Christmas is right around the corner, and we couldn’t help but help but place ourselves in Santa’s shoes. Every year, the big guy in a red suit decides which children have been naughty and which have been nice.
We’re taking Santa’s list a step further and sorting out Nebraska’s politicians. Read on to find out who’s been good and who’s getting a lump of coal.
Ben Nelson: We know some activists are hurt by Nelson’s DREAM vote this year. But he’s also voted for health reform, repealing DADT and co-sponsored food safety legislation. Nelson’s proven to be an independent thinker who listens to Nebraskans, not his party leadership, and then votes the way he thinks best represents Nebraska.
Ken Haar and Tony Fulton: This odd couple is working together to challenge TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. When the state legislature’s most liberal and most conservative senators get together, you know it’s an important issue. We look forward to working with this dynamic duo in the new year to protect Nebraska’s landowners and natural resources.
BSDC Team: State Senators Lathrop, Coash, Cornett, Wallman and Karpisek are on the nice list this year for their work with the Beatrice State Developmental Center. After the Center lost it’s Medicaid certification, because of Gov. Heineman and Johanns’ failed leadership, Lathrop and company jumped into action to defend those who struggle to defend themselves. Because of their oversight, the BSDC is slowly improving and providing patients with a better quality of life. It should be noted though, that many families are worried about the bottom line: Governor Heineman wants to close BSDC, just like he and Johanns closed mental health regional centers.
Heineman: Considering he’s shown up in our Wimp Wed on 3 separate occasions, there was no way the governor was going to make it onto our nice list this year. From accepting potentially illegal campaign money from TransCanada to fighting health reform tooth and nail, to not doing a single thing to protect our land and water from a risky pipeline, Heineman’s earned himself a stocking-full of coal.
Bruning: Since he’s the state’s legal eagle, you’d think Attorney General Jon Bruning could fill out campaign paperwork correctly. Sadly, Bruning’s now been busted twice: first for accepting foreign money (a no-no) from TransCanada and not reporting their Canadian address, and second for abusing his exploratory committee. Bruning also “stepped in it” when he blasted Nelson for taking earmarks only to find out Bruning himself asked for a $500,000 earmark to help fight meth in our state. He’s quickly earning his revived moniker “Wrong Way Jon.”
Johanns: Senator Johanns has impressed us by standing up for Nebraska landowners against TransCanada’s bullying. But Johanns’ good deeds for this year end there. He consistently voted the party line by filibustering health care for 9/11 first responders and voting against financial reform. While Johanns isn’t assertively devious like Heineman or Bruning, he’s a party lapdog which places him squarely on the naughty list.
Janssen: State Senator Charlie Janssen will introduce Arizona-style legislation this year. Such legislation has had negative fiscal and social effects in every community where it’s passed. Janssen’s jumping on a bad legislation train that’s being funded by FAIR — a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has labelled as a nativist hate group. You can’t hang out with hate groups and expect more than a lump of coal.