NE Primary 2016: Last Minute Voter’s Guide

VOTE TODAY retro

You could say I threw together this article for my family and myself — because I did. So, you’ll forgive that it is rather haphazard and not at all typical of how we handle anything like election guides here at GiN. It’s less even-handed and more opinionated. Bottom line is, I thought since I was pulling together the information anyway, I’d share it with anyone else who might find it useful.

The five voting citizens of the Dawdy family have been discussing and debating the various ballot items for weeks, especially so in the past few days…yet questions remain. What you’ll find here are the bits and pieces of information and sources various members of my family have shared with one another, along with some personal research Linda shared with me.

You’ll notice I’m totally by-passing the Presidential Primary. Either people are firmly decided on that one, or, if they’re not, I don’t think I could provide any satisfying answer here (even if I had more time), as the picture below amply illustrates:

Picture of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Found on Twitter

While I am focusing specifically on what I’ll see today on my ballot, what I’m sharing here could be used as a sort of a template, which means there are some resources that does have information for other races and issues.

And, I must note, when I say, “what I’ll see on my ballot”, I have to point out that I and all of my family are registered Republicans (for now…that’s one of the many subjects we’ve all been discussing), so, in the vein of sharing my particular research, that’s my focus for the day.

Potentially helpful stuff to assist the process:

  • For Sample Ballots, Click HERE 
  • Don’t know all of your particular political subdivisions and districts? Use Nebraska Voter View to see the list, as well as confirm registration, party affiliation, and polling place.
  • Confused about what some of the entities listed on your ballot even are or what they do? Like, what IS a Natural Resources District???? Well, for one thing, NRD boards have taxation power. And there are many other mysterious taxing entities, and some have eminent domain powers as well, so, see our 2014 article “The Obscure Stuff”.

Entities that have done interviews with, submitted questionnaires to, or covered candidates and their races in some way:

Voter Information (specific link to Lancaster County) – questionnaires

Lincoln Journal Star – interviews

Omaha World Herald – profiles and links to OWH coverage

(If you know of another such resource, please let us know by using the comments form, below.)

U.S. Congress District 1

Since our indolent Congressman Jeff Fortenberry is running unopposed, I’ll simply state you’ve got his bubble to fill in or your own creative choice of write-ins. I’ve heard a number of suggestions  that range from Mickey Mouse to one of my kid’s tradition of writing in the name of one of his favorite college professors.

If you’re wondering why “the attitude” about Rep. Fortenberry, please see THIS LIST of previous GiN articles.

State Legislature

Our legislative district was on the ballot in 2014, as was Linda’s. The best advice in checking out the these candidates is to first look at the incumbents, should your district have one. Check out their page on the Nebraska Legislature website, particularly looking at proposed legislation, sponsored bills and any updates on their main page.

Regarding non-incumbent candidates, I’m afraid I’ll have to leave it to your search engine of choice and pray that the good Lord be with you.

By way of editorializing, here at GiN, we would advise that you should discard the “R” and the “D” labels you might discover, as they clearly have little meaning in a body that has long had a heavy or super majority of “Rs”, but has the spending, taxation, and veto-override record it does (and I’m just skimming the surface here).

State Board of Education 

In Lancaster County, it’s the candidates listed below. What you’re going to read is a summary of information and opinions reported to me by a couple of family members and Linda who did their own research in deciding how to vote.

To paraphrase a family member’s assessment:

These candidates basically all say the same things and they aren’t saying much. None of them are for school choice and all of them want to spend a lot of money.

Having done some research on each candidate, this same family member not only found commonality among them in opposition to school choice, but on the issue of making some changes to current standardized testing practices, although each have subtle differences on the issue.

Patricia A. Koch-Johns

I saw an ad the other day for Ms. Koch-Johns. The key points were that she has been in public education for 40 years and that she stands for…everyone.

Her website, patsyforkids.com, is loaded with information, that’s for sure. The one page I found most interesting was the one listing endorsements. More often than not, for me, this is a who-not-to-vote-for guide, and it’s no different this time. Patty Pansing-Brooks and Kate Sullivan are at the top. Two of my least favorite Nebraska State Senators.

My two oldest children, who both work in creative fields, find all three of these candidates distasteful for numerous reasons, but found one distinction with Ms. Koch-Johns; she wants to restore funding for the arts.

Linda, on the other hand, a woman who provided her two sons with a classical education (as I did my three children), and who happens to be a sincere art lover, nonetheless, found in her research of Ms. Koch-Johns that the candidate believes the schools should engage in interventions such as alleviating poverty and other societal ills.

Bob Rauner

To quote our family’s first time voter:

Do not vote for Bob Rauner. He’s been endorsed by both the Lincoln Journal Star and the Omaha World Herald.

Within our family and circle of closest friends, this is the equivalent of the political kiss of death.

In addition, Linda informs that Dr. Rauner believes the schools should tackle the problem of obesity.

To quote Forest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

Stephanie Bohlke-Schulte

Linda reports that Ms. Bohlke-Schulte states she is opposed to Common Core, that the state shouldn’t adopt it and that the state should set it’s own standards. Linda read a news article wherein Bohlke-Schulte explained that there should be an option of teaching creationism alongside evolutionary theory and that this decision and others should be made at the curriculum choice level. Absent further research on the subject of precisely how and by whom such curriculum decisions are made, Ms. Bohlke-Schulte seemed to indicate that such decisions should be made at the most localized possible level (within the existing structures).

City of Lincoln Stormwater Management Bond Issue

On this, I’m mostly going to give you my unvarnished opinion.

As a matter of principle, I find it totally irresponsible that the City of Lincoln does NOT budget for such projects as a matter of course. It turns out that the City always funds these projects by bond issue. While not precisely the same thing, I find this to be handling our household budget with my husband and I charging our water and sewer bills to our credit card.

Beyond the basic principle, I’m thinking of such things as the Antelope Valley project and the apparently frequent backing up of sewer lines in certain parts of the city whenever there is heavy rain, etc., and on what else City funds are spent. Regarding Antelope Valley, I saw video early last evening of water up to the bridge lines in some locations – and that was before some of the worst of the flash flooding was supposed to hit. I don’t know if actually flooded in that area, but should it come close? What if there had been more rain? Weren’t millions and years spent to prevent flooding there?

And finally, on the subject, Scott Voorhees interviewed a pro and con advocate this morning on KFAB radio. The audio is not posted, but perhaps it will appear at some point on Vorhees page.

Natural Resource District

This will be the last area of research I’ll conduct and will add more if time allows. Here at GiN we tend to be in agreement about NRD’s – we’re troubled by their very existence. Someone I’ll refer to as “in a position to know” the subject very intimately once told me in response to my question, “What do Natural Resource Districs do?”, responded with, “Now, that’s a very good question. They do spend a lot of money.”

The one candidate I know anything about at this point is Mr. Macek (Lower Platte South). He sent out a card out that communicated in no uncertain terms that he believes that Natural Resource Districts will save us all from the horror of climate change.

FINALLY…

If you have anything helpful to add by way of resources or information, please post it in the comments. I should note, however, candidates and their surrogates, lobbyists, or others in the employ of interested parties should not consider this a free advertising opportunity.

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