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My Dad and the Pipeline

When I hear state senators and our governor make excuse after excuse after excuse about why they won’t pass legislation to protect our land and water, I can’t help thinking of what my father would say.

My earliest memory of politics was sitting on my dad’s lap, watching the Bush-Clinton returns in 1992. Ever since then, I’ve been daddy’s little politico. Of course, he probably wishes I’d picked up not only on his passion but also his Reagan-republican beliefs. Sorry, dad. You can’t raise me on Springstein and John Mellencamp without the blue-collar angst rubbing off.

My dad’s also a no-nonsense businessman who has little-to-no tolernace for excuses and laziness. Whenever my siblings or I would try to shirk chores, he’d say, “Are you done making excuses? Good. Now go clean your room/eat your vegetables/mow the lawn/do your homework.” I chalk it up to his days working on the farm to put himself through school, working long hours to put a roof over our heads, and eventually building his own business.

So when Speaker Flood says he needs MORE clarification about whether or not Nebraska can route oil pipelines (even though a CRS Memo and the State Department’s own statement says we can), when state senators wring their hands about TransCanada suing the state if we pass any pipeline laws, when the governor sits in his mansion and refuses to use his considerable influence to call a special session–I wan’t to ask them, “Are you done making excuses?”

Our state leaders were elected to protect our interests. So far, they’ve been doing that job pretty poorly. Their work ethic has been abyssmal, and they keep recycling the same old excuses. If they were working for my dad, he probably would have given them a stern lecture followed by a pink slip if their attitudes didn’t change. If they were his kids, they’d get a yelling, extra chores, and possibly a grounding for good measure.

Shirking responsibility is no joke in our family. And with our state’s reputation for a strong work ethic, I think most Nebraskans feel the same. It’s time for our leaders to embody that. If they’re done making excuses, I say, “Good. Now go protect our state.”

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