When I stopped in on Bob Meduna in the fields just west of Wahoo, I asked, “How does the harvest look?” “Looks pretty good,” Bob said. “What’s everyone else saying?” It was one of those perfect fall mornings in Nebraska. On the horizon, the rich blue sky seemed to stretch down and touch the amber rolling hills--with two differently colored combines adding depth to the scene.
Nebraska’s strength, her character, and her tradition is found in the land. It is clearly the most defining element of who we are and what we make. Agriculture creates our habits of being, our culture, our economic largesse. One quarter of our jobs are tied to it. Out of the state’s total land mass, over 90 percent is farms and ranches. The Cornhusker State is the third-largest corn-producing state and the top popcorn-producing state in America. Our ag sector is a major exporter. One out of every four rows of Nebraska soybeans go to China. We are the number one state for beef exports.
But the little-told story is that agriculture is also America’s strength. It is foundational to America’s economy and our relationships abroad. Feeding the world is something we take for granted because we do it so effectively. Twelve years ago, we averaged 154 bushels of corn per acre; today that number is 178 bushels.
With a new Farm Bill coming up, a lot of the discussion will be on the necessary stabilization policies for agriculture for the benefit of Nebraska and America. At the State Fair in Grand Island this summer, the federal delegation held an important panel discussion with farmers from our diverse agricultural sectors. The challenge moving forward is to broaden our thinking from just expanding markets to creating healthy farm income. Low corn and soybean prices and higher input costs are parts of the challenge. But there are other drags on the equation, such as health insurance costs. You can buy fertilizer through your co-op, but you can’t buy health insurance. This is an unfair choke point inhibiting more solutions for farmers and small businesses who do not benefit from the risk-pool diversity of larger corporations. Washington seems to be waking up to this reality—admittedly, a bit late—but I am hopeful for a sensible bi-partisan solution.
Moving up the value chain from raw commodities, some of the most forward-thinking ag work in the world is being done right here in Blair, Nebraska. Novel business in the production of bio-fuels, amino acids, lactic acid, glycine, and enzymes from local grain production provide value-added products for human and animal nutrition and even new source material for bio-plastics.
A glance across the pond shows the potential of small-scale production agriculture. Under the mantra of “twice as much food using half as many resources,” Dutch farmers are reducing water use for key crops by up to 90% with a staggering increase in output. The Netherlands is the number two exporter of food as measured by value, close on the heels of the United States, which has 270 times more landmass.
It may surprise you that, after a long period of decline, the number of people engaged in agriculture is growing. Expanding our ag family with innovative opportunities that add value to our commodity groups, augment specialty crops, and reconnect the farmer to the family, the urban to the rural, will expand local economies and tap into the important growing trends of knowing your food and artisanal agriculture.
Someone told me this week to “Keep Nebraska a secret.” Tempting. I knew what he meant in a deeper sense. Our current economic construct, however, was at one point somebody’s innovation. Our best protection is to keep moving forward— preserving, enhancing, and creating new possibilities under that rich blue Nebraska sky.Read More
In the entryway of the municipal building of the little town of Sainte-Mère-Église, France hangs an American flag. Sainte-Mère-Église was a site where our paratroopers landed prior to the D-Day invasion. They landed in the midst of German troop formations, fighting as they came down. One paratrooper got hung up on the church steeple and survived the battle. His replica still hangs there today. The American flag in the Mayor’s building is said to be the first one planted on the European continent. And it is displayed there proudly as a memorial in thanksgiving to America for what we did to save France and Europe from tyranny.
Most of us think of war as traditionally fought with tanks, aircraft, ships, and infantry. Even in the age of drones and asymmetrical terror threats—such as IEDs (improvised explosive devices)—most of us see our defense through a conventional lens. But warfare is changing fast, with the miniaturization of nuclear weapons, drones, and other technologies. For instance, self-replicating nanobots the size of mosquitos capable of carrying poison could be used for mass destruction. Small nuclear warheads can already be placed onto faster, lighter ICBM missiles from nimble, mobile launchers that are difficult to detect. Imagine new underwater weapons systems that emerge without warning. We are entering an era that is unprecedented and unpredictable, born from the very technologies that have heretofore ensured our survival.
What has emerged internationally is a tripolar world, simultaneously increasing danger and opportunity. On one pole stands China. As they ascend to economic dominance, China seeks to pair their mercantilist clout with military projection in key lanes of commerce. The Communist party leader President Xi projects himself as a man of virtue and dominance. This week the magazine The Economist called him The World’s Most Powerful Man.
