebraskans in some very unique ways. When I am not fretting over the state budget, property tax relief and agricultural land valuation reform, I often find myself helping people solve difficult problems and improving their situation in life.
Government often fails people. Because I see how government fails people, I try to resolve those situations where people get left behind or fall through the cracks. Working behind the scenes this year, I have been able to help many of our constituents in Legislative District 47. For instance, I once helped a truck driver obtain a birth certificate from a department that was backlogged due to a reduction in personnel. He needed the birth certificate in order to renew his commercial driver’s license. We were able help him get the birth certificate in time so that he did not lose a single day of driving. I have been able to help many other constituents with similar kinds of problems.
This philosophy of helping people when government fails sometimes takes me across the state. I have even been able to help some who live as far away as Omaha’s inner city. For instance, I recently helped a young, single, kinsman foster mom living in Omaha’s Southside get her foster child back. Child Protective Services had taken her child away because Omaha Public Power District had turned her power off. She couldn’t pay her electric bill because DHHS was sending her check to the wrong person! Once we got that straightened out, she was able to pay her electric bill, get her power restored, and get her foster child back.
So, if government seems to be failing you or is just leaving you in the dust, please know that I want to help. So, please don’t hesitate to call my office at 402-471-2616. Not every situation can be resolved, but when government is the problem, I will do my best to fix it. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve the people of Nebraska.