First a little Frozen Four, UNO Hockey (or “Omaha” hockey, as the national press are calling them) Separated at Birth for ya:
UNO Head Coach Dean Blais and former Grand Island Mayor, Jay Vavricek!
(Boy, that’s Brother-from-another-Mother suff going on there…)
After the closer-than-expected finish in the Lincoln Mayor Primary on Tuesday, the candidates immediately jumped into a forum/debate in front of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce yesterday.
Two term, going for a third, incumbent Democrat Mayor Chris Beutler and Republican Lancaster County Treasurer Andy Stebbing went at it about roads, crime and taxes, among other stuff.
Stebbing already has a record of coming up with innovative ideas, whereas Beutler’s main plans are to raise taxes. But if you want an interesting perspective, you can read LJS reporter Nancy Hicks’ analysis of the forum:
Most of Stebbing’s answers during the debate were short and to the point, while Beutler, who has been mayor for eight years and understands how city government works, provided more detailed information.
Ha! Niiiiiice Nancy.
This is what passes for unbiased reporting these days, eh?
Outstanding. Next time just add, “and Christopher was like a garden breeze, while that Stebbing fella smelled of beef and cheese!”
(Some think this is really a response to KLIN’s Coby Mach, after Beutler’s fouled-up hit on Stebbing last week.
After Beutler attacked Stebbing for non-payment of property taxes — when Stebbing’s payment sent by his mortgage company hadn’t been processed YET by the Country Treasurer’s office — Mach questioned whether Beutler knew how government works.)
In any case, for your listening pleasure, you can hear Andy Stebbing on my podcast, The Wheels Down Politics Show, here.
Travelling down the road to Omaha, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert sent a letter to Unicameral Speaker Hadley regarding her support for LB623, driver’s licenses for “DREAMers” — kids of illegal immigrants.
Here is the FULL TEXT of the letter:
Dear Speaker Hadley and Members of the Legislature,
LB623 is a bill that would allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) youth, sometimes referred to as DREAMers, to apply for a Nebraska driver’s license. DACA is a program created by the Department of Homeland Security that would give certain young immigrants deferred status and, among other things, make it lawful for states to issue driver’s licenses to them. As Mayor of Nebraska’s largest city, I am in support of LB623.
In order to qualify for the DACA program, an immigrant must meet the following criteria: enter the United States before age 16, currently attend school or have graduated from high school or college, and pose no public safety threat (no felony record). Many of these individuals were brought to this Country very young and know only Nebraska as their home. They have learned English, completed school and contribute to our society in many ways. For most of them, eventual citizenship is their dream.
As Mayor, ensuring public safety is vital, and our Nation’s borders must be secure. Immigration policy should be designed with our Nation’s well-being held in high regard. However, reality tells us that over the decades, millions of people have come into this country contrary to our immigration laws and many were brought here as children, through no fault of their own.
I do support a path to legal status for those who came here as a minor. Here in Omaha, we should make children of undocumented workers who are on a path to legal status have the tools they need to be
productive members of our community. It is time for the federal government to step up and take action by passing comprehensive immigration reform that will also secure our borders.
I would request the Legislature move Senator McCollister’s priority bill out of the Transportation and Telecommunication Committee and pass it into law.
Mayor, City of Omaha
You may note that while Mayor Stothert and several other Republicans are for this, several notable Republicans, such as former Governor Heineman, current Governor Ricketts and state Senator Beau McCoy are against.
However, Stothert’s support shouldn’t be a big shock to anyone. She announced her support for this idea way back when she was an Omaha Councilperson running for Mayor in 2013.
Of course back then it wasn’t much of a deal, because ALL of the candidates — Jim Suttle, Dave Nabity, Dan Welch and Brad Ashford — were for allowing DREAMers to apply for driver’s licenses.
At the time Stothert noted she supported the idea, “so that they can legally drive, and go to work and get to school.” It is also worth noting that in the general election, Stothert campaigned hard in, and won, South Omaha’s Ward 4, home of a large Latino population in the city.
The bill has 25 cosponsors, but will need another 5 votes to override a likely veto by Governor Ricketts. It will be interesting to see what comes down on this one. It will be tight.
As an aside, in his story about Mayor Stohert’s letter, the OWH’s Paul Hammel referred to Stothert as “a rising star in the Republican Party”.
I guess if you mean nationally, that would be true. But as far as the state of Nebraska goes, once you’re become the Mayor of Omaha — as opposed to, say, on the city council or a state Senator — your star has pretty much risen.
You can listen to my podcast with Star Republican Jean Stothert on this week’s edition of The Wheels Down Politics Show.
And on the subject of Risen Stars, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer has stepped up her support for women in the workplace with conservative legislation.
I fully agree that gender-based pay discrimination is unacceptable. I oppose well intentioned, but ultimately misguided policy prescriptions like the so-called Paycheck Fairness Act, which would hurt merit-based pay and actually curtail flexibility for women to negotiate unique employment arrangements. Instead I have offered alternative ideas on how to combat pay discrimination.
Last year, the Republican women of the Senate offered a legislative proposal that would, among other things, reinforce employers’ obligations to fully apprise employees of their rights regarding pay discrimination. Knowledge is power, and our bill equips women who might otherwise be unaware of their ability to recover lost wages.
The proposal also includes much-needed, non-retaliation language. Such language is similar to an April 8, 2014, executive order signed by President Obama. It does not authorize any new federal regulations, nor does it compel employers to disclose salary information. It prevents punitive action against employees seeking information. It’s very simple — if you want to know how your salary compares to your coworkers, you should have every right to ask. It’s as basic as the First Amendment.
Just two weeks ago, as part of the fiscal 2016 budget, the Republican-led United States Senate passed an amendment I offered containing this equal pay proposal. Unlike previous proposals from Democrats, this idea garnered bipartisan backing and passed with the support of Senators Angus King, I-Maine, Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. What’s more, 53 Republicans also voted for the idea.
It’s common sense and a fresh solution to an old problem. Any legislator — Republican or Democrat — who is seriously interested in making progress on this issue for women and moving past electioneering and scoring political points should step up and support the proposal. For the first time in over half a century, we have the opportunity to update the Equal Pay Act with a bill that actually provides changes and can realistically pass — my Workplace Advancement Act (S. 875).
Hopefully the rest of the Dems will stop their war on women and support Senator Fischer and her colleagues.