At another pole stands Russia. Though facing demographic problems, Russia has in many ways raced ahead of us in weapons technology superiority. It could be argued that the Soviet era was an aberration within Russia’s long tradition of czarist rule. Seen in that light, Putin is a new czar type who has moved past Marxist theology to recover Russian nationalistic poetry, purpose, and expansionist power.
The third pole is less of a geographic or ideological proposition. It’s an expression of higher ideals. In traditional terms, it’s called the Transatlantic Alliance; in broader terms, it is peoples from around the world who are guided by a reasoned intuitive sense that all persons have dignity and rights and that systems of government and economics ought to be ordered around that proposition. When persons can exercise excellence for themselves in partnership with others, a community of possibility exists. Because, in America, we believe these values are universal, we also believe they are more potent than any ideology or accident of geography. That is the long arc of history—born in former ages and translated over time to the present.
Given our vulnerabilities, we understandably commit to technological superiority in weaponry. But, as a singular proposition this is illogical. The tech gap is closing. There must be more—and it is found in two pathways. First, our own internal reflection. This week we saw a Hollywood elite named Harvey Weinstein brought to shame for his manipulative perversions. In a flash of collective conscience, the curtain was raised on Hollywood’s dark hypocrisy. Almost all Americans were aghast, showing our capacity to value human dignity. Second, a healthy national conscience gives us the credibility to reinvigorate and build authentic relations worldwide. By incentivizing economic good and promoting governing models that are fair, we create the conditions for our own safety and the world’s security.
On my way home this week from Washington to Nebraska, I was behind a red pickup truck. Not an uncommon sight in our great state, except that on each side of the truck was a pole with a large American flag, blowing fiercely in the wind. A bit tattered on the edges, but, nevertheless, very proudly displayed, just like at Sainte-Mere-Eglise. It is my hope that this third pole can hold.
(Lincoln, NE) – Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) today issued the following statement on the Iran Nuclear Deal.
“Iran’s aggressive posturing throughout the Middle East has made it harder to trust a fragile nuclear agreement. Iran’s proxy military actions, support for violence, and ongoing ballistic missile taunting do not help during this tender period of testing a new relationship with the West. Broadly considered, Iran has generally complied with the structural components of the nuclear deal, but the aggression sadly undercuts the broader opportunity for even the mildest rapprochement.”
Fortenberry voted against the original Iran Nuclear Agreement in 2015. Fortenberry serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.
As I approached the door of my DC office recently, I noticed a large crowd of men in camouflaged t-shirts waiting outside. We see a number of constituent groups and sometimes they stack up in the hallway. As I got closer, I noticed that on the front of their shirts it read, United Mine Workers. I thought, “That’s unusual to see Nebraskans representing mine workers.” It turns out that they were waiting for my neighbor who represents Kentucky. Nevertheless, I greeted them and we began a very meaningful conversation about work, security, and fairness.
These men had spent their lives in hard jobs. I’m sure they proudly toiled to create reasonable livings for their families. They all now showed the signs of physical fatigue. They were in Washington to make a plea for their pensions, which are facing dramatic reductions. A similar situation exists in Nebraska for another group of workers.
These men worked for a guarantee: that they would be provided for--when they could work no more. But, given a confluence of factors, their pensions face a dramatic shortfall, and it’s not fair. I lived for two years in the area where these men come from, in a town that had lost half its population in twenty years, in the old industrial Rust Belt, where the post-WWII economic boom built a thriving, stable community, and now where globalized supply-side theory has had its most dramatic degenerating economic effect. I said to them, “You know, I know where you come from.” One of the men and I hugged.
Our country is in pain. Epic hurricanes and floods, escalating urban violence, an opioid epidemic among those self-medicating their own mental, physical, and financial anguish, a broken health care construct, the after-effects of a bitterly fought election, and, now, another mass shooting, have torn America’s heart.
In a vibrantly healthy society, there is space for marketplace fluidity, creativity, and innovation. A person with an idea and the drive should be free to pursue it. The benefits accrue to the innovator, the buyer, the community, and those who give their effort. A healthy economy is both individualistic and community-oriented at the same time. Innovation and competition can be disruptive, but they must be set within a fair set of rules. When a system stacks to the wealthiest, or is outsourced by faceless corporations in the name of advancing quarterly profits--exploiting the poor elsewhere and damaging the environment--it sets in motion a series of things: lost jobs, lost community cohesion, and a breakdown of life stability. Tie this to a loss of the formative institutions of family life, faith life, and civic life and we drift without a national narrative that holds overtime, making it much more difficult to respond holistically, in the midst of tragedy, to events like the senseless horror of Las Vegas.
As a practical policy matter, we will undertake appropriate measures to regulate or ban so-called bump stocks, which allowed an unhinged person to create an illegal weapon that showered bullets on unsuspecting concert-goers. A deeper response is also required. In my own anger after the shootings, I had this to say to reporters outside the House chamber, which Time Magazine reported: "You all in the media are unwilling to look at this in a broader way. Look at the violent imagery that's all around us in our society. You go turn on the television in primetime and see heinous murder — and we expect that none of this is going to have an effect? The media profits off of violence and then reacts with outrage when there's a violent act."
In Spanish, the word “Las Vegas” means "the meadows,” a restful, lovely, and inviting place. Can we move beyond all this brokenness to regain our optimism? The selfless acts of so many country music fans point to our answer.Read More
WASHINGTON — American taxpayers would see their standard deduction nearly double under the tax overhaul Republicans started pitching last week.
“It removes people from the tax rolls, really,” said Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., who represents Nebraska’s sprawling 3rd District and serves on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
After the collapse of repeal-and-replace health care efforts, Republicans are moving on to taxes and hoping for some much-needed legislative success.
The plan they unveiled last week was really just a blueprint with many key details to be fleshed out later, but its direction garnered positive comments from several GOP lawmakers representing Nebraska and Iowa.
Democrats quickly criticized it as overly weighted toward benefiting the wealthy.
The proposal would reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three. Democrats noted that the top rate would fall and the bottom rate would rise somewhat under the plan.
Republicans, meanwhile, are leaning on the standard deduction increase to help make the case that they aren’t overly favoring the wealthy and also to advance the goal of allowing many Americans to file their taxes on a postcard.
“Doubling of the standard deduction is probably the best way to simplify the tax-return process for millions of Americans,” Smith said.
Tax preparers don’t appear to be panicking over the prospect of lost business just yet, however.
Cindy Hockenberry, director of tax research and government relations at the National Association of Tax Professionals, said the group has not weighed in on the postcard idea because so much remains unknown.
“Obviously, if filing your annual tax return was reduced to a couple of lines of information on a postcard, it would have a significant impact on the professional tax-preparation industry,” Hockenberry said. “The likelihood of this happening is negligible for the majority of taxpayers.”
And experts say the public should consider the totality of tax changes before counting on any savings.
Richard Kaplan, a professor of law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who specializes in tax policy, said making definitive judgments about what Republicans released last week is complicated by the lack of detail.
He described the document as more of a “campaign wish list” than a blueprint. But he noted that the “doubling” of the standard deduction is paired with the elimination of the personal exemption.
“While that may sound a little nerdy, what it means is that this year between the two of them you could exempt $10,400 and under this plan you would exempt $12,000,” he said. “Now, that is an increase but it’s not doubling.”
The effect of how dependents would be treated under the personal exemption and tax credits further complicates the situation and makes it hard to say whether some people would come out ahead or behind.
Another Republican proposal would eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes, which would further push many to simply take the standard deduction rather than itemize, Kaplan noted.
“That will simplify things for them but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be happy about it,” he said.
Eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes would make it difficult for Republicans in high-tax states such as New York and California, but it’s a key revenue-raiser in the package. If they ditch it, the proposal would add that much more to the deficit.
Smith said lawmakers are working hard to avoid “inadvertent tax increases.” He said the elimination of the state and local tax deduction is about fairness.
“We are doing what we can to prevent one region of the country subsidizing another region,” Smith said. “We won’t get to perfect there, but I think you see some pretty thoughtful approaches here on this point and others to be saying, ‘Hey let’s level things out here as much as we can.’ ”
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said the blueprint falls short of his preferred tax policy — abolishing the IRS and establishing a national sales tax. But he likes a lot of what he sees.
King said he’ll be pushing to include a few proposals of his own, such as making everyone’s health insurance premiums fully deductible and seeking to ensure that employers aren’t taking as tax deductions the wages and benefits they pay to those in the country illegally.
Still, he praised the overall thrust of the blueprint and said he doesn’t want to see Republicans squander a good opportunity to unlock economic growth over lesser policy disagreements.
He said that if the plan passed there would be more people who are completely untaxed — a development that actually gives him some pause because he says those people then have no income tax “skin in the game” when it comes to federal spending.
“If you charged them a small percentage it wouldn’t pick up a lot of revenue but it would mean ‘pay attention because government’s spending the money you’re earning,’ ” he said, even as he noted that such a proposal is unlikely to pass Congress.
Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, and Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., praised provisions of the Republican plan. Young and Bacon said it would put money in the pockets of constituents.
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said that, as with any legislation, there will be winners and losers and that she’s “looking for tax relief for families.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, which is responsible for crafting tax legislation.
He said the framework released last week shows that Congress is committed to fulfilling its role and that it would increase the opportunity for small businesses to create jobs.
“For individuals, I’ve never met anybody who wants to spend more time or money doing their taxes,” Grassley said. “We should do everything we can to put taxpayers in the driver’s seat of how they use more of their own money.”
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., said he sees good energy around the tax proposals and commitment to pass legislation that will benefit hardworking Americans, but there’s a long way to go.
“There’s going to be some knee scrapes and stumbles and there’s going to have to be some adjustments,” Fortenberry said.
A key provision that Democrats have seized on in saying the proposals favor the wealthy is the elimination of the estate tax. Fortenberry said some small businesses are hit by that tax and the federal tax code should not be distorting people’s business decisions.
“On the other side of this, it cannot be perceived that somehow this is a cut for the rich,” he said. “I don’t think that’s either tolerable on my side of the aisle or sellable to the people.”
Kaplan said the bottom line is that Republicans still have to fill in a lot of blanks in their tax plan.
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During one of my telephone town hall conversations, a woman on the line told a story. She and her husband desired to start their own architectural firm. Starting a business is a lift under any circumstance. Many persons dream of it—and that’s good. But it’s hard, and there must be a convergence of variables for success. It takes start-up capital, a sellable good, hard work, patience, and perspiration. In this case, there was another hurdle: Buying healthcare with a sickness in the family meant a $30,000 per year upfront cost before any service was sold. It was too high—so, for now, they couldn’t start.
This week, the insurance carrier Medica announced that it will offer insurance on the Nebraska health care exchange at a 31% average increase, while another business provider told me that their rates will not increase at all. Wild differences in the individual versus commercial healthcare markets have become the norm and are contributing to the slowing of entrepreneurial momentum. If we want jobs, if we want a healthy economy, if we want creative and imaginative opportunity, the right type of tax policy, health policy, regulatory approach—and even education policy—should be measured as to how they can positively affect small business.
Recent statistics show increases in job growth in many areas of the country. Though 50% of Americans work in small business (an enterprise of less than 500 employees), the trend in small business formation remains downward. While there has been some recent improvements in small firm “birth/death” ratios, data from the Census Bureau indicate there were only 403,902 startup firms in 2014 compared to 391,553 business “deaths.” The number of startups in 2014 declined by more than 150,000 compared to 2006, a drop of almost 28 percent.
Just as important, dramatic growth in wages and entrepreneurial talent has been concentrated in a few tech clusters, masking economic decline in vast swaths of America. A concentration of wealth and talent can correlate with a concentration of power. In rarified confines, mutually reinforcing networks of money and influence enable the absorption of taxes and regulation, and even benefit from them. Higher profits and wages more than compensate for the cost of living (let alone private jet trips to Burning Man—for tech elites anyway).
So, how do we create the conditions for the entrepreneurial genome to manifest everywhere, not just in a precious few areas of the nation? Congress is readying to have a very large debate about taxes. In a rare congressional “tax retreat” this week, one clearly stated goal was to create a tax system favorable to small business. Returning to the problem of escalating health care costs, I injected the idea of more flexible risk-sharing through cooperatives, groups, or unions—perhaps combined with the backstop of government reinsurance—to equalize the playing field in the health insurance market.
We also need to understand and codify the complexities of how entrepreneurship is kindled and maintained. While we readily measure intellectual and athletic acumen, identifying entrepreneurial talent early can help move young people onto the glide path of entrepreneurial reality. Right now, the convergence of factors is just random.
So, here’s the future. Sam is an intern in my office. She’s in college, where she is studying criminal justice and prelaw. She also owns 25 head of cattle. She raises and sells her cattle to support her education. I don’t know what Sam’s future holds. Perhaps, like many young people, she will leave to see the bright lights in those aforementioned enclaves, which are a special part of America. And then, one day, she might return, to become the future of the Entrepreneurial Prairie.
Nestled in the heavily wooded hillsides along the Missouri River bottoms in Nebraska City is the exceptional Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. I made a quick trip there Monday. A nice-sized crowd had gathered in a light rain for the release of a giant bald eagle. Surrounded by cameras and kids, I found myself two feet from the extraordinary creature. I was captivated by his fearsome power-- its long mighty talons, the sharp twisting beak, and the huge eyes that blinked almost mechanically.
The eagle was found in the Lorton area near Syracuse, Nebraska. He had been injured by an electrical burn, destroying the feathers and skin tissue atop his head. Only a thin layer of bone remained, protecting his brain. A team--including Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo as well as Fontenelle Forest and its Raptor Recovery Center--came together to facilitate a skin graft for the life-threatening wound. Because of the electrical burn, the eagle had been given the name Bolt. After extensive rehabilitation, he was ready to fly again.
Chip Davis, of the Grammy-winning Mannheim Steamroller and a patron of Fontenelle Forest, was holding Bolt with special protective orange gloves that reached past his elbows, ready for the eagle’s release. As I watched the majestic bird, I whispered to the lady next to me, “I didn’t bring my raptor gloves; still, it would be fascinating to touch it.” She shook her head, simulating half a finger. Chip released Bolt back into the wild. With two flaps of his massive wings, he headed due north into the sky, then looped back around and into the woods. As I was leaving the grounds, I spotted Bolt in a tree. Having spent weeks in captivity for an exposed skull, I think it reasonable to sit and get one’s bearings.
In Congress, I serve as co-chair of the bipartisan International Conservation Caucus (ICC), which safeguards the broad idea of stewardship of our resources for the good of community. The ICC’s work is rooted in a practical approach to ecology: that habitat and sustainable economic benefit are interlinked with conservation. The ICC not only seeks to prevent the trafficking in wildlife, but also to create the conditions for stability in local governance, economies, and the flourishing of indigenous people. On a human level, our impulse is to not be wasteful and to protect that which is precious. On a macro level, rightfully ordered resource management—which can include innovative land use, recreation, ecotourism, and hunting and fishing--helps create the conditions for international stability, and, thus, our own national security. Thoughtful engagement turns the tragedy of the commons into the opportunity for commonality.
As you are probably aware, there was robust debate in our nation’s early years about what our national symbol should be. One noted Founder, Ben Franklin, wanted the turkey. He also said that beer was proof God loves us and wants us to be happy. We ended up with the bald eagle. Strong and bold, the eagle, nevertheless, became endangered, until we acted to save it. In a true ecosystem, no person or thing ought to be thrown away.
Before he was released, Bolt was held under a towel to keep him calm. Bolt kept trying to bite the gloves that held him. He wanted out. The eagle wanted to be free. He’d been given a chance again.Read More
NEBRASKA CITY – Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery released an American bald eagle at the MRB Lewis and Clark Center at Nebraska City following a first-of-its-kind skin graft. The bird was found injured near Syracuse around Memorial Day.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Coleen Stice diagnosed the wound as an electrical burn and offered her skills to his recovery.
With assistance of a Henry Doorly Zoo veterinarian she completed the skin graft from the eagle’s inner leg to the top of his head. Giving the eagle some brown feathers on top that some say may look like a Mohawk style.
Fontenelle Forest Raptor Rehabilitation Manager Betsy Finch said the five-year-old eagle was given the nickname Bolt for surviving electrocution.
Chip Davis, creator of Mannheim Steamroller released the eagle.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry was among about 50 people attending.
Dr Stice said without the skin graft to provide feathers to the top of the eagle’s head, he would not have been able to survive the winter.
Molly Mullen of Fontenelle Forest said she was impressed with the large crowd, despite the rain, and especially the eagle’s remarkable recovery.
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In a shelter in Houston, Todd walked around and around his bed. A Bible lay open in the middle of it. He had made notes around certain passages. Todd was recovering from the great flood.
Todd’s story started when he saw the water rising toward his home. To preserve his things, he put all of his belongings on the kitchen counters. Exhausted, he went back upstairs in his apartment to lie down, thinking he would be safe from the rising water. He awoke once the water reached his mattress. He then jumped out of his window, swam as best he could, grabbing onto branches, until he found shallow enough water in which to stand. The police found him collapsed under a bridge and brought him to the shelter.
Todd’s home is gone. The machine shop where he worked was flooded. He has nothing left, but his truck note. Todd’s story was told to me by a friend and former Congressman from Texas who volunteered to go down to Houston. He helped Todd get a new pair of clothes. Todd said to him, “I don’t know what I am going to do.”
Todd’s story is just one of thousands. But, in the midst of the suffering in Houston and in Florida, it offers a window into the soul of our country, and the unique realities and narrative that many other nations lack.
First, we have governing infrastructure. Witness the sound planning and rapid government response to both evacuation and meeting immediate needs. Secondly, we have the binding elements of community; the impulse of neighbors to actually do something. Witness the johnboats, the “Cajun Navy,” patrolling up and down the streets in their own rescue operations. Third, we have remarkable charitable organizations, helping in ways that the government cannot. As one rescue volunteer said, “I’ve met more of my neighbors in the last 24 hours than I’ve met in the last 20 years.”
As always in times of natural disasters and other emergencies, here and abroad, the U.S. federal government plays a traditional and critical role in knitting communities back together, so citizens can remain in the places where they built their lives over generations. The House has passed bipartisan legislation to create a federal disaster relief fund to help Hurricane Harvey disaster victims rebuild their homes and lives. A similar bill to help Irma victims is soon to follow.
Usually, it is America using our hard-earned resources to help others through their natural disasters. However, this time, the rest of the world took notice of us, inspired by how we Americans come together in moments of peril. The Governor of Texas said he had received multiple calls from leaders of other countries offering to help.
Almost 60% of Americans do not have enough savings to cover a $500 unplanned expense. This is a hard statistic. There is great vulnerability in our country. However, it helps to know that we do have operable systems of government, charitable institutions, and, most important, this spirit of compassion. The idea that persons matter, that we do live in an ecosystem, that we are all interdependent. And the idea that sometimes a tragedy can pull the best out of all of us.Read More
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -- Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) presented Representative Jeff Fortenberry with the Golden Triangle Award, National Farmers Union’s (NFU) highest legislative honor. The award was presented recently as part of the annual NFU fall Fly-In that brought 320 Farmers Union members from across the country to Washington, DC to share their views and concerns with their elected officials. Fortenberry was one of 33 House and Senate members honored this year.
Eight Nebraskans participated in the NFU Fly-In meetings with members of Congress and their staffs. In addition to Hansen, Nebraska participants included Bill Armbrust and Jeffrey Downing from Elkhorn, Kevin Harrington and Camdyn Kavan from Lincoln, Sean Mohlman from Red Cloud, Jim Knopik from Belgrade, and Dr. Merlin Friesen from Filley.
The Golden Triangle is an annual award presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.
The Golden Triangle, first presented in 1988, symbolizes the core principles of the Farmers Union: education, cooperation, and legislation. This year’s Golden Triangle honorees were selected for their leadership and contribution to several issues important to family farmers and ranchers.
Representative Fortenberry’s award was presented by NeFU President John Hansen and the NeFU team during their meeting with him Wednesday morning.
“We appreciate Representative Fortenberry’s continued leadership on renewable energy, conservation, rural development, and a wide range family farm and ranch issues that support farm and ranch families and their rural communities,” said NeFU President John Hansen. “We appreciate Representative Fortenberry’s thoughtful approach to understanding the issues that impact family farm and ranch agriculture and our state.”
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1514 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Jeff Fortenberry was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2004 to serve Nebraska’s First Congressional District. His work in Congress is rooted in the belief that the strength of our nation depends on the strength of our families and communities. Jeff is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which appropriates United States government expenditures. He serves on three subcommittees with importance for Nebraska: Agriculture, Energy and Water, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.
Jeff previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee where he placed particular focus on human rights concerns, Middle Eastern affairs, and nuclear weapons non-proliferation. He also represented Nebraska on the Agriculture Committee, where his work on two Farm Bills advanced opportunities for young and beginning farmers and promoted agricultural entrepreneurship.
Prior to serving in Congress, Jeff worked as a publishing industry executive in Lincoln, where he also served on the Lincoln City Council from 1997-2001. Jeff also has significant personal experience in small business, and early in his career he worked as a policy analyst for the United States Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations. Jeff earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and two master’s degrees, one in public policy. He and his wife Celeste live in Lincoln and have five daughters.
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North of Tekamah, important work underway in Missouri River habitat restoration. Someone already staked out new duc… https://t.co/DqQvSP3g1c
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Thanks to NE History Museum for your new exhibit on immigration to Nebraska, including newest members of our commun… https://t.co/9tGvv7IpQc
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Someone told me this week to “Keep Nebraska a secret.” Tempting. I knew what he meant in a deeper sense. https://t.co/tHDEtlyOu0
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Appreciated the opportunity to address Juniors and Seniors at Milford High School today. Go Eagles! https://t.co/F9BDzzCaS7