Two Quick Updates:
**First, you do NOT need photo ID to vote tomorrow. Go to your polling place, state your name and address. That is all. Don’t be intimidated!!**
**Second, thanks to Anne for a link to Judge voting info (see below
Ok, we’re all completely exhausted by national election coverage. What’s lost in the shuffle is the importance — and in many cases, far greater impact — of down-ticket races. People running for the State Board of Education, Natural Resources District, County Commission, etc. can have tremendous impact on our local quality of life. So I present to you: a brief, selective voter guide, mostly for folks in Lancaster County, but with some other Nebraska races, too.
First, and most importantly, vote FOR Lillie Larsen for State Board of Education. She has experience on the Lincoln school board, extensive experience in education, and understands the needs of teachers, students, and school districts. Her opponent has wild and disturbing views regarding education, no education background, and would greatly and negatively impact education in Nebraska.
Amendment 1: Against. Impeaching someone running for office? Not something to enshrine in the constitution, in my mind.
Amendment 2: Against. I don’t think there’s any need to make hunting a constitutional issue, either. This amendment looks to pander to gun advocates. It’s not like voting against this will hamper hunting rights.
Amendment 3: FOR. When the state moved to 2-term term limits for the Unicameral, it quickly became clear that the lack of experience in office would become an issue — less experienced legislators equal stronger influence of lobbyists and party politics, even in a non-partisan body. If you don’t like a senator, um, vote them out of office. This amendment at least allows for three terms.
Amendment 4: FOR. Ok, this one’s difficult, I know. But Nebraska’s state senators make very little money for a pretty substantial time commitment. What does that mean? Only certain types of people — lawyers, the independently wealthy, etc. — can afford to serve in office. Raise the pay, and you open up the possibility for people from less privileged backgrounds to consider the office.
City of Lincoln sewer bond issue: Vote FOR. Investing in infrastructure isn’t sexy, but damn, it matters. Fund it before we end up in the situation Omaha is in, which is way overdue, tremendously necessary, extremely expensive, and deeply controversial.
In the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District elections, vote for Ann Bleed in District 7 and Milt Schmidt in District 9. Ann is on the board of the Great Plains Trail Network, and also, importantly, supports trail infrastructure like finishing the connector of the MoPac trail between Lincoln and Omaha. Milt won’t get away with not supporting trails, since his son Craig is one of Lincoln’s cycling superstars, coordinator of Gravel Worlds. (The Lancaster County Democrats also endorse Doug Samuelson and Ken Reitan.)
For County Commissioner, vote FOR Darl Naumann. He’s a small business owner who has experience working with Lincoln mayors and NE governors in economic development. The county board for Lancaster County serves an important interstitial function between the city & state, so someone with experience working at both levels is key, especially in light of Lincoln’s growth.
SCC Board of Governors: vote FOR Ruth Johnson, District 4. Ruth was a neighbor of mine growing up. She’s thoughtful, caring, and a fantastically articulate woman. (Lancaster County Democrats also endorse Robert Feit, Carl Humphrey, Helen Griffin, and Jim Garver.)
If you’re lucky enough to live in a legislative district up for election, you have some great candidates to vote for.
Ken Haar in District 21 (northern Lincoln/county). Haar is a wind energy champion. He also spoke out strongly against TransCanada — if you were at the public hearing at Pershing, he brought down the house with his opposition to the pipeline.
Kyle Michaelis in District 27 (southwestern Lincoln). I met Kyle when I was a young campaign staffer and he a young political blogger/journalist. He’s smart, thoughtful, and very sharp. His coverage of Nebraska politics at newnebraska.net has been thorough and insightful. He gets how the system works, and thus would work well within it.
Kate Bolz in District 29 (south central Lincoln). Bolz is making quality education her number one priority. That’s enough for me.
These are the ones you probably know most about. But just in case — Korey Reiman for Congress in Lincoln, John Ewing if you live in Omaha. Bob Kerrey for Senate. And yes, Barack Obama for President, even if Nebraska’s electoral votes will go to Romney.
Ed. Note: if anyone knows about the judges, send info my way! UPDATE: Info on judges here: http://nebar.com/associations/8143/files/JPE-2012_ResultsOnly.pdf