Bold Nebraska is a state affiliate of the Bold Alliance—a network of small but mighty groups protecting the land and water. Bold Nebraska is a citizen group focused on taking actions critical to protecting the Good Life.
Bold Nebraska is best known for our work with an unlikely alliance of farmers, ranchers, Tribal Nations and citizens to stop the risky Keystone XL pipeline. We work on issues including eminent domain, clean energy, small family farms and lifting up small businesses who represent the Good Life with our Made in the Neb project.
You can find us in the streets, corn fields and in the State Capitol standing up for property rights and standing with citizens as we work to protect the land, water and climate. To see all the Bold states, visit the Bold Alliance site.
Bold Nebraska History
Bold Nebraska started in early 2010 with the goal of transforming our state’s political landscape. This goal was not in the traditional “blue vs red” map but instead a deep belief that issues drive people to make change at the local level. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would take on a Big Oil corporation.
When Jane Kleeb, the founding Bold Nebraska Director, looked around the state back in 2010, she saw strong, allied groups working on progressive issues like college tuition for Dreamers and raising the minimum wage. And yet, the state’s elected leadership was represented by one conservative voice with no representation of the populist and independent roots of Nebraskans in rural and urban communities.
Within two months of opening the Bold Nebraska doors, Jane got a call to attend a State Department hearing about a pipeline that would cross the Sandhills and Ogallala Aquifer. Knowing nothing about climate issues or eminent domain, but knowing much about the grit of farmers and ranchers, Jane went to the hearing and never turned back.
Bold Nebraska was at the heart of the fight to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Using a “small but mighty” model that kept a small staff with a laser focus on our target—stopping Keystone XL, Bold introduced a new way to organize in a red state. Local and national groups worked hand in hand to keep pressure on Pres. Obama, the ultimate decision maker while infusing creativity every step of the way.
Bold ran a hyper-local campaign to highlight the risks of the pipeline that anyone, regardless of party lines, agreed on—protecting property rights from eminent domain, keep the Ogallala Aquifer tarsands free and focusing on energy for America not massive export pipelines that simply run through Nebraska. Bold combined grassroots efforts to push for new laws, took TransCanada to the courts over property rights, wildlife, and property rights all while keeping creativity and fun at the heart of every action.
Our opponents were the Provincial Government of Alberta, the Government of Canada, the most powerful industry on earth, and in the United States, the Republican Party and half the Democratic Party.
On our side were the Pipeline Fighters—an unlikely alliance of farmers, ranchers, tribes, green groups, moms, climate kids, faith leaders and some important donors who never stopped believing that we could win this fight despite all we were up against.
Bold is now taking on a new challenge and forming the Bold Alliance, a network of small but mighty groups protecting property rights and water in rural states. The Bold Nebraska model is about organizing rural communities and unlikely alliances to tackle climate change.
The typical national environmental model—where a campaign is run from DC and local folks brought in for only lobby days or press conferences—must be disrupted if we are going to win local and national fights against fossil fuel interests while advancing clean energy.
Nebraska Political History
We look to our roots of Nebraska Political History to guide our work.
Our state is currently dominated by one political voice—conservative, and it’s not the conservative voice many of us grew up with in our families. The conservative voice in our state is now dominated by far-right ideas and policies that are more about protecting big business, not fighting for our families.
Gone are the days where all sides of the political debate and ideology are not only heard but seriously impact our state and federal politics. Our history tells us something different.
When you have one voice in politics, you hear one side of the issue and you get one ideology dominating a state’s policies. Nebraskans in our history provided a better path, a better model for getting things done and for thinking big. We, the citizens, deserve and demand better. We owe it to our ancestors, to the homesteaders, to the people who made our state great to stand up and take action.
Go to any large city or small town in Nebraska and you hear many voices—we are progressive, moderate, populist, independent and everything in between—and yet the majority of politicians who represent us are on the far-right which means the issues we care about are governed by one voice. We need many voices.
We don’t want the status quo.
We want bold leaders.
We want all of our voices represented in Congress, in state elected officials and in our local politics.
We want political balance.
We want a Bold Nebraska.