Photo by George Lauby
Deb Fischer talks to County Commissioner Joe Hewgley
Photo by George Lauby
It is a defining moment for our state and for our country, Deb Fischer said Thursday in North Platte, fresh from her upset election victory.
Fischer soared in the last days of the race to defeat the favorite, Jon Bruning. Immediately, she began a trip around the state to thank the volunteers who helped her.
She said Nebraska and the nation must support the conservative principles of limited government and free enterprise.
“I’m happy with the win,” she said. “The voters expressed confidence in me. We ran a positive campaign and talked about the issues.”
Fischer said her biggest challenge now is to continue to “get out there and get my message across. There is never enough time to do all you’d like to do.”
“You campaign by listening to people, making appearances and staying positive,” she said.
Sen. Tom Hansen of North Platte said Fischer is hard worker. Even during the campaign, Fischer attended the entire state Legislative session except a half-day, an example of her strength and dedication.
“She can be tough,” Hansen said. “Some people in the Legislature took her on and knew they’d been in a battle.”
In North Platte, Fischer criticized opponent Bob Kerrey as out of touch with the state, even though Kerrey has represented the state as a governor and U.S. Senator.
Fischer said Kerrey has lived in New York for a decade.
She said she will be a fresh voice in Congress. She will not raise taxes. She opposes “cap and trade” -- energy policies designed to reduce the use of coal and oil. She opposes partial birth abortion. And she wants a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
She’s also concerned about EPA regulations.
“The EPA is overzealous,” she said. “No doubt about it. This crackdown on coal is something that cannot take place. We are very fortunate to live in Nebraska where we have decent electric rates, thanks to public power.”
Fischer has been involved in education all her life, serving on statewide associations and school commissions, as well as the Valentine school board. She had served seven years in the state Legislature before running for national office.
She said she is different than her opponents, who are career politicians.
“A career politician makes a living at it,” she said. “They’d like to stay there forever. A state senator is different. You don’t make a living being a state senator.”
State senators are paid $12,000 a year, plus an office, two staff members and travel expenses.
Even though Fischer is a rancher from near Valentine, she expects to do well in Omaha and Lincoln.
“I carried Lancaster County and did well in Sarpy County (in the primary),” she said.
“Vote for me,” she said.
Fischer mentioned other successful women politicians, such as Virginia Smith of Chappell, who served in Congress from 1975-91, and former Govs. Kay Orr and Sarah Palin, who endorsed Fischer during her campaign.
Palin's endorsement came a few days before the election.
"She saw the grass roots support I had," Fischer said. "I think it reminded her of how her support grew."
Afterwards, Hansen said Fischer would quickly learn how to work in the U.S. Senate, where there are only twice as many members as the state Legislature. Also, senators are more apt to cross party lines than the House of Representatives, which has 435 members.
“She knows how to work across the lines,” Hansen said. “You have to have 25 votes in the Legislature. She talks to opponents and is friends with them, even if they are worlds apart politically.